Each year, millions of people strap on skis or a snowboard and head off for a trek down slopes or through winter trails across the United States. And each year, thousands of ski and snowboard instructors, members of the Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA-AASI), teach some 5 million people how to focus on both safety and fun. This year, through a collaboration between PSIA-AASI and Volkswagen, those members will deliver even more outreach and education programs from behind the wheels of a fleet of 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack vehicles.
PSIA-AASI members, who number more than 32,000 in all snow disciplines — telemark, alpine, and cross country, to name just a few — teach a curriculum that emphasizes safety and enjoyment. “People typically learn snow sports at their local mountain close to where they live — say, at a small resort where they learn how to ski or snowboard,” says Nick Herrin, CEO of PSIA-AASI. “Our goal as an organization is to create consistency through providing safe and fun educational curriculum and training from one resort to another, so that all guest have an exceptional experience out on the hill.”
Members also provide crucial outreach to people who might not otherwise think about or have access to snow sports. That includes adaptive programs that reach people with physical or mental challenges, in addition to education initiatives at ski and snowboarding centers and non-profits, says Herrin.
The group participates in about 2,000 education events across the country annually, and the Volkswagen collaboration provides a critical link to get members and their gear from its nine divisions spread across small Alpine centers in the Northwest to large resorts along the Eastern seaboard. “We’re not just doing events during winter months, but off-season too,” says Herrin. “Using these cars will help us focus on reaching less-traveled resorts, where there’s an opportunity to grow the sports and get people inspired not just to try something once, but multiple times. The more time we spend in person on the snow, the more successful we’re going to be.
“Working with Volkswagen is helping us to be even more proactive. We want to think about how we can support those that we might not have communicated with as much in the past,” he says. “Having access to the Alltrack vehicles is directly supporting this initiative. I can’t think of a better fit for our members than our collaboration with Volkswagen.”