Amateur Ski Instructors Association - What's It All
Is it an attitude, a belief, or a feeling of wanting to share our love of
sliding on the snow? Is it a setting to learn, to grow, to establish ourselves, to
meet others, and to enjoy skiing and riding together? Is it a way to learn to
give away what we have come to love so much ourselves?
It all started many years ago, perhaps on some golf course, or hill, or in a
field where people got together with wooden sticks and boards to enjoy the
winter and the snow. Some of these people had learned how to slide along safely
and were anxious to help others to do the same. They came to be called ski
instructors. The word got around, more people came, and the sport of skiing
We really havenít come far from there. Oh yes, we donít have to foot-pack
the slopes now, a fleet of machines does it. We donít have to climb up the
hill to come down; we have high-speed chairs, heated gondolas and 135 person
trams to whiz us to the summit in minutes. Fancy equipment and clothing keep our
skis and boards on our feet and our bodies warm. But when we get right down to
it, the feelings of enjoyment, excitement, freedom, and accomplishment havenít
changed, nor our love of skiing or our desire to share the joy with others.
Bill Hornbeck, founder and Executive Director of the Amateur Ski Instructors
Association, started his ski-teaching career by becoming a Qualified Amateur Ski
Instructor (QASI) with the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association (USEASA)
(also PSIAís birthplace) in 1965. He then became involved with activities of
the QASI committee, and when a friend gave up the chair, Bill took over the
running of the committee. Then in 1975, Bill was also certified by PSIA.
By 1980, due to philosophical and political changes within USEASA, it became
apparent that it was time for QASI to become an independent organization. The
QASI committee broke away from USEASA and formed the Amateur Ski Instructors
Association. Bill was elected president and served in that position until the
end of the day, when the newly formed Board of Directors named him as Executive
Director, the position he has held ever since.
Under Billís caring direction and watchful eye, ASIA has grown steadily,
and has certified over 4000 Amateur Instructors. Programs have expanded and
diversified from the original certifying event and snowboard and nordic
certifications have been added. The emphasis is still the same, however - to
develop skiers and riders who will enhance the safety and enjoyment of the sport
for everyone, through uniform, quality instruction, affordable dues, and a
diversity of programs.
ASIA is a group of people who get great enjoyment and satisfaction in seeing
a smiling face after that first successful glide down the bunny slope or cruise
down a trail. At first ASIA certification is a chance to show off what we can do
or have just learned. Great for the ego, but then as we gain greater insight
into teaching and sharing, we lose self importance and begin to focus on our
studentís real needs - learning to enjoy the mountain environment as much as
we do. ASIA then, becomes the catalyst for unique skiing and learning
opportunities. It is true that the teacher is twice learned. We continually
improve our skiing and riding by teaching and helping others.
So what then is ASIA all about? Itís an attitude, a feeling, an idea. Itís
a way to share our knowledge, and above all the way to get together and enjoy
what we all have in common; our love of the sport.