Teaching perfect turns

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The road to becoming a ski or snowboard instructor for the Steamboat Ski Area can be a long one.

Many instructors have received a nationally recognized level of certification through the Professional Ski Instructors of America or the American Association of Snowboard Instructors that requires four to five years to achieve.

Such a high level of certification means they can ski or snowboard at an internationally recognized standard, and have the ability to teach anyone at any level how to ski, said Johanna Hall, director of Steamboat Ski and Snowboard School. It also ensures that people who take lessons are in good hands.

"What we do is we actually sell instructors. People think we sell a three-hour lesson, but we really sell people, so having well-trained professional instructors ensures the best quality lesson," Hall said.

The more than 400 instructors come from a variety of backgrounds, including ex-CEOs, PhDs, year-round professional instructors, and young skiing stars, and the Ski and Snowboard School specializes in matching clients with instructors who provide individually tailored lessons, Hall said.

With profiles of all instructors online at www.steamboat.com this year, clients can check out instructors' backgrounds and book a day with him or her.

A full line of multiple-day clinics and half-day or full-day sessions are offered to skiers and riders of all ages and abilities.

Some lessons can be booked the day of the lesson, but Hall recommends that skiers and riders call in early to be sure they get the type of lesson they want.

Half-day group sessions run from 12:30 to 3 p.m., and full-day sessions run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Adult ski and snowboard programs cater to ages 16 and older and beginner to advanced levels.

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