Nancy Oakes Hall Scholarship Recipients Share Advice for Women Instructors

The Nancy Oakes Hall Scholarship Program empowers distinguished women in snowsports education by providing opportunities to engage with peers and advance their professional development.

Founded by and named in honor of Nancy Oakes Hall, a former PSIA Alpine Team member and Aspen/Sun Valley instructor who lost a long battle with cancer in April 2018, the program awards three separate scholarships each year to female members of PSIA-AASI who wish to pursue continuing education and growth opportunities in the snowsports industry.

Here, recent scholarship recipients share the advice they would give other women instructors who want to build their snowsports careers:

“Determine what you are passionate about in snowsports and build upon what you love. Your enthusiasm will influence those you teach. Honor your strengths and set goals to overcome your weaknesses. Seek out experts at your resort and within your division that can help you learn and grow as skier/snowboarder and as a professional.” – Kelly Boardman-Fowler, Intermountain, Alpine II, Snowboard I

“Seek out as much knowledge as possible and be true to your own pathway. Obtaining certifications and varying your experiences, both professional and personal, can be instrumental in opening doors for new opportunities. The more you try, the easier it will be to see which direction to take your career, all while building your resume.” – Keri C. Reid, Eastern, PSIA-E Development Team Member, Okemo Ski + Ride School Assistant Director, Alpine III, Children’s Specialist 2

“My advice is find a mentor you work well with. You can consult with them on all aspects of your teaching and skiing/riding skills. Don’t be afraid to ask them for specific feedback on the things you are working on.  The other thing I would say is, learn ways to self-coach and self-assess. This has helped me a great deal to better understand my movement patterns and refine fundamental skills. It also allows you to get feedback even when you don’t have access to training or a mentor. Finally, set goals and communicate them with someone. This will help you define what your goals truly are. Then get out there and get after them!” – Stephanie Zimmers, Eastern Alpine II, Children’s Specialist 2

“One of the biggest things I continue to work on and has had a huge impact on career is my confidence. I will never be the best at every task every time, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still have confidence. I’ve noticed a huge difference in how much I learn and how well I perform based on how comfortable and confident I feel.”- Paige Rylander, Rocky Mountain Alpine Level III, Children’s Specialist 2

“I would tell other women instructors to take each certification one step at a time. Have a focus for each ski season, and make it a goal to complete that certification(s) by the end of the season. Going through the certification isn’t easy and it’s quite stressful. I’ve failed several times at different exams but I made it a point to learn from my failure and keep pursuing until I was successful. I would tell women to never quit, and keep pushing outside of the ‘comfort zone.’ Growth isn’t easy but it is worth the struggle.” – Lauren Cisneros, Rocky Mountain, Alpine III, Children’s Specialist 2