I began teaching skiing in November of 1990. At that time, the Carrabassett Valley Academy had a thriving snowboard racing program. This was run by Eric Webster, along with Scott Palmer. Those two patiently answered my questions, and provided effective suggestions on how to ride better.
Mark Fawcett had been graduated the year before (or the year before that, I’m not sure), and the current crop of racers included, among others, Jeremy Jones, Adam Hostetter, and Troy Collins.
Watching that crew on the mountain impressed me with the fact that I had a long way to go with my own riding, as they were moving about the place more effectively than most everyone else I had seen on a snowboard.
They were, in effect, riding the earliest versions of ‘shaped’ skis.
Probably due to the influence of CVA, there were a number of younger riders sporting about on hardboots. Tim Flight, Johnny Warren, Matt and Tim Simoneau, and Seth Wescott served as a willing test crew and collaborative group for the ideas and notions that came into my head.
Mark Sassi ran the snowboard shop, and his own interest in alpine snowboarding ensured that the latest equipment and insight was available. At the time, I could afford the latter, but not the former.
The snowboard staff grew, and I had more opportunities to discuss the hows and whys of riding. Terry Plum and Nikki Pilavakis, hired in 1992, later went on to ride as part of the original Palmer boardercross team. Jack Michaud, Buster Miller, and Scott MacPherson came on around 94, Scott Noble and Pat Jones around 94-95.
I had a number of conversations with Peter Howard, the lead trainer for the ski school, that were most informative in developing my approach to teaching movement on snow.
At that time, a number of Sugarloaf instructors were also PSIA alpine examiners. Not only were they qualified to teach at a high level, their skiing had individual personalities much lacking in this day and age. They made great sport of trying to follow the rather sharp ruts I was just beginning to leave about the place.
The UMF Ski Industries Program was in full swing under the auspices of “Coach” Tom Reynolds. His charges were impressive to watch, and provided plenty of opportunity for the sharing of ideas.
The early days of snowboard instruction at Sugarloaf were interesting. There was a lot of growth and excitement in the sport, and there was something of a feeling of solidarity among riders at the resort. Equipment got better and better each year, and so did the quality of rider.
Every so often, I will see someone on the hill who either worked with me at that time, or rode the mountain back then, and they are immediately recognizable due to their style and carriage.
Thanks to all…