During the longest and largest storm cycle to hit the Tahoe area in several years, the PSIA-W (Professional Ski Instructors of America – Western Division) Regional Team tryouts took place. For two days at Squaw Valley, the best skiers and instructors battled white out conditions and while performing a series of ski and teaching tasks in an effort to gain a spot on the Western Regional Team. This team of 12 athletes will represent the Western Division of PSIA which encompasses the states of California and Nevada at the PSIA National Alpine Team tryouts in May of 2012. The team will train together over the course of the year but will compete individually for a spot on the prestigious National Alpine Team. The Western and National Team tryouts take place every four years and are offset by one year. Earning a position on the National Alpine Team is the highest achievement that a ski instruction professional can attain. The individuals on this team are true masters of their sport and profession, they are the teachers of teachers. The Western Demonstration Team serves their division by leading exceptional clinics, providing guidance and clarity to the technical knowledge that is spread throughout the division, and a strong visual image of good skiing technique.
Seventeen ski pros from the region showed up at Squaw on March 21 and 22 to ski and teach their best in hopes of making the team. All seventeen ski pros were members of the Tech Team – the divisional clinician and examiner squad, making the level of skiing and teaching pretty high.
Among the 12 athletes selected, were the North American Ski Training Center’s (NASTC) Operations & Events Manager and Trainer, Kim Mann and NASTC trainer, Mark Palamaras. Mann grew up skiing all over the Alps before moving to Lake Tahoe and becoming an instructor. A fully certified instructor and staff trainer for Alpine Meadows, Mann started out with NASTC solely as the Operations and Events manager. After shadowing numerous courses and making it on the PSIA-W Tech Team, she began to help out on the hill more and more and has become a regular member of the NASTC coaching staff in addition to her duties helping Chris and Jenny Fellows run their world class training center. Palamaras, an instructor from Windham, NY and a member of the PSIA- Eastern division examiner and clinician squad, met Chris Fellows at a PSIA event in Killington and then again in Chamonix at another PSIA event. After expressing his goals and interests in the ski industry, Chris encouraged Palamaras to move to Tahoe where he would be in close proximity to world class ski resorts, excellent terrain and first rate coaches. After attending several NASTC courses as a client, Mark became involved with the instructional side of things and eventually became a member of the NASTC coaching staff.
There are a total of five members of the PSIA Western Regional Team that are also coaches for NASTC. In addition to Kim Mann and Mark Palamaras, Elianne Furtney, Heidi Ettlinger and Mike Costello are the other NASTC trainers that have made it onto the Western Regional Team. NASTC upholds their standard of excellence in all aspects of their business and provides up and coming instructors with the tools they need for success and supports them in their endeavors to be the best at their profession.