Best Ski Instructor: Chip Shevlin
October 13, 2016
Steamboat Springs — Like so many full-time ski instructors, Steamboat Ski Area's Chip Shevlin has turned clients into friends in his 21 years teaching in Steamboat Springs. He's developed friendships that stretch across the country and those skiers call or email all summer long to ensure they'll be able to ski with him during their Steamboat vacations.
While a full schedule of private lessons are the goal for some ski instructors, Shevlin has always spent some of his favorite leading groups.
Shevlin has been one of the regular instructors in the ski area's Locals Saturdays program, which organizes groups of skiers for five consecutive Saturday lessons during the winter. He loves it, and it's that attitude that helped him stand out as the Best of the Boat ski instructor for 2016.
"I really like what we do with group lessons," Shevlin says. "I like the group dynamic. It's a lot of fun, more enjoyable for everyone. The students learn from each other and if I've chosen my class right, if I say something to one person, it probably applies to the rest of them, too."
He says the format of those lessons — once a week for five weeks — has some real advantages compared to, for instance, five days in a row.
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"We can work on some particular skill on one Saturday and they have all week to practice and when they come back, we can polish it and go on to the next thing," he says.
His style has proven a winner in that program. He likes to keep his groups to about seven skiers, just enough to fill a gondola car. He had twice that request to be in his group last winter, however, more than he could comfortably instruct at one time. So, he managed to split half the class into a Sunday program.
Shevlin, 70, says he's not sure when he'll retire, though he doesn't plan on instructing when he's 80 years old.
"I'll stop when it's no longer fun," he says. "I told myself a few years ago that I'd retire when I turned 70, but these last few years I've gotten really involved with a lot of locals and have been having more and more fun. As long as it’s fun for me and my students are enjoying it, I'll keep doing it."