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10 Under 30 :: 2017

Written by April Darrow
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10 under 30 2017 KatieBKatie Brinton
Ski School Supervisor and Instructor, Okemo, Vt.
Age: 27
Hometown: Water Mill, N.Y.
Six-word bio: Work thoughtfully. Engage thoroughly. Play frequently.
Fun fact: Performed in front of royalty when Princess Anne, Princess Royal of the United Kingdom, visited the performance arts building at her high school in Scotland.

Katie Brinton grew up a Ski-Wee at Okemo before she headed to Scotland for boarding school, then on to college at the University of Bristol in England. After a few years working in film in L.A., she headed back to Okemo for a “gap year” as a ski instructor. Four years later, she’s still there and on the rise as a PSIA Alpine Level III certified instructor and trainer.

Why Okemo?
I grew up skiing there. After I got a job as an instructor, I decided that I wanted to do more skiing, not less. I realized the ski industry could be a real-life job. It’s an addictive lifestyle, and a wonderful industry to be a part of. For people who don’t realize how complex the industry is, and how satisfying intellectually and physically it is to teach outside, it’s a real eye opener.

Tell me about getting PSIA certified.
Okemo offers paid training hours throughout the season, an opportunity I could take advantage of being a full-time instructor. I completed my (PSIA) Level I, II, and III—it was a big educational process for me. The opportunity you have as a full time instructor to try things out, challenge yourself, run ideas back and forth, and make changes is really incredible.

What’s an accomplishment you’re proud of?
I’m proud of my level III as a personal achievement. I worked really hard to get that. Training for the skiing and the teaching part was a huge process. I made huge changes to the way I: ski, understand skiing, and teach other people.

How about a challenging situation at work?
Stepping in to supervise people who are your friends can create challenges. Also, when you have a client that you can see getting frustrated. It’s really important to take a step back and make that click for them, so they can come away from the experience with a positive takeaway. You have to take a step beyond your usual tips and tricks to help someone through his/her barrier. I want everyone to come away from the situation and want to ski again.

In 10 years?
I’m not sure it will manifest, but as a ski professional I’d like to continue moving forward with PSIA and eventually be on the development team and become a trainer. I’m also about to start a master’s program in English at Middlebury College (Vt.). It’s a summer residency program for six weeks each summer for four or five years. I’d love to be able to do some writing about skiing, to try to capture some of that joy on paper and bring that to people.

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