Ron LeMaster Honor Caps Awards Night at National Academy

An emotional tribute to the life and work of renowned snowsports educator Ron LeMaster capped off the PSIA-AASI National Academy 2022 Awards & Recognition Ceremony at the Yellowstone Conference Center in Big Sky, Montana, Wednesday night.

The annual award program recognizes association members’ achievements as instructors, leaders, and collaborators in the snowsports industry, and for their contributions to snowsports instruction for the benefit of instructors and students.

LeMaster, an icon in the industry as an author, innovator, and consummate professional – whether on snow coaching athletes or shooting photos and videos of the best the sport of skiing produced – died in a ski accident in Colorado on Nov. 30, 2021, and was honored posthumously with the Educational Excellence Award.

Nominators for the recognition included PSIA Alpine Team Coach Michael Rogan; U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame member and Alpine Team alumna Ellen Post Foster; and presenters Carol Levine (former Alpine Team member), Mike Porter (former Alpine Team Coach), and Ron Kipp (PSIA examiner, ski coach, and sport scientist).

More than 400 people attended the event, which was also live-streamed. Other honorees included Gina Basilliere (Top of the Course Award), Stevie Lund (Angus Graham Rising Star Award), former PSIA-AASI Eastern Division CEO Michael Mendrick (3 C’s Award), Katherine Hayes Rodriguez (Distinguished Service Award), and Charles Rockwell and Jani Sutherland, who were individually honored for Lifetime Achievement.

Levine opened the tribute to LeMaster by asking first, “Who in this room has participated in a clinic or demonstration led by Ron?” Then, “Who has used his materials or articles for skiing and riding inspiration?”

Both questions were met by a sea of raised arms as she went on to note LeMaster’s constant humility and inquisitiveness, often answering technical queries with the reply, “That is a great question. I am going to have to think about it.”

Levine shared a conversation she had with Michael Rogan, who said of his friend and colleague, ‘Ron is education excellence.’”

Mike Porter spoke of LeMaster’s trademark montage imagery of instructors and World Cup racers, which were instantly recognizable and implicitly explanatory to even people with a passing interest in snowsports. Describing LeMaster as, “The brother I never had” because they shared a passion for “nerding out on biomechanics,” Kipp said, “He didn’t just teach us. He led us on a journey to that ‘a-ha’ moment.”

LeMaster’s daughter Alex closed the ceremonies, thanking everyone for their thoughts, and for their love of her father.

“He loved all of you,” she said, “and being a part of this sport. Skiing is really fun, and even more fun the better you are at it.”