What is being a PSIA instructor really about?"As for 1) level of actual freesking ability, to make an analogy lots of high school wrestling coaches, much less college coaches, can't hang with their best wrestlers,e ven though the coaches themselves did some wrasslin' in their day. They don't need to do that to be a good or even great coach. The level of technical skill required for high-level performance in wrestling is if anything higher than in skiing -- it is MORE skill dependent -- but teaching that skill and being able to still apply it at a high level are two different things. Consider a ski or snowboard instructor with physical disabilities that appear later in life but a good eye. If they can make me ski or ride better, I'd gladly just get filmed on the mountain or lap the same run in front of them to get feedback. Beyond a beginner level of learning actual physical ability on the part of the instructor is overrated in my view so long as the understand the skills needed for actual high-level perfirmance."
I couldn’t agree more. I think some people may be having trouble with what PSIA is. I don’t think that professional ski instructors of America needs to be in the business of making sure that everyone who attains level III is a “flawless” skier as there are none. Lets all remember that PSIA is an organization of instructors… a teacher, not a skier’s version of a bodybuilding contest. While there is defiantly a requirement that a level III instructor meet the requirements of the skiing section of the certification and be able to effectively demonstrate the specific movements etc, it is not a World cup race or weather or not they should be in a “matchstick film” that really matters. Instructors teach, that is our job, many of the best ski racers get instruction from people that would not win a world cup. Maby if you are trying to get on the demo team you may need to be a “perfect” specimen of skiing godliness. But I would much rather have a teacher who can effectively communicate with me with great expertise what I need to do to improve as a student, rather than having my coach simply look amazing going down the hill. I often feel when reading forums discussion PSIA certifications that people are moving up in the ranks of PSIA as a competition to prove that they are a good skier. If people are so concerned about knowing who is the best skier etc, I would encourage you to get into world cup racing, powder 8 comp’s or master racing if you are looking for a competition. In my opinion the most important part of a level III cert or any cert for that matter is weather or not the potential level III candidate can effectively teach. Remember that a customer paying for an advanced lesson is paying you good money to make them a better skier, most don’t simply want to pleasure themselves watching the instructor ski, if that were there goal it would be a lot cheaper to have some alone time with some ski videos. Who knows maybe Hermann Maier would be a lousy teacher??
So basically I would reserve judgment of my fellow instructors taking a level III with me as far as skiing goes, because, while I may slay them out free skiing…. they may be much better at actually helping there students become a better skier than me. And that is the most important part of being an instructor. IMHO