Support Has Been Key to Level II Top of the Course Award Recipient Liz Lozinger’s Success

This is the third story in a four-part series on the 3C’s, Top of the Course, and Angus Graham Rising Star Award recipients. Check out the first two stories in the series on 3 C’s Award Recipient Michael O’Neill and Level III Top of the Course Award Recipient Cortney Bayuk.

For Level II Top of the Course Award recipient Liz Lozinger, Blue Mountain, in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, is where she earned her snowsports chops. A skier first, she was hired by “Blue” as an instructor in 2016 and then transitioned to snowboarding four years ago. She hasn’t looked back in moving up the certification ladder.

During her time at Blue Mountain, her teaching schedule – 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day – gave her ample opportunity in the evening to hone her skills for her Snowboard Level I and II assessments. “I had so much time on snow,” she said. “I was there 12 hours a day, every day, so I was grinding.”

Lozinger’s dedication did not go unnoticed by the staff at Blue Mountain, particularly her supervisor, Learning Center Director Joe Forte. “Liz has a very strong work ethic, did a lot of training independently, and coordinated training sessions for her peers,” he noted in his award nomination letter. “We had eight employees training for their Level II certification, and Liz was consistently the one who showed up the most.”

The Importance of Group Dynamics and Effective Communication

Lozinger’s hard work went a long way in helping her earn her Level II certification, but she also learned an important lesson when she was participating in her Level I assessment in March 2022. At the time, another candidate made her aware of the importance of group dynamics in helping to create a favorable environment during assessment. After all, the event isn’t a contest between certification candidates.

“When there’s hostility within an assessment group, or competition, people tend to do poorly,” Lozinger said. “I’ve talked to friends who had one person pass in their assessment group and usually those groups were the ones that didn’t really mesh.”

As such, she went into her Level I assessment hoping to build a team, and she learned a simple trick from the aforementioned candidate. “On the first day of every exam, she gives everyone a piece of chocolate,” Lozinger said. “That helps create a bond and a tight knit group.”

When it comes to communicating with her students, Lozinger focuses on drawing a parallel between what she’s teaching and a student’s personal interests. She emphasized that it’s much easier if a student plays sports because asking them to get in an athletic stance comes naturally. On the other hand, she contended that it’s hard to relate physical movements in snowboarding to reading a book or playing a video game.

“I found that students who struggle with the physical movements required to make a snowboard turn don’t thrive in a typical progression,” she said. “But when I incorporate a point system or collaborate and establish a clear objective like collecting snowballs as ‘points’ or jumping over a ‘river,’ things start to make a whole lot more sense.”

She adds that when she’s instructing a student who loves to read, she’s found success in comparing the feelings the student experiences when reading a memorable passage in a book. “Being enthralled in a story and losing track of time is similar to the feeling of flowing down a trail on a snowboard,” she observed.

Encouragement as a Catalyst for Achievement

Lozinger readily admits that she’d like to see more female snowboarders on the mountain, because it can be challenging to find mentors, let alone support, to help overcome adversity and self-doubt. This feeling can be perpetuated by discrimination and harassment that still occurs in seasonal jobs in the outdoor industry.

Thankfully, the culture at Blue Mountain is one of encouragement. “The family vibe I felt at Blue Mountain was unbelievable; it was so supportive, especially being a woman in the industry,” she said. “There were a lot of times where I was the only woman in a group when we were training, and I felt so much support from the trainers, like Joe [Forte] and Clayton [Ayers].”

Because there was a dearth of female snowboard instructors at Blue Mountain, Lozinger, along with fellow instructor Emily McCutcheon, started She-Shredders, a group that met on Monday nights to “encourage women at Blue Mountain to get on snow in a no stress environment.” Lozinger added that prior to earning her Level II, she didn’t have any female mentors, so it was important to step into that role for other female snowboarders.

She’s continued in that capacity at Vermont’s Jay Peak, where she started working as a snowboard instructor last winter. She credits Ski & Ride School Director and Team & Community Relations Leader Craig Cimmons and Training Supervisor Ian Boyle with creating an environment where women feel empowered and “have opportunities to perform to the fullest extent of their ability.”

Since moving to Vermont, Lozinger’s community has grown, and she’s met many amazing women who not only offer their support but also inspire through the examples they set. For instance, Lozinger pointed to Bonnie Kolber, PSIA-AASI Eastern ACE Head Coach and AASI Eastern Team Member, who was an assessor for Lozinger’s Level II assessment and nominated her for the Top of the Course Award. As Lozinger noted, Kolber “has taken time out of her crazy schedule” to work with her in pursuit of her Level III certification.

Kolber is one of many instructors who’ve made a difference in Lozinger’s career. And as Lozinger’s network expands, she continues to embrace the importance of mentorship. “The effect of women being in affinity groups is undeniable; we perform better when we are surrounded by other women,” Lozinger expressed. “I hope that one day, more women will be involved in the snowboard side, the groups will get bigger, and there will be more opportunities for every rider to feel supported and loved.”


The Top of the Course Award recognizes members who scored at the highest percentile in people, teaching, and skiing or snowboarding technical knowledge; and who empowered other candidates during the Level II or III exam process. Read more about National Academy Awards & Recognition Night, held April 17, in Big Sky, Montana.