What inspired you to become an instructor?
When I was 6-years-old, my neighbor Martinsville, NJ spent 20 minutes teaching me in his backyard on his son’s equipment. He had no idea that those 20 minutes would set an impressionable kid on a path to make a life in the ski industry. When I graduated from the University of Maine, I moved to Sugarloaf to teach skiing for “one” winter and give back a bit what my neighbor taught me. That one winter turned into 25 years in the industry. Considering all the people I have had the honor of teaching and working with, I look back and marvel at the chain reaction that my neighbor set in motion. His selfless 20 minutes had a tremendous effect on many lives and hopefully I have been able to inspire others like he did for me.
What’s the best piece of advice you could offer a new instructor?
Have fun with your guests, laugh a lot! Also, as a newer instructor, you probably won’t have a really deep repertoire of learning activities yet. Attend as many trainings as you can, build relationships with veteran staff and ask a lot of questions. (Remember, every single one of us were in your shoes at one time!) Get to really know a few key learning progressions and experiment with them in all kinds of situations and on different terrain. You will start to recognize that many of our guests are working on similar things, so a few key activities will work well. I have 3 or 4 that I keep coming back to which can be modified to different abilities and terrain situations. I can honestly say that everything I know about teaching skiing I stole from someone else, but after a while, with a lot of practice and experimentation, made it my own. You’ll do the same.
What’s your favorite member benefit?
The numerous relationships that PSIA-AASI has with different equipment and retail companies is a huge benefit for members. Having access to the products that we use for our jobs at a discount really provides us the ability to be fully equipped and prepared.
Areas you have taught at:
Sugarloaf, ME; Smiggin Holes, NSW Australia.