A Ski Instructor’s Outlook on Outdoor Education

Amy Post
Amy Post

I’ve been teaching skiing for 7 years, and I love it.  I love using both my mind and my body at work.  I never get bored as a ski instructor because each student presents a new challenge.  People learn in all different ways depending on their age, gender, physical ability and learning preferences, among other factors.  So each lesson challenges me to find the one thing that will improve that particular person’s skiing the most, and the best way to get this information across to that individual.

Rime (windblown frozen fog) on trees near the summit of Mt. Ashland. Photo by Amy Post.

Above all, I enjoy sharing my passion for skiing with others.  Skiing is super fun!  I love sliding down the hill and being outside in the mountains during winter.  I love going fast, but I also love stopping in the middle of a tree run and listening to the snowflakes fall.  And I love it when the sun hits fresh snow and makes it sparkle like glitter.

As a ski instructor, I am approaching environmental education from an outdoor recreation perspective. Environmental education and outdoor recreation aren’t one in the same.  But, I believe that the two go hand in hand.  In order to care about the environment, you have to have reason to care.

I think it is so important to take people outside and show them a good time!  Positive experiences in nature allow people to form an emotional connection to the environment and a reason to care about their surroundings.  To me, forming this emotional connection is the essential first step in environmental education, and one that everyone needs to revisit frequently.

Riding up the ski lift at the Mt. Shasta Ski Park. Photo by Amy Post.

On the other hand, we depend on a healthy environment to enjoy the  outdoors. Certainly, skiing has some negative impacts on the environment, and some ski areas are more environmentally responsible than others.  This is the point in the blog entry where I could give you some advice on how to lessen your impact on the environment while enjoying outdoor recreation.  But if you are the type of person who reads an environmental education blog, you probably already have a good idea of how to do that or were to find information to help you make informed choices.  Instead, I’ll ask you to reflect on why you care about the environment and why it’s important to you.  And if you need a reminder, go outside and have some fun!

View of Mt. Shasta from the top of Mt. Ashland. Photo by Amy Post.

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