Windham’s Dan Hogan Uses Jr. Instructor Program to Build Workforce

Dan Hogan, snowsports school director at Windham Mountain, New York, introduced the PSIA-AASI Junior Instructor Program at his mountain this season, and saw strong results.

In this new First Chair Podcast, Hogan discusses how the program helped him identify 20 future long-term instructors, and why other snowsports school directors should consider introducing it on their slopes.

Here are some of his top takeaways about the program, and why kids are the future of snowsports:

  • In peak periods, when business is strong, we really stretch our junior instructors to do everything they’re capable of. What they are doing in kid’s programs is the most important work, because kids are the future. We have to make sure they have the tools to be successful teaching, and also to make sure that as instructors, their needs are met.
  • At Windham, you can start teaching kids at 14. We have about 50 instructors who are between 14 and 17, and a program of 12 to 14-year-olds who want to become instructors. With the Junior Instructor Program, we are able to arm them with more knowledge and skills to start preparing to join the workforce.
  • One of the most important things is to ask them is why they are interested in such a program, and what motivates them. We want them to have a sense of accomplishment, and a way to build their resume. When we presented those aspects to the kids and their parents, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
  • By asking kids if they wanted to join, it gave them an opportunity to decide what they wanted to get out of the course.
  • This is a really cool program and we were able to make it work for us. I would encourage trainers at other areas to look at how you motivate and train, and celebrate the impact and success. You have to spend time and invest with them, so that they want to invest with us.

See how you can implement the Junior Instructor Program on your slopes.