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Is PSIA-RM's new level 3 cert standards fair to small ski schools?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
especially since most small areas and some big ones do not have the terrian, space or money to build a trauma, er terrian, park.

Forcing small area instructors to, I-70 ski areas or Telluride or Taos for tests (these are the only approved sites for tests) and clinics is finanically painful as well as not fair.

what say yáll?
post #2 of 7
Originally Posted by skx_skibum
especially since most small areas and some big ones do not have the terrian, space or money to build a trauma, er terrian, park.
Or thoracic park as our patrol loves to call our terrain parks.

However, I think we need to acknowledge PSIA did not invent terrain parks. They exist because of an evolution in the snowsports industry that responded to consumer demand. If the public didn't want them they would disappear like snow in June. And if PSIA's mission is to educate and certify instructors to meet contemporary consumer needs, why shouldn't parks be part of the certification process? Granted that makes it hard for and even difficult on instructors from some areas. But the greater good is ensuring "Level 3 certified" means qualified to teach effectively "in any snow and any conditions" including parks.

Trust me I empathize with you over the cost issue. I am in the final phase of the PGA's Professional Golf Management Program so I can gain my membership in that organization. For each of my three "checkpoints" on that path I have to travel to Florida-there is no alternative. My out of pocket costs will exceed $6,000 to gain my membership. Expensive, yes. Worth every penny in the long run, absolutely. Just like the gold pin you'll get for passing Level 3-Good Luck.
post #3 of 7
I work at a small resort in California. We don't have steep terrain, long runs or a big mogul field. Does that mean it's unfair for an examiner to ask me to ski the steeps? Or to ski all day on long runs?

Small resorts are always at a terrain disadvantage. You just have figure out what drills you can do at your small mountain that will transfer to the harder terrain at the big mountain. And make frequent trips to other resorts.

post #4 of 7
I also empathize with this dilemma, but I also agree that the standard must be maintained in order to be credible.

This issue is, by the way, one of the rationales for the original invention of the Level 2 and 1 exams--that there are many reasons why it may be difficult for members to succeed in the Level 3. These reasons include age, athleticism, experience, training, and so on. PSIA wants to recognize those who make a contribution, without lowering the fully certified standard. I don't think it's a bad compromise.

That does not mean it's less difficult for those at the smaller areas, and my hat's off to those people in that situation who try--whether they pass or not.
post #5 of 7
I do not see the problem (personally), and I do not think its a disadvantage coming from a small area. I'm an east coaster, and work at a little MA area (only 240 vertical feet). Now, for every exam and clinic I've done with PSIA I've had to travel at least 2 hours (typically at least 3 or more) to go to areas with more substantial vertical, pitch and terrain. However, chances are that people going for higher level exams will also take ski vacations or weekend trips to ski at more substantial areas. The difference comes in who continues to train themselves while on these trips?

Now, in terms of terrain parks being used in exams, I'll only say its about time (and something to keep in mind is my area got rid of a run down half-pipe a few years ago, and only recently, last year, re-established a bit of a park).

I basically self trained in preparation for my level 2 and 3 (at an area with only 240 vertical feet mind you) and I'll be the first one to say, the limitation does not come from the terrain or the area(s) you ski/train, but the limitations come from how you train. Just because you do not readily have access to some terrain doesn't mean that you cannot train/practice the skills needed, and if staff trainers cannot train you on these skills, do the research, dig around, and train yourself, who knows, you might even hit a point where you're able to "train the trainers" - which by the way is a very good way to train for level III.

Afterall, the motto for level III is ski any terrain, any condition, and ski it well (not just any terrain at your area).
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
I completely agree a high standard is important for level III certification but what is it? Hiding it at Vail, Breckenridge or Aspen doesn't do anything for those in small places in the southern district. These guys are well off the beaten path for PSIA-RM educational staff. The lack of terrain, bumps, trauma, oh sorry, I mean--terrain park, can be overcome.

But the standards themselves are moving targets. What are they? They haven't been well disseminated. Though I'm level III and test free for a while, I don’t fully understand the requirements for this latest interation of the Level III test. Limiting the test to the Vail's of the world, which I think has wimpy terrain, only foists a dogma to skiing that is centered on Vail and my not be appropriate for places far from I-70. I think this ethereal standard is driving away the southern district instructors. Tell us what standards are, tell us well in advance. Letting us know in the fall issue of the "instructor-to-instructor" is too late. Make the requirements objective (e.g. skiing a bump run at a certain speed) and make the requirements fair.

This is my two cents--I want to emphasize a high standard it important, but tell us what it is; Make it objective and make it real and flexible.
post #7 of 7
I would think that the reason for holding the exams at the Vails of the world is probably economic. It keeps the cost of the exam (and your regional dues) down, by not having to send examiners all over the place and pay their travel expenses. If the examiners are in Vail or Breck, or Copper, etc., then I can see that you might need to travel to them.

I live just outside of DC. My Level 3 exams (2 parts, so 2 trips) were at Cannon, NH and Stowe, VT, each of which are about an 11 hour drive. I drive to Killington every December for my annual event. That's yet another 11 hour drive. As a matter of fact, they don't hold L3 exams south of Hunter and Windham in central NY, which is 6 hours from here, and a whole lot further if you worked in North Carolina.
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