Oliver and Davis receive PSIA top honors | SummitDaily.com

Oliver and Davis receive PSIA top honors

K.J. HASCALLSummit Daily News
Summit Daily/K.J. Hascall

BRECKENRIDGE – An obsession with fresh powder under a freshly waxed board or pair of skis is common in Summit County. Thousands of people flock to a Mecca of skiing and snowboarding every year, many of whom are seeking lessons to learn the art of the winter sports or to improve their skills. Luckily for those people, passion meets obsession in two Breckenridge intructors, skier David Oliver and snowboarder Gregg Davis, who will be joining the Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Assocation of Snowboard Instructors national team for the next four years.That means that Oliver is one of the 13 best alpine ski instructors in America and Davis is one of the best six snowboard instructors.Both men are thrilled to be members of the team. “I’m super psyched” Davis said. “It will give me a chance to travel and meet instructors all over the country.”Davis was a member of the team from 2000 to 2004 before taking a hiatus to start a Web site development business. He came to the sport in an unusual fashion: he learned to snowboard by strapping a skateboard deck to his feet and launching himself down a hill at a golf course in Pennsylvania when he was 14. Once he got his hands on a Burton magazine, he was hooked for good.Davis returns to the team after a four year break because, said John Buhler, director of the Breckenridge Ski and Ride School, he has realized how really passionate he is about the sport of snowboarding. He can use his abilities to guide the directions of the sport, as he has done for the last 16 years working at Breck.For Oliver, his membership on the team is “a larger platform to preach the word of freestyle beyond the Rocky Mountains.”The team is the educational arm of PSIA-AASI. PSIA was founed in 1961 and AASI in 1996. Sixty percent of all American ski and snowboard instructors are members of the organization. As national team members, Davis and Oliver will travel the country 40 days each year to resorts that request their services to train instructors.”It’s passion. They genuinely enjoy the passion of the sport,” said Buhler of the two locals. “What’s special to me is they’ve built their careers at Breckenridge.”The excitement for the sports has translated into many good memories over the years for both instructors. For Davis, riding fresh powder seven days in a row in 1995 with a buddy instead of camping in Moab is his idea of paradise.”Any day you’re with a couple good friends and pushing your own envelope it’s always a good, happy feeling,” said Oliver of his collective skiing memories.Oliver has been teaching children’s and freestyle programs at Breck for the last eight years. He holds his PSIA Level III certification and is the first ever freestyle examiner for PSIA-Rocky Mountain. This is also the first time Breckenridge has had an alpine member on the national team.Oliver was born and raised in Taos, N.M., and learned to ski when he was two. In the off-season he is a lift mechanic at Breck. Buhler remarked that Oliver is unique because he has spent the last eight years as a children’s instructor, which is unusual. Most instructors once they become certified want to teach adults.”They’re willing to do anything, they’re not tainted yet,” Oliver said of the 7-13-year-olds he teaches. “I can be goofy with them. If you’re a little bit goofy with adults they look at you weird.”K.J. Hascall can be contacted at (970) 668-4653, or at khascall@summitdaily.com.

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