Rider Rally, Telemark + Adaptive Academy Join ‘Biggest Academy Ever’

On Tuesday night, National Academy welcomed Rider Rally, Adaptive Academy, and Telemark Academy to the annual on-snow education event – taking place this week in Big Sky, Montana – marking a total of 460 coaches and attendees for PSIA-AASI’s “Biggest Academy Ever.”

“This is the biggest Academy we have held in our 60-year history,” PSIA-AASI Board Chair Eliza Kuntz said while greeting the new disciplines (alpine and snowboard instructors opened the event on Monday). “It shows our commitment to learning and riding together.”

In his general-session presentation, PSIA-AASI National Team Coach Jeb Boyd noted that the association was founded 60 years ago in nearby Whitefish, Montana – by Curt Chase, Max Dercum, Jimmy Johnston, Bill Lash, Paul Valar, Doug Pfieffer, and Don Rhinehart, “Our founding fathers, whose one goal was to create more consistency and success for instructors and their guests across America.”

“Thanks to them, to Big Sky, great snow, great group leaders, and all of our attendees,” Jeb said. “I think it’s great to see how we continue to progress from where we started to where we are.”

(Visit the 60th Anniversary page to listen to PSIA-AASI First Chair Podcasts celebrating the history of the association and its most significant contributions to snowsports instruction in America and around the world).

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Using American Snow, the official history of PSIA-AASI, as a roadmap, Jeb demonstrated how U.S. snowsports instruction evolved from an often confusing mix of European techniques to an “American Concept and system of our own,” that welcomes every discipline and every individual.

That evolution, Jeb said, has been propelled by PSIA-AASI’s participation in Interski, the international snowsports instructors congress, which takes place at various venues around the world every four years.

From the Skills Concept – a simplified teaching system based on rotary movements, edging, and pressure control – to the introduction of snowboard instruction, to the Learning ConnectionSM Model, Interski has proven to be a pivotal testing ground for the association’s teaching innovations.

In turn, Jeb said, “We bring Interski back to you. It’s how we prepare, attend, learn, reflect, and evolve from this event that helps us continue to define the essence of what makes a great instructor.”