+12 12 votes

We Must be a Ski Town

Many of us who live in Central Washington probably don't think of Wenatchee as a 'ski town.' That phrase brings to mind communities like Whistler, Crested Butte, or Steamboat Springs where the town actually sits at the base of the lifts. Still, Wenatchee must be close to the real deal because the Professional Snowsports Instructors of America ‐ Northwest (PSIA‐NW) just relocated its Northwestern headquarters here.

PSIA-NW is a 501(c)(6) non‐profit organization supporting more than 3,500 professional snowsports instructors with education and certification events that are usually held at ski resorts throughout Washington, Oregon, Northern Idaho and Western Montana. The headquarters have been in the Seattle area since the organization began over 60 years ago.

But Kirsten Huotte, the Executive Director for PSIA-NW, says that services and opportunities have grown significantly in Central Washington. Enough so that when the organization started contemplating a move, Wenatchee quickly became one of the top choices for both geographic and economic reasons. “An added bonus is that this is a ski town,” says Houtte. “I have a view of Mission from my office.”

Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) and the America Association of Snowboard Instructors (AASI) are the main snowsports education and certification groups in the United States and PSIA‐NW represents the NW region of snowsports educators.

Originally established in the 1930′s, the then-named Pacific Northwest Ski Association (PNSA) was one of the first professional ski associations in the United States. The association was comprised of competitive skiers and ski instructors throughout the Northwest. In 1958, the instructors branched off and formed their own association, then known as the Pacific Northwest Ski Instructors Association (PNSIA).

As ski instruction and the ski industry grew, the various geographic regions
across the country joined together to form a national organization called the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA). Today both the national organization and the Northwest division have members who are educators in downhill, cross-country, and telemark disciplines as well as adaptive snowsports and snowboarding.

Houtte says she’s excited to have her office located only 15 miles from the downhill slopes. With another La Nina year descending upon us, she's liking the idea of living in a ski town.