Female ski pros launch landmark event at Squaw Valley | SierraSun.com

Female ski pros launch landmark event at Squaw Valley

Special to the Sun

Kim Seevers (green jacket) and Julie Matises (purple jacket /white helmet) lead a morning clinic at the 2015 Women’s Summit.

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. — The Professional Ski Instructors of America-Western Division's three-day Women's Summit was held at Squaw Valley March 9-11.

The program was expanded this year to include ski patrollers and alpine ski coaches from across the snowsports industry and was endorsed by the United States Ski & Snowboard Association and the National Ski Patrol.

The Summit provided opportunities for industry professionals to train with elite coaches, share ideas, influence the future, and network with women colleagues in cross-industry fields.

The Summit included three days of coaching, collaboration, and apres ski discussions on topics fostering personal growth for developing leaders.

The coaching staff included current and alumni PSIA National Alpine Team members and education specialists holding PSIA and USSA trainer certifications.

Speakers included Inger Norman, a leader in the outdoor industry promoting women's camps and relationship building; Kim Seevers, a Sochi Paralympic Guide; Dee Byrne, a two-time alumni of the PSIA National Alpine Team and resort executive; and Anik Demers-Wild, a former Canadian team alpine racer and X-Games Gold Medalist.

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The event offered female pros a unique and diverse perspective on how to develop women's participation as professionals in the snowsports industry.

One participant stated, "I loved how these skilled and empowered women helped me to feel the same way."

The Summit's expansion mirrors the current political, social and cultural trends embracing women's initiatives around the world to spawn diversity in leadership platforms and support systems.

Ron Kipp, USSA Alpine Education Manager noted, "It is not just for female athletes that we need more women coaching. We need women coaches for all our athletes."

The Summit is designed to provide the women with a new tier of opportunity for professional growth and to discover insights into expanding their role and influence in their profession.

In addition, these professionals become mentors and role models for women and girls at home. Over time this type of collaboration will culminate in greater diversity throughout the snowsports industry.

Creator and coordinator Heidi Ettlinger, a PSIA National Alpine Team member, explained that despite inroads made by many women in the snowsports industry to top positions, the industry still needs diversity particularly in leadership roles.

She noted that, "Not only was the coaching staff an inspiration to help women visualize a pathway to pursuing their goals, our speakers offered a wealth of knowledge and encouragement for women to think optimistically about their potential."

Corporations, companies, and individuals interested in supporting development of the 2016 Women's Summit through a sponsorship or tax deductible donation can find information at psia-w.org/psiaaasi-education-foundation/.

The PSIA-W Education Foundation is a nonprofit corporation existing exclusively to support PSIA-W.

A "special funds" account has been established within the PSIA Western Division Education Foundation for the ongoing development of the Summit.

This article was submitted to the Sun by the PSIA-W Education Foundation. With more than 31,500 members, PSIA-AASI establishes certification standards for snowsports instructors and develops education materials to be used as the core components of instructor training. Visit thesnowpros.org or http://www.psia-w.org to learn more.