Snowboard instructor helping his student.Here at the October Country Inn we are asked a lot about ski or snowboard instruction.  Because we’re close to several popular winter activity destinations; the town of Woodstock, Killington, and Okemo ski resorts, we’re often busy during the Winter holiday periods.  However, besides innkeeping duties, it’s slow enough so that I can get away with teaching snowboarding at Killington.  Consequently, I’ve spent a lot of time on the bunny hill observing as friends try to teach friends how to ski or snowboard.  It usually isn’t pretty.

Insist on qualified ski or snowboard instruction.

It’s understandable that someone who can ski or snowboard would want to pass this fun and exciting activity on to their friends.  However, good intentions alone are insufficient.  Just because someone can get down a black diamond trail with a reasonable degree of dignity, does not mean that they have a clear understanding on exactly how they were able to accomplish this.

In fact, most don’t know.  More than being an accomplished snow slider, being able to teach skiing or snowboarding requires an understanding of the physics of sliding on snow, and being able to relate the cause and effect of anatomical posture and movements as they pertain to the control of direction and speed.  Shouting: “turn,” “turn,” “turn,” at the top of your lungs as your friend whizzes straight down the hill screaming is not usually effective coaching.  In such a situation, your friend would love to turn.  If only they knew how.

The most qualified instructors will be PSIA/AASI certified.

Ski instructor with a child student.If you can dance even a little bit, you can learn to ski or snowboard.  The Professional Ski Instructor’s Association, American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI), is a national association.  It provides education and certification for professional ski and snowboard instructors.  The PSIA/AASI instructional program is a step-by-step approach. It is designed to take you from your first awkward day to ripping black diamonds.  Or, to shredding the park.  So, when your friend offers to teach you how to ski or snowboard. Thank them for their generosit.   And then go with a Pro.  You’ll be glad you did, especially if a spouse or significant other is involved.