Team Selection Strengthens Snow Pro Community, Identifies New Leaders

When the selection starts for the 2020-24 PSIA-AASI National Team in Breckenridge, Colorado, next April, many of the candidates will already have a pretty good idea of what kind of skill and commitment it’s going to take to make the final cut.

That’s because many divisions across the country have already held their own regional nomination process, acknowledging the skiers and snowboarders they believe will best represent the association on a national level.

PSIA-AASI Team Manager Jeb Boyd said it’s the most effective way to ensure that the top candidates are competing for a spot on the team, as each division knows their instructors best.

“When it comes to the PSIA-AASI National Team, the divisions should be the first qualifier,” Boyd said. “Because they know their candidates better than anyone else.”

Boyd said he and PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling have made a point of collaborating with the divisions, not just for the sake of identifying potential new team members, but also for growing regional leadership.

“It grows the pool of our future leaders and establishes a clearer pathway for professional development that starts locally and regionally,” said Schuiling. “This effort supports the divisions, which in turn supports the entire association. The team is inspired through this collective national effort to select the very best representatives of PSIA-AASI.”

For instructors who’ve never gone through the team selection process, the level of talent and the competitive aspect of the divisional nomination events offer a glimpse of what to expect in Breckenridge, Boyd said.

“These nominations help give the candidates a starting point and show them what they need to do to continue to improve – and  that’s whether or not they earn a nomination,” Boyd said. “It’s really good practice to be presenting in front of their peers, and skiing or riding their best when it matters. Can you put together that great run when it really matters? Here’s where you start to find out.”

For current PSIA Alpine Team member Eric Lipton, one of the welcome, albeit slightly unexpected byproducts of a divisional tryout is the way in which it allows instructors to express their desire to play a role in their division’s leadership.

“The process does a great job of identifying people who want to assume a greater role in the organization,” Lipton said. “I saw that with the Intermountain tryouts, where some people put themselves on the radar who might not have been an instructor you would identify as wanting to go down that path.”

Lipton said that by participating in tryouts, candidates immediately begin to connect with other members in their division while getting a firsthand look at the strenuous nature of the selection process.

“My hope is that they feel closer to the leaders in their division, as well as the examiners and other people who are aspiring to reach the peak of their profession,” Lipton said. “Personally, I’d like to thank them all for participating and tell them how admirable it is for them to have done it.”

Rocky Mountain Division Director of Education Dave Gregory said that in the alpine discipline alone, “We had 38 people go for a nomination, and that doesn’t include incumbents.” Some of the runs they skied on included Sodbuster at Aspen Highlands and Pallavicini at Arapahoe Basin – two of Colorado’s most famous steeps.

“Only a small percentage of instructors actually make the team,” Gregory said. “But the opportunity to network with the industry, test your skills, break out the competitive spirit, and cheer each other on benefits all of us.”

He added, “This is an event that gives us the opportunity to become better, as a division, and as an association as a whole.”