Professional Ski Instructors of America & American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI)
The Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI) is the world’s largest nonprofit education association dedicated to promoting the sports of skiing and snowboarding through instruction. With more than 31,500 members instructing at 300 member ski and snowboard schools, PSIA-AASI establishes certification standards for snowsports instructors and develops education materials to be used as the core components of instructor training.
PSIA-AASI members spend more time with the skiing and snowboarding public than any other ski area employee. PSIA-AASI supports area management through research and development of instructional programs in alpine skiing, snowboarding, telemark skiing, cross-country skiing, and adaptive skiing and snowboarding. The association also develops educational materials and programs to serve specific ski and snowboard demographics, such as children’s and freestyle specializations.
PSIA-AASI’s national office is in Lakewood, Colorado, and there are nine regional divisions across the country: Alaska, Central, Eastern, Intermountain, Northern Intermountain, Northern Rocky Mountain, Northwest, Rocky Mountain, and Western. The divisions provide on-the-ground services to the members in their specific part of the country and support their local members through education, certification, and PSIA-AASI membership services. In addition, PSIA-AASI represents the United States to the rest of the world through the International Ski Instructors Association.
Currently there are four primary categories of membership in PSIA-AASI: Registered, Level I, Level II, and Level III. New instructors first become a registered member and then train for and are examined at Level I. Levels II and III progressively require more depth of knowledge, skill at applying this knowledge, and demonstration of a greater range of sliding skills on progressively more difficult terrain and snow conditions.
With a goal of establishing and promoting standards for how skiing was taught in the United States PSIA was incorporated in the fall of 1961 by a group of seven committed instructors: Bill Lash, Jimmy Johnston, Paul Valar, Doug Pfeiffer, Don Rhinehart, Max Dercum, and Curt Chase. By 1964, a truly American ski technique had taken shape, described in PSIA’s first manual, The Official American Ski Technique. The American Ski Technique evolved into the American Teaching Method and finally to what is currently called the American Teaching System.
With the growing popularity of snowboarding in the 1980s, PSIA saw the need to do for snowboard instruction what it had done for ski instruction, and thus began developing snowboard instruction material. The first training and education programs were developed in 1987, and in 1989 the association published its first snowboard-oriented education resource, the Snowboard Ski Instruction Manual. Embracing the full scope of how snowboarding fit within its educational tenets, PSIA formed AASI in 1997. Fully committed to sharing the passion of the skiing and riding experience, the organization is now known as PSIA-AASI.