You ever notice that on the big wall/window PSIA decal that ski schools have up on the lesson sales office, it says:Professional
with "Instructor" in the singular?
Instead of "Professional Ski Instructors
That's the "yeah, we got one of them here somewhere" version of the shield for resorts.
: I always figured that was a mis-print, but maybe it's truth-in-advertising!
I'm not saying there needs to be outright policing of schools by PSIA, but perhaps the minimum standards for PSIA member schools should be publicized to the general skiing public, the value of PSIA certification (and in a larger sense, of PSIA school membership) should be publicized by PSIA."On your ski vacation, instructors at PSIA-member schools teach you to ski.
PSIA teaches your instructors how to teach you.
Look for the PSIA logo when you are learning to ski"
If let's say PSIA required that w% of all instructors be PSIA members, x% be L1 or above, y% be L2, z% be LIII, and at least some percent be PSIA trainer certified (essentially a PSIA "Level 4") for a school to be affiliated, that would be a good step. If PSIA does something like that today, then that's something they should be bragging about instead of it just being known to industry management.
This approach would allow for non-certified instructors to enter into the industry and help with the demand, but would put pressure on the ski areas themselves, not just the instructors, to keep the certification rates and progress to upper levels up and moving. By letting the public know about the value of PSIA affiliation, while not falling into the fallacy of "Demand a Certified Pro or Demand your money back" which cuts off the entryway into the industry at the legs, it could be a win-win.
I just looked at our website at Breck, at Vail's, at Copper's, and Loveland's ski school pages. I know that all of them are PSIA-affiliated member schools. In fact they all are host areas for PSIA training and certification events. I know that more than one of our supervisors at Breck are PSIA-RM examiners and that our training material is heavily PSIA-research inspired. I know that Vail and Copper have their share of examiners and many good PSIA-trained L3, L2, and L1 instructors. I'm sure the same is true of Loveland.
Yet you can't find the term "PSIA" on any of their sites. Or if it's there, it's well-hidden. Coppercolorado.com's site search doesn't come up with any results anywhere on their site for PSIA.
We can't expect the public to value PSIA membership and PSIA training, if we in the industry aren't proud of it and don't promote its value to the general skiing (and "thinking about trying skiing") public. Why aren't we seeing the resorts bragging about their percentages of PSIA members at various certification levels, about their ranking by PSIA overall, etc.?
PSIA isn't and won't become a union-like organization - it's too tightly allied to resort area or at least ski school management for that to happen, but that's ok. It does need to be more of a trade promotion organization to help both schools and individual instructors give the best possible lesson to our guests, and to let our guests know the value they should be expecting from their lesson.
We need a lot more than "Go with a Pro" bumper stickers for that to happen.
Publicize the heck out of PSIA outside the ski industry, in general vacation magazines, radio ads, require resorts which have member schools to promote the PSIA affiliation, proactively approach travel media with PSIA information and press releases. Get the name and value out there and create customer expectation.
Intel did it with "Intel Inside". Where's our "Ski Instruction Powered by PSIA" campaign?