Steve Hill discusses angulation with ski instructors during a clinic. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROBB ADAMS

Winter Big Sky resident Steve Hill makes ski instructor education accessible

Winter Big Sky resident Steve Hill makes ski instructor education accessible

The seed for what is now called the 6 Series with the Montana Ski Area Association (MSAA) was technically planted at Mahogany Ridge in the 90s, when Steve Hill was sitting around with other Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) PSIA Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA).

He said they should all get a Winnebago and travel around to remote ski areas to provide education to PSIA members – targeting the young kids starting off as instructors with little cash in their pockets to travel for training.

The good will tour, as he called it, never technically happened, but they did regularly bs about it. Still, those early discussions served as the foundation for the program he now guides.

In the early 2000s he launched a collaboration between Whitefish Mountain ski instructors and Blacktail Mountain ski instructors, who were part of different associations. The exchange of information was beneficial for all involved, he explained, because they had different ways of achieving their primary goal – helping people enjoy the mountain. Clinics happened every Monday with free lift tickets to help further education.

“We had a combination of NW examiners and an NRM examiner willing to swap information between the two hills,” he said and explained that one division looks at things one way and the other another way, but all are aiming toward the national standard.

It is Hill’s brainchild that has been molded over the years as more people have believed in the concept and come on-board.

Jessi Spencer, who runs Blacktail Mountian Ski Area but is in charge of the MSAA education funds or sponsorships has been instrumental.

“She has really helped make this happen for the last five years,” he said. “When we were doing it just with myself and Pete Jacobson, ski tickets were free, we weren’t involved with NRM so we didn’t have ed credits. It was more to help people prep for their exams.”

Now that MSAA is involved, participants right now are being charged $30 for a one-day clinic with free lift tickets included.

Ultimately, it all began with the question: “How do we support our membership?”

Hill recently traveled to four different remote ski areas over the last two weeks, giving up significant income from his more lucrative ski instructor position in Big Sky.

“I don’t care about the money,” he said. “I care about the sport.”

He means it, too – with 44 years in the industry he also has his own business teaching skiing fundamentals and offering custom clinics.

More information can be found at or by emailing Hill at

More Information

Lone Peak Lookout

Cori Koenig, editor:
Susanne Hill, billing:
Erin Leonard, legal ads:
Ad orders, inserts, classifieds:
Comment Here