How to Become a Certified Skier

If you see yourself as someone who lives and breathes skiing, perhaps it’s time to take your passion to the next level. Becoming a certified ski instructor is one of the best ways to pass on your experience on the slopes.

Why You Should Get Certified 

As a certified ski instructor, many opportunities will open their doors to you. You’ll learn advanced technical skills, be able to properly teach those skills to others, and have a chance to build a career out of doing something you enjoy. You know what they say: do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Here in the United States, the Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI)is responsible for certifying that you have what it takes to become an instructor. Their certification is nationally recognized which means that wherever you are in the country, you can be confident that you’re teaching to the highest standards. 

Certification Step-By-Step

To start the path towards certification, you must first become a PSIA-AASI member. After that, you’ll have to decide which discipline you want to pursue. 

You can choose from Adaptive, Adaptive Snowboard, Alpine, Cross Country, Snowboard or Telemark, each of which has three levels of certification. You’ll start from Level I and work your way up the ladder to Level II and III. Level III certification meets the international standards set by the International Ski Instructors Association(ISIA).

Once you’ve decided which discipline to focus on, the next step is to prepare for the certification exam. There will be differences depending on the discipline and level but in general, you’ll have to go through the following:

Complete a certain number of training hours. 

Complete a workbook on the certification you’re pursuing.

Pass an assessment that will evaluate both your skills and knowledge in skiing and teaching.

If you manage to meet all of the requirements, congratulations! You’ll become a PSIA-AASI certified instructor, ready to share what you’ve learned to aspiring skiers! But don’t forget ski safety. Since you will be out in the elements for hours at a time being evaluated and then eventually teaching others, it is important to stay warm.You’ll need top quality gear like ourPatagonia KITto help keep you comfortable and at your best. 

Tips to Help You Succeed

The process of becoming a certified instructor is fairly straightforward but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Here are a few things you can do to help increase your chances.

Go Back To Basics

If you’re going to teach others, you better have the fundamentals down pat. Over the years that you’ve built up your skiing skills, it’s easy to forget that you started from the basics as well. Here’s where enrolling in a ski clinic can help. Having someone evaluate you before your certification exam can help you find out what areas to improve on. Making mistakes is part of learning. If you fall trying to perfect a certain move, that’s alright. Keep your head up and your body warm and continue persevering – stay comfortable in our base layer packages.

Study Consistently

Getting a certification is more than just about the practice of skiing. You also need to prove that you understand the concepts and standards of the discipline you want to focus on. That means hitting the books as much as you hit the slopes. A good place to start would be reading through the national certification standards. You should also consider forming a study group with other aspiring members looking to get certified.

Find a Good Mentor

Other would-be instructors aren’t the only people that can help. One of the best ways to increase your chances of becoming a certified skier is working with a mentor. You’ll get a front-row seat to what it’s like to teach other skiers and you’ll have someone to talk to who has successfully gone through what you’re about to.

Teaching people how to ski is just one part of an instructor’s job. It is important to make sure they also have the correct equipment and clothing. They also need to show students how to have a good time. As a certified instructor, you’ll become a credible source of information that will help skiers enjoy their time in the mountains. Isn’t that the best way to share your love of the sport? 

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Keep Winter Cool: What Resorts Are Doing to Protect the Slopes

Climate change is a growing concern, especially for those who enjoy the winter weather. As global temperatures rise, there’s a real threat that the trails you’ve come to love won’t be around for the next generation.

There’s a lot of work ahead if we don’t want a future without our slopes. But one of the things we can do right now is to recycle. And we’re not just talking about putting garbage in their designated trashcans (though that definitely helps).

Let’s take a look at how our community does its part to help save our environment.

Why Recycling Matters:

Keeps Trash from Littering the Grounds

Today, people are more conscious about the environment than ever. No one really wants to just chuck their garbage but it’s not always easy to find a suitable place for it, especially in the mountains. 

A properly implemented recycling system includes having segregated bins placed in convenient locations across the resort where people are most likely to pass through. That way, there’s always a place nearby that guests and staff alike can get rid of their trash. 

Reduces Waste Products

The day to day operations of ski resorts produces can produce more waste that the guests themselves. It makes sense that a lot of the recycling efforts are focused there.

For example, some places take used cooking oil and combustible vehicle fluids as a source of fuel for supplemental heating. Many resorts also have their own water treatment facilities in an effort to conserve water and reduce chemical and energy use. 

Prevents Hazardous Waste Contamination

Recycling is as much about salvaging what’s safe to reuse as it is about preventing dangerous materials from going where it’s not supposed to. 

You might be surprised how much industrial waste can make its way up the mountains. From batteries for vehicles and gadgets, fluorescent lights that contain mercury, to the various cleaning solutions used around a resort’s facilities, it’s important to keep track of how these products will be safely disposed of without negatively affecting the environment.

Ski Resorts That Do More Than Recycling

Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

When it comes to sustainability,Taos Ski Valleydoes more than the average resort. The Blake’s hotel restaurant, for example, donates used wine bottles to Earthship Biotecture for the sustainable buildings that the company constructs. With the hotel being LEED certified in addition to the ski area’s B Corporation certification (which marks a company’s social and environmental performance) their efforts are widely recognized.

Sundance Mountain Resort, Utah

At the Sundance Resort, you’ll find that being eco-conscious doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice convenience. Quite the opposite, in fact. Their cleaning products and guest amenities are all environment-friendly. This includes shampoo and conditioner bottles made from biodegradable material, cartons made from recycled paper, and more. Sundance even has their own glassworks kiln where glass that would otherwise be sent to a landfill gets turned into decorative pieces or houseware that are used around the property.

Grand Targhee Resort, Wyoming

The little things matter when you’re talking about the environment. The Grand Targhee Resortdoes a lot of those little things so well that it makes a big impact. They use low-energy LED for lighting, sensor-activated bathroom lights, water-saving toilets, and recycle around 25 tons of waste a year. Their employees also fund environmental projects by giving part of their salary which the resort will then match in full. 

Smugglers’ Notch Family Resort, Vermont

Aside from their efforts in recycling, conservation, and energy efficiency, Smuggler’s Notchalso focuses on educating their guests on how they can help protect the environment. The resort offer’s tours of their wastewater treatment facilities and activities for kids that help them understand and appreciate nature. They also go the extra mile by providing curbside recycling pickup for guest homes.

Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Massachusetts

Jiminy Peakinstalled its “Zephyr” wind turbine in 2007 which provided around a third of the resort’s electrical needs. In 2015, they worked with a partner to bring a solar array online that further lessens their dependence on fossil fuels. Today, Jiminy Peak runs is powered 100% by renewable energy sources. Add that to their other eco-friendly initiatives such as recycling used motor oil for heating, construction of a summit reservoir, and their wildlife habitat preservation efforts, you can see that take their responsibilities seriously.

If you’re curious about what other places are up to, check out the results of the National Ski Areas Association’s annual Climate Challenge.

Here at Kit Lender, we support Protect Our Winters (POW), a non-profit organization whose goal is to spread awareness and fight climate change. Its advocates include athletes, resorts, and business owners involved in the winter sports community.

But it’s not just up to them. We all have a part to play in making sure that the slopes will always be there for years to come.

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