by G. Kunkel
In the USA, professional ski and snowboard instruction certification is obtained through the nine divisional offices of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI). If one wants to have at least a meager income from instruction, you'll need to have a certification.
PSIA-AASI currently certifies instructors in alpine skiing, telemark, cross country, snowboarding, adaptive, freestyle, and children. None of the divisional offices currently have a certification program for skibikes. This includes Rocky Mountain PSIA-AASI that covers Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
I stopped by the National office in Lakewood, Colorado last fall for guidance from a former supervisor who now works there. The bottom line: this is something that will have to be approached at the divisional level not the national. In addition, a uniform teaching system that will work for both styles of bikes (peg and skibob) is the only practice that will be accepted by the national PSIA office.
As there are now more Colorado ski resorts that allow bikes than ban them, it's something that needs to be addressed. Especially for peggers - they require a more technical lesson. The demand for lessons for both skibobs and pegs is increasing though.
A great way to get the sport introduced to non-adaptive instructors in the Rocky Mountain Division are through cross-over training events such as Vail Spring Fling. Members can learn a new sport and fulfill their education credit requirements.
While I was over at Steamboat on Tuesday, I decided to drop in on the divisional headquarters in Steamboat Springs. As luck would have it, I was able to speak with Dana Forbes the Executive Director. As it turns out, we know a mutual number of people within PSIA and the ski industry.
The current state of skibiking within Colorado and the teaching program at Winter Park were discussed. I explained why a cross-discipline clinic at Vail Spring Fling would be a great introduction for non-adaptive instructors. She agreed.
I then went on to address the lack of a certification program for bikes and the lack of a recognized teaching system for peggers. Skibobs have somewhat of a system through Adaptive. With the demand for pegger lessons increasing, perhaps this should be addressed?
Dana mentioned that skibikes were discussed two years ago. After consulting with the National PSIA Office, they found that their insurance policy coverage did not extend to bikes. Without insurance coverage, they could not move forward.
As an active dues paying member of Rocky Mountain PSIA-AASI I'd like to see this sport take off in a responsible manner with a measure of respectability. Snowboarding suffered early on before being recognized as a separate discipline altogether.
After a quick and productive discussion, there may or may not be some progress. Dana said she would talk to National and see if the insurance issue had been worked out and then get back to me.
So, those of you wanting a Cert for bikes, insurance is the hold back. If enough active members express interest, it may hurry up the process. We all remember when you had to have a snowboard license to ride at ski resorts.
Want to have a voice? Join PSIA. Dues are $110 annually with mandatory continuing education. You'll learn more about snowslding sports than you ever thought possible. My snowboarding skills improved vastly after starting down the training road.
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