Professional Development Plan: National Team Member Matt Larson

Congratulations to the 2021-24 PSIA-AASI National Team for all the work they’ve done promoting, supporting, and assisting with the development of PSIA-AASI education materials, programs, and activities at all levels.

As the team enters its final season, team coaches and members reflect on the work they’ve done for the association, their personal accomplishments, and their professional development plans — including how they think those plans can help you reach your goals this season.

AASI Snowboard Team Member Matt Larson

Q: This team has achieved a lot in a short time — including representing the association at Interski 2023, continued refinement of the Learning Connection, and working toward the target date to align certification processes. What achievements stand out to you?

A: Interski 2023 was my first. When I began interacting with other countries, It was overwhelming to feel the attention given toward our team with our history of challenging norms and being a leader in student-centered learning. It was like those movies where you are magically transferred into someone else’s body. In this case, it was the bodies of our veteran and alumni teammates. Cementing our foundation of people skills and snowboarding technical fundamentals was a key focus for this team and received with enthusiasm. Our snowboard crew had an incredible throughline of our snowboarding fundamentals and how we assess them through AASI certification and our Freestyle Specialist program.

Q: Where do you want to improve this season, especially in regard to the individual people, teaching, and technical skills of the Learning Connection?

A: One focus is to heighten my awareness of how my behavior affects others. I frequently question myself on if the impact I have on someone is made up and potentially related to my own insecurities. I think I can do more to verify and have conversations with others to understand the responses and perspective of others.

The second is to align my language/vocabulary with all regions when describing snowboarding fundamentals. This is especially important within coaching and assessment of movement analysis.

Q: What other professional goals do you have in terms of teaching and riding?

A: I’m now 1.5 years out from knee surgery and am very focused on my leg strength and functional movement to be effective with my riding. I feel I’ve been in a bit of a slump and now have an opportunity to jump back on the horse.

I have also had the opportunity to work with Josh Pighetti (of Penn State) and his journey to understand what makes inspirational snowsports instructors. I look forward to understanding more about how I can be inspirational.

Q: How can you work with and learn from other instructors on this journey?

A: I wish I had a dollar for every time I thought I was doing IT, and my peers say to me, “that’s not it.” The community within our work in snowsports offers me fantastic feedback to help me understand my kinesthetic experience on my snowboard. I will rely on that feedback.

Q: How can your professional development plan help other instructors work to achieve their goals?

A: My hope is that as I share my journey with others, they will see the possibility within themselves that their goals are achievable.

Q: What does being a member of the PSIA-AASI community mean to you, and how do you share that sense of belonging with the people you teach, as well as other snow pros?

A: The PSIA-AASI community has shaped me as a person. I have been both a mentee and mentor and will continue to be in those roles. It’s a gift to be a part of a community that can have such a huge impact on your life, adds purpose, challenges you, humbles you, and can help you feel safe when you are vulnerable. The PSIA-AASI community is family.