The American Association of Snowboard Instructors, the snowboard arm of the Professional Ski Instructors Association (PSIA), is holding its third annual Team Training Week at Copper Mountain under sunny skies and soft upper mountain snow.
Since the PSIA launched the AASI two years ago, the team training week has served as an important time to set the agenda for the organization. Last year the emphasis was on the AASI training handbook and video.
This year, much of the attention is on the upcoming team selection that will happen in late May in Snowbird, Utah. The first selection process of its kind, the May event will be national in scope and will strive to pick a team of seven riders who are both excellent instructors and reflect current snowboard trends and attitudes (read, no more hard boots).
AASI has solicited opinions from the snowboard industry to make the program the best it can be, but emphasizes that you don’t need to be a sponsor to voice your opinion.
Once again select members of the snowboard industry have shown up to support the organization. Burton, Elan, M3/MLY, and Rad Air were attending, trying to drum up some business and to support the instructors. After all, if the instructor believes in your products, won’t he suggest it to the people he’s teaching? In particular, Burton was pushing its new Learn To Ride Program (LTR).
The LTR system is made up of two uniquely designed board lines, the day-one boards and the day-two boards. The day-one boards are twin shaped, very soft torsion ally, have lots of side cut and a three degree base bevel. The main goal of the day-one boards is to link turns quickly and easily without the threat of catching an edge every time a turn is initiated. The day-two boards are directional with stiffer torsional flex, shorter transition zones, more side cut and the same three-degree base bevel. The main goal of the day-two boards is to build on the accomplishments of the first day, gain confidence and expand the riders’ experiences.
On the other end of the spectrum, Rad Air’s Jim Rockett had just come off an East Coast tour with founder Harry Gunz, in which the two had been pushing the company’s Tanker series, a group of longboards that run between 170 and 200 centimeters. Rad Air is a new sponsor to AASI, along with Vans/Switch and Palmer, who weren’t at the demo day.