January 23, 2004 — Lakewood, Colorado – To meet the increasing popularity of freestyle/park and pipe riding as well as the surge in terrain park building at resorts, the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) has put the development of instructional models on a fast-track. Creating high-quality snowsports curriculum generally takes a year, but in less than six months, a national task force made up of ski and snowboard instructors from around the country has developed the materials that consumers and members can now find on the association’s websites.
The site provides consumers with an introduction to park and pipe etiquette as well as frequently asked questions and terminology. There are also links to related sites and other sources of information including Smart Style, Freestyle Terrain, the Responsibility Code, and the NSAA Heads Up and Lids On Kids programs.
While maintaining the essence of the freestyle/park and pipe culture, the main objectives of the new teaching materials are to:
- create an understanding that the teaching and development of skills in terrain parks is a gradual progression requiring time spent on smaller features,
-share and reinforce the awareness of etiquette practices and risks involved, and
-communicate to everyone (riders, instructors, park builders, area management)in a common language.
“This initiative isn’t about changing the way we teach skiing or riding, it’s about integrating freestyle elements, said Randy Price, who is the task force chair as well as the AASI Snowboard Team coach. “As instructors we usually discuss riding and skiing with the assumption that we’re in contact with the snow. In the pipe and park, however, we talk about being on snow only as it applies to creating a desired trajectory into the air or across a rail.
Task force member Luis Reyes presented the new PSIA-AASI freestyle/park and pipe information at the National Ski Areas Association meeting at Mount Snow, Vermont, in mid-January, and will repeat the program at NSAA’s meeting in Vail, Colorado, on February 3. In addition to presenting the instructional materials, Reyes will facilitate discussions on how to build the ideal terrain for teaching.
Resorts have been asking for guidance on park instruction as they see the need for more freestyle learning terrain and education materials. ” These new resources from AASI and PSIA go a long way to meet those needs, says Shaun Cattanach, resort programs manager for Burton. “Burton is developing a Progression Freestyle Program specifically designed to complement the AASI and PSIA material and to promote the development of smart, safe terrain park teaching and riding. This will be a great asset to the industry as freestyle riding and terrain parks progress.
“The collaborative effort and support we’ve received from NSAA, park designers and industry suppliers really helped us speed up our process, said PSIA-AASI Education Director Linda Crockett. “We consider the new freestyle/park and pipe instructional material on our websites as a work in progress, and we’re looking for feedback from members. Our goal is to have an expanded curriculum published sometime in 2004.
PSIA and AASI are nonprofit associations with a combined membership of more than 29,000 members who are dedicated to promoting snowsports through instruction. The associations establish certification standards for ski and snowboard instructors and develop education materials to be used as the core components of most ski and snowboard school training. PSIA and AASI support ski area management through research and development of instructional programs in alpine and nordic skiing, snowboarding, adaptive skiing, and children’s skiing. For more information visit; www.psia.org or www.aasi.org