Education Task Force Highlight

Rick Lyons

The Education Task Force Highlight Series spotlights education leaders working to create new National Standards, education resources, and communication strategies that will benefit all members.

In this first highlight, we sit down with PSIA-NW Technical Team Head Coach Rick Lyons.

What task force are you on?  

I represent the Northwest Division on the Education Leadership Council (ELC) and I am a member of the Alpine Task Force.

What’s your current snowsports job title? 

I am the PSIA-NW Technical Team Head coach and a PSIA-NW Examiner.

What is your professional snowsports instruction history? 

I’ve been on the PSIA-NW Team for over 16 years and I’ve coached for over 10 of those years. Since 2010, I’ve worked on the Alpine Task Force developing national standards – so I was part of the group that released the 2014 standards and I’m deeply involved with the updated alpine standards which will go into place next fall (2021).

What is your current role on the task force?

I act as a liaison between the ELC and the Alpine Task Force. These groups are working together to ensure the new Alpine Certification Standards align with the Learning Connection framework and our goal of Strategic Alignment between divisions and disciplines.

What are the task force’s main goals and how are you working to accomplish them?

Our goals are to develop more consistency, collaboration, and communication between divisions and disciplines, and to provide reliable, repeatable learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the certification of snowsports instructors.

We’ve done a lot networking with peers, collaborating with stake holders, and developing big ugly spreadsheets and other documents to help us understand how our certification processes can better support snowsports instructors.

How will this benefit members? 

Through this work, members will have a complete framework of how to develop their technical, teaching, and people skills. Members may not see consistency on exams from division to division today, creating a perception that not all exams measure the same skills. The updated standards ask divisions to work together and follow the same criteria.

Why is it important to you to be involved in this work for the benefit of other members?

We all love building skills and helping other instructors and guests build their skills. These ELC exists to spark interest, help individuals grow, and provide development pathways for members.

What’s the fun factor? 

Seeing the light bulbs turn on – it could be for me, a new skier, a new examiner, or a long-term leader.

Favorite part of being an instructor?

Sharing something I love with others and seeing that love develop in them.