Pro File: Katie Zinn

Pro File: Katie Zinn

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.

Enjoy getting to know your colleagues, and fill out this questionnaire to share YOUR story in a future Pro File.


Name: Katie Zinn
Certifications: Adaptive III & Examiner, Alpine II, CS2, FS1, USSA 1

Your Skiing & Snowboarding Background

How long have you been sliding on snow? Since I was 2

How long have you been instructing? Started as a volunteer in 2003
Where did you learn to ski/snowboard? Sugarloaf, USA; lessons with ski school and my mum
Describe your first ski or snowboard setup: Rear entry boots and straight skis
What equipment are your skiing/riding on now? Blizzard, Nordica, Tecnica, and Apex
What’s the one ski or snowboard accessory you can’t live without? Duct tape
What is your best skiing/snowboarding memory? Seeing what doors skiing opens up for people with disabilities
Favorite Run at Vail: Avanti

What do you do in the off-season? Playing outdoors and working on getting Access Unbound on the map and providing support to people with disabilities

Your Advice to Others

Why do you love working at Vail? The people and being a part of a company that feels that people with disabilities deserve equal opportunities
What inspired you to become an instructor? Sharing the outdoors with everyone
What is your best advice to someone just starting their career as an instructor? Take the time to observe a variety of instructors
What advice do you have for someone going for a new certification? Find a person who has been through the process who you respect, has a teaching style that aligns with your learning style, and you can use as a resource
What is it about your teaching style that stands out? Patience
What tricks do you use for teaching beginners that you wished other instructors knew and used? Give people time to master a skill on the current terrain, then do it a few more times, before you even begin to think about going on something more challenging
If you could leave behind a legacy in the snowsports industry, what would it be? Skiing is skiing no matter what someone is sliding on