Pro File: Kylie Dwyer
Welcome to the Vail Ski & Snowboard School Pro File! This is a new web feature where Vail instructors step into the spotlight to tell you a little bit about themselves, share some of their experience, and provide tricks, tips, and advice on advancing your career and teaching better lessons.
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Your Skiing & Snowboarding Background
How long have you been sliding on snow? 27 years
How long have you been instructing? 15 years
Where did you learn to ski/snowboard? Self-taught or with an instructor? My first experience was on a trip to NZ. Snowboarding was quite a young sport back then and I had only skied up to that point. I took a lesson and unfortunately, did not have the best experience and gave it up after a half day. I think this was more my own frustration in learning something new and foreign! Four years later, upon working in Canada, I had a friend take me out and gave it another try, after which, I took more lessons…..I was hooked! I am quite grateful to have pushed through my experience in NZ to give snowboarding another chance, as I believe it gave me the patience and empathy in my teaching today.
Describe your first ski or snowboard setup: Liquid snowboard and bindings. The logo was a little man block figure going to the bathroom! haha!
What equipment are your skiing/riding on now? Nitro Victoria board 149, Nitro Faint boots, Burton Escapade bindings
What’s the one ski or snowboard accessory you can’t live without? Liquid snowboard and bindings. The logo was a little man block figure going to the bathroom! haha!
What is your best skiing/snowboarding memory / Experience of a Lifetime? Training for my full certification in Australia, freeriding as fast and hard as possible and living on the edge!
Favorite Run at Vail Game Creek trees
Favorite place to ski/ride other than Vail? Hotham, Victoria, Australia
What’s your favorite ski or snowboard movie? The Art of Flight
What do you do in the off-season? Spend as much time as possible in a warm climate! I like to travel to the tropical areas of the globe for a few months either side of my seasons, and also spend time with friends and family
Your Advice to Others
What would you say to someone to encourage them to try skiing or snowboarding? What a great adventure, there is nothing better than trying something new and Skiing / Snowboard is exhilarating and fun. Try it with a Pro though so you can learn fast in a safe environment.
Why do you love working at Vail? Vail is a family. There is so much comradery amongst staff and the management team, it feels like we are all in it together.
What inspired you to become an instructor? I was inspired by riders and instructors around me at the time I was learning to snowboard. That season, I took a Level One Course and Certification, after which, I decided I wanted to become an instructor and inspire others the way I was inspired.
What is your best advice to someone just starting their career as an instructor? Look for inspiration from your peers and trainers, if it is something you are truly passionate about, stick with it, you will love the job! Take job satisfaction from seeing the joy in your students and knowing you have made a difference in their lives, regardless of the level you are teaching!
Describe a scenario where you had to teach a difficult lesson and how you accomplished it. On many occasions, I have had students not willing to listen to feedback, not willing to take on board feedback, or they just don’t believe your feedback, i.e. they don’t think they are skiing/riding the way you are describing them. We cannot force people to learn, even if they willingly come to lessons, they still may not be open to learning. We can lead them as much as possible to the door of learning, but they have to open it themselves in order to be open to learning. I find this one of the more difficult aspects of teaching.
What advice do you have for someone going for a new certification? Improving yourself or learning something new in any aspect of life is always going to be a benefit, so go for it! BUT…I had a wise trainer once say to me “Don’t just train for your certification, train to become a better instructor and certification will take care of itself”. Quote credit goes to one of our very own Vail Resorts (Heavenly) employees, and a colleague of mine here at Hotham in Australia, Richard Jameson.
Describe a favorite learning moment: In my first year of snowboarding, I will never forget learning my first Ollie! Everything just lined up to be the perfect learning environment that day: a great group of supportive riders, a fantastic instructor, great weather and great snow conditions! And, who doesn’t love learning how to get air!
What is it about your teaching style that stands out? I like to take my students to their boundaries (in a safe way). I believe this facilitates trust, and once my students have that trust in me, the real learning can begin. I also keep my lessons light and fun with a lot of practise time and simple explanations.
What tricks do you use for teaching beginners that you wished other instructors knew and used? I wish more instructors would focus more time teacher assisting at the lower levels. It will be more exhausting for the instructor, as it will mean hiking back up the hill several times a minute, but I believe it is more beneficial for the guest in the long-term. It promotes slam-free learning and ultimately gives our guests their best chance of a fun learning environment without the numerous amounts of falls. PLUS, the instructor can think of it as a FREE gym membership for him/her!
What are your skiing/riding, teaching, or training goals for the season? I have unfortunately been on a few years stretch of injuries. Because of this my freestyle and high speed high end freeriding has taken a backseat, so I am working on getting those elements back up to scratch. As a trainer, I am working on devising new creative exercises and tasks for my training sessions so as to challenge my instructors more.
If you could leave behind a legacy in the snowsports industry, what would it be? I would like to be known as a fun and passionate instructor, and a fun, challenging and empathetic trainer. I would like my legacy to be that I am 110% invested in any student who I instruct or any instructor who I train. That every student and /or instructor is my own personal project to improve, inspire and encourage. Their improvement is my product, and that product has my name on it….I am proud of this product and am proud to put my name to anyone I work with.
Sound off… Anything else you want to share with your peers?
Thank you for taking the time to read my story ?!
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