FALL FEST GUEST CLINICIAN BIOGRAPHIES
Grant Bishop grew up around the world; Austria, Ecuador, Italy – and he speaks the language of each of those countries. But Jackson Hole will always be his home, he says.
“When I was young in Jackson I always skied at Snow King in town, and it wasn’t until I got a job as a ski photographer for a year, then as an instructor, that I skied Jackson Hole,” said Bishop. “I immediately fell in love with the terrain there and, starting at the age of 21, have been there for the past nine years.”
The Swiss Army Knife
In nine years, Bishop has worked to achieve his Level III alpine and nordic certifications, his Children’s Specialist and Freestyle Specialist certificates (on telemark skis!) and is a telemark examiner for Intermountain Division.
“I’m kind of the Swiss Army knife of the ski school,” said Bishop. “I teach telemark, adaptive, alpine, skate skiing, classic, steep and deep and pretty much any age group or ability you can think of. I am mostly known for teaching telemark, though. Any day I can go free-heel is a good day.”
The importance of versatility
Bishop says that he sets new goals for himself each year, and keeps finding new sources of inspiration. At Intertele in Snowbird, Utah this past April, he was impressed by the different mindsets and national standards presented by the other participating countries.
“Telemarkers in the U.S. don’t necessarily put an emphasis on racing, but that’s extremely important for many of the Europeans,” said Bishop. “I think instructors can often get stuck teaching one thing. I like to mix it up whenever I can, whether it’s crashing gates or heading into the terrain park, the main thing for me is to ski as much as possible.”
What we can do better
Bishop says instructors need to continue to re-emphasize PSIA-AASI’s focus on student-centered teaching. “A lot of times I see people get stuck in a rut by teaching their version of what skiing is rather than focusing on what the student wants,” said Bishop. “Instructors try to stick certain techniques on people, and have them working on things like carving skills when what they really want to do is ski moguls.”
He said the variety of equipment and technology flooding the market right now could and should help re-focus instructors on providing their students with their own individual experience. “Whether it’s park skis, race skis, full rocker, a rocker-camber mix, or even more traditional camber, all of these skis are designed for specific outcomes,” he said. “They should help serve as an indicator of what each student wants.”
As for what remains the constant, “We pretty much get to go out there and ride and smile,” Bishop said. “Overall, it’s a pretty good life we have.”
- Peter Kray (written in 2013)