As National Ski Patrol (NSP) rewrites many of the curricula for its educational disciplines, Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) receives the benefits of this modernization. An advantage for OET has been the transformation that our sister organization in the snowsports industry has lead while rethinking education and coaching techniques for skiers and snowboarders. That organization is the Professional Ski Instructor Association – American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA – AASI) which focuses its efforts on credentialing snowsports instructors and providing them with a unified curriculum for teaching and coaching ski and snowboarding techniques.
PSIA and their snowboarding affiliate organization AASI began their transformations at the start of the decade. By 2014 PSIA-AASI published its newest collection of “Technical Manuals” along with a rewrite of their “Teaching Handbooks.”
NSP has been working together with PSIA for the last two decades with the intent of developing common methods and a common language for teaching patrollers. It continues to benefit from the best
For decades the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) promoted a student-centered teaching method referred to as “Skills Concept” where the focus was communicating body movements to students. In 1987 PSIA wrote their manual titled “American Teaching System.” The teaching direction emphasized Edging Movements, Rotary Movements, Pressure Movements and Balancing Movements. Removed from the curriculum were the physics and the biomechanics of the skis interacting with the snow surface. This teaching method downplayed technical teaching.
At the same time, radical technological changes in ski manufacturing began creating equipment that became much easier to turn in all snow conditions. Skis just turned for students, let the ski designers handle physics and mechanics, teach the student to make the appropriate body movements became the goal. Besides claimed PSIA, students didn’t want to know the technical; they just wanted the skis to turn. Instead of teaching students to understand the technique, movements were used to generate outcomes without regards to whether they might be valid.
The de-emphasis of biomechanics and ski physics left ski instructors with a lack of understanding of how biomechanical movements might affect the physical interaction between the snow surface and the skis. Without this knowledge, adapting learning progressions for students skiing on technologically superior equipment became stagnant. Racing Coaches were the only ski professionals teaching students how to extract every performance benefits.
What a great day we had! Despite predicted unfavorable weather all participants arrived on time with eagerness to start the day! We had a total of thirteen students of varying degrees of proficiency and four talented instructors: Deb Brown TE, Walter Hoeckele ATI,
Jake Jacobson TE and Myself , Lisa Kling TE. I presented an informal overview of what we would like to cover for the day and what to expect taking into consideration the terrain available to us and the different ski levels of our large group.
A good warm up run top to bottom with each participants demonstrating a little bit of all short, medium and long radius turns was helpful in determining the selection of our groups. We broke into three groups. Jake and Walter having four students each and Deb And I working together with five.