Each fall the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) and Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) gather together for a week of team training at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Aside from riding each morning, the teams break up into planning meetings during the afternoons and culminate each evening with a buffet dinner and usually a night of parting. At the end of the week, team sponsors and media are invited to join the group for a day of riding up at Copper. This year was no different, except for one thing—next year it would be a whole new team.

Every four years in the spring, the AASI and PSIA team members are required to try out for the team. This season is the last year for the current team before tryouts occur in May of 2005. “This year is really unique because it’s the end of four years explains Marketing Director for AASI/PSIA Mark Dorsey.

So, on Thursday, October 30 the media and team sponsors joined up to ride one last time with the current team coached by Randy Price, and made up of Rob Baker, Shaun Cattanach, Gregg Davis, Mikey Franco, Chad Frost, and Earl Saline. Representatives from AASI sponsors Burton, Rossignol, Palmer, Ovo Helmets, Atomic, Patagonia, and others were on hand to see first hand what their sponsorship dollars are doing. “I really feel good about coming to this event, says Leigh Ault, PR manager for Burton. “Its nice to understand exactly what AASI is up to, and why our investment with them pays off.

All morning the group hit the slope of Copper Mountain. Slope, because the weather was a balmy 40 degrees. Copper had been hard at it, blowing snow all week for the event—the mountain was planning to open over the weekend. And, even though there was only one run open, the group had a good time. While the morning was filled with speed-runs down the groomer, the afternoon session was crowded by ski-racers running a GS and a Slalom course. After downloading the chair to reach the base area for lunch most of us elected not to return up the hill. Instead, the many of the snowboard crew waited out the afternoon in hot-tub with a few cases of PBR.

Later that night, the entire group reconvened at a Banquet dinner for both the AASI and PSIA where each team member was given a plaque with a photo to commemorate their efforts. Then after a slide show with photos from the many AASI/PSIA events over the past years the group headed over to Pravda, a vodka bar in the village where you can imagine things got kind of sloppy.

Special thanks to Lisa Winston of Peak Exposure, as well as the entire AASI/PSIA staff. Look for a more detailed story in an upcoming issue of SNOWboarding Business.