• Women skiers, this is the place for you -- an online community without the male-orientation you'll find in conventional ski magazines and internet ski forums. At TheSkiDiva.com, you can connect with other women to talk about skiing in a way that you can relate to, about things that you find of interest. Be sure to join our community to participate (women only, please!). Registration is fast and simple. Just be sure to add webmaster@theskidiva.com to your address book so your registration activation emails won't be routed as spam. And please give careful consideration to your user name -- it will not be changed once your registration is confirmed.

Glen Plake Revives Down Home Ski Tour

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#1
As someone who loves small community ski areas, I think this is fabulous:

(From FirstTracksOnline)

Lake Tahoe, CA – Longtime Elan Skis athlete and ski industry legend, Glen Plake, is officially bringing the Down Home Tour back to small ski areas across the U.S. this 2018-19 winter season.

Unlike other tours, the Glen Plake Down Home Tour is intentionally unplanned. There is no set schedule or official way to sign up. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time.

Hosted by Plake and his wife Kimberly out of their 38-foot custom Freightliner rig, the tour route is set on a whim depending on weather and ski conditions. Their itinerary is loosely planned to travel through the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic to New England from mid-December 2018 through January 2019, parking their custom rig in ski area parking lots, skiing with locals and celebrating good times on snow.

Glen Plake's Down Home Tour returns to small ski areas across the US in 2018-19. (photo: Elan Skis)
Glen Plake’s Down Home Tour returns to small ski areas across the US in 2018-19. (photo: Elan Skis)
The Plakes started the Down Home Tour in 1991 where they visited 50 ski areas in 33 states and logged 13,000 miles in 68 days. Now 27 years later, they don’t have any goals to achieve the same number of stops or distance, but the spirit of the tour will remain the same. Unlike the completely unannounced stops in the 1990’s, Plake has adopted modern day social media and will be randomly updating his social media @glenplake during the Down Home Tour this winter. In addition, Elan will be closely following and posting updates from Plake on their @elanskis social media channels to inspire locals to get out and ski with Glen.

“Glen is one of the best ambassadors skiing has ever had,” says Elan’s Vice President of Global Marketing, Jeff Mechura. “He has learned how to connect with every single person he meets. That’s what makes the Down Home Tour important—it gets to the heart of skiing, having fun with friends and family on the mountain. Plake is the number one spokesperson of having a good time.”
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#2
This recent article includes a picture of the rig. Midwest and mid-Atlantic . . . bet that makes Peak Resorts happy. Elan is the ski company that gives away skis based on a beginner package deal at several ski areas. Apparently they stopped in WV last winter.

Hi, I'm Glen

" . . .
Sue Haywood skied with him and a handful of friends last winter at Canaan Valley, West Virginia, on a blustery March day with what little snow the resort had melting fast. “Anyone would be intimidated,” she says, by his reputation, by his image, “but once he lets out one of those cackles, you know you are going to have a good time.” It turned into a virtual Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) clinic, where he taught them to find the balance point of the ski and to maximize glide. “All we are doing is sliding on snow,” he told them. “This is fun.”

It’s the sort of attitude that wins Plake a lot of fans. Like the time at Ski Liberty, Pennsylvania, a few years ago, when a guy showed up with a pink jacket with Plake’s signature on it from 1991, which Plake promptly signed again. Or the shrine of signed Plake posters at Sirriani’s in Canaan Valley, where they also have a menu item called Glen Plake’s Extreme Garlic Chips, created at Plake’s suggestion. Or the 300 or so people who showed up at Kissing Bridge in Buffalo, New York to celebrate Glen Plake Day, with an official proclamation by the Buffalo mayor. “The mayor didn’t even know how to ski,” says Wozer. “Glen’s reputation goes so deep, a bunch of people must have told him he had to do it.”
. . ."
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#3
Didn't know Glen Plake when thru the PSIA certification process. He's an Examiner now. The article includes a clip about how he ended up in the current Warren Miller film, Timeless. Here's what he said about PSIA Level 3 instructors: "Here’s what a lot of people don’t understand: A Level 3 certification means that you’re a wonderful instructor—it doesn’t mean that you’re the best skier on the hill. At the same time, some Level 3 instructors are really, really, really good skiers."

Nov. 11, 2019, Ski Mag
The Metamorphosis of Glen Plake

 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#4
I ran into him last year at Pico during his Down Home Tour, and I made a fool of myself being a such a fangirl. He truly is timeless, and sooooo classy for not brushing me off.

Here's a piece I did about his Down Home Tour in my blog, subsequent to my run in with him. (BTW, there's also a picture of the two of us. You can what an idiot I was by the stupid expression on my face).
 

badger

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
I am still waiting for him to come to Arizona Snowbowl. His mother lives not far from me and if he comes to see her.................
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
He's a PSIA examiner now? Wow. Does that mean he actually conducts PSIA certification exams? Talk about getting intimidated during an exam; if he were my examiner I'd surely freeze up. I wonder which part of the country he's located in.

It usually takes people a long time to train with PSIA to get to that level. Did he go through the normal process? He'd probably ace all parts of it.

But really, I'm surprised that he wants to get this involved with PSIA. What's his ultimate goal I wonder. I'm glad he's working his way into the organization. It can use alternative approaches, aka some new blood. Go Glen!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
#7
It usually takes people a long time to train with PSIA to get to that level. Did he go through the normal process? He'd probably ace all parts of it.
From the article:
"NOW: I took my PSIA Level 1 certification at Breckenridge in 2011 with 250 new hires. I’ll be very honest: I was ready to call the examiners out. And yet, as I moved through the process, there was nothing I could call them out on. I was like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense’ ... ‘OK, interesting,’ … ‘Yeah, can’t argue with that.’ So, I felt good about the whole process, and started thinking about Level 2 and 3, which turned out to be a little more involved. But I was never given a hall pass through the process. If anything, examiners expected me to be better than I was. That said, I went on to get my Level 2 and 3, and now I’m an official PSIA examiner."
 
#9
He's a PSIA examiner now? Wow. Does that mean he actually conducts PSIA certification exams? Talk about getting intimidated during an exam; if he were my examiner I'd surely freeze up. I wonder which part of the country he's located in.

It usually takes people a long time to train with PSIA to get to that level. Did he go through the normal process? He'd probably ace all parts of it.

But really, I'm surprised that he wants to get this involved with PSIA. What's his ultimate goal I wonder. I'm glad he's working his way into the organization. It can use alternative approaches, aka some new blood. Go Glen!
Given that he is the #1 Ski Ambassador and given his love for the sport and getting people involved, it honestly does not surprise me. I agree, I am sure he brings a new look and new energy to the process! Love Mr. Plake.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Being an examiner means he conducts exams. Examiners have to be willing to fail lots of instructor hopefuls, because ... well, because that's what happens. Too many candidates show up unprepared to do the tasks as required. The examiner, with an acolyte, stands on the side of the trail and grades skiers as they come down doing one required task after another. Yes, they demo and explain first, but most of the exam involves the examiners standing and grading. And whispering to their understudy.

Examiners say very little while doing this grading; they don't let you know how you are doing until the whole exam is done. Around 85% fail those skiing exams across the nation. The revelation of who passed and who failed is a big deal, and it happens in public at the end of the last exam day. It's a big public event. Disappointment invades the room, since most fail. It's ugly.

I've seen angry instructors screaming into the face of an examiner after failing, ready to punch them. I can't imagine it's much fun to be an examiner; it's a job. And I have a hard time imagining Glen Plake failing people. He smiles and laughs too much.

I wonder if he's an examiner in title only. After listening to that video, I also wonder if his reason to go this route within PSIA is to gain a platform from which to exert influence on how the organization shapes its education program.
 
#11
I wonder if he's an examiner in title only. After listening to that video, I also wonder if his reason to go this route within PSIA is to gain a platform from which to exert influence on how the organization shapes its education program.
Glen Plake is in the Western Division. Based on my reading about PSIA-E and the western Divisions, I think perhaps what you've experienced in the east is not necessarily replicated in the Rockies. Implying that Plake did the work to toward certification for show seems unfounded.

https://www.thesnowpros.org/news/id/2424/member-spotlight-northern-rocky-mountains-brenna-kelleher
The Anxiety that Comes with an Audience
"Last winter, I [PSIA-AASI National Team Member Brenna Kelleher] was lucky enough to film a segment for Warren Miller Entertainment’s “Timeless” film with A.J. Oliver (Alpine Level III) and Glen Plake (renowned freeskier, Alpine Level III instructor, and member of Western Division’s Education Staff). I am SO grateful for the opportunity and amazing experience. Our filming location was Mustang Powder, a cat-skiing lodge in British Columbia. Although we were not in steep, exposed terrain – we skied mostly in the trees – the stakes were still high.
. . .
Glen was a great mentor. He assessed lines I could ski, teaching me how to look at and remember them. His support gave me the confidence to go – helping take away the feelings of self-judgment and the future judgment of others.
. . ."
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
....Implying that Plake did the work to toward certification for show seems unfounded.
...."
I never, ever, thought that. I figured he wants to have an influence on how PSIA shapes its educational program. I thought I wrote that, so sorry for not communicating well.

I never ever would imply, that Glen Plake does anything for "show." He appears to be totally transparent and without guile in all his dealings with the public. I admire his transparency.

I worry for his sanity if he starts actually conducting exams. He might have lesser skiers shouting angrily at him when he has to fail them because that's what they deserve. That is a horrid thought.

But hey, I'm so glad he's a part of PSIA. I look forward to his influence on the people at the top, if it gets some traction. I like what he says about teaching and learning. It sure worked for him.
 
Last edited:
#13
I never thought that. I figured he wants to have an influence on how PSIA shapes its educational program. I haven't implied, and never ever would imply, that Glen Plake does anything for "show." He appears to be totally transparent and honest in all his dealings with the public. I admire him.

I worry for his sanity if he starts actually conducting exams. He might have lesser skiers shouting angrily at him when he has to fail them because that's what they deserve. That is a horrid thought.

But hey, I'm so glad he's a part of PSIA. I look forward to his influence on the people at the top, if it gets some traction. I like what he says about teaching.
Sorry, misunderstood where you were coming from.

My North Country School schoolmate who was an Examiner based in Taos for a while noted that it's a tough job. He's still an instructor at TSV for private and group lessons but moved into working mostly with Adaptive programs locally and nationally.
 

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
On point... Glen says in an interview linked above these things quoted below about ski instruction. It's the part I've bolded that leads me to believe he's interested in redirecting the way PSIA does things. Granted, I'm reading between the lines.

"I was a spokesperson for Learn a Snowsports Month and was asked on the "Today Show" to teach anchor Hoda Kotb, a first-time skier, to ski. We were on the ski lift and she asked me, 'What happens when we get to the top here?' And I thought, 'Interesting question, I have no idea.' I ended up literally carrying this woman around the ski area—that was my teaching capacity at the time. And I thought, anyone who sees this is going to think this guy has no idea what he’s doing. That night, I made a call to PSIA.

"as I moved through the process, there was nothing I could call them out on. I was like, ‘Yeah, that makes sense’ ... ‘OK, interesting,’ … ‘Yeah, can’t argue with that.’ So, I felt good about the whole process, and started thinking about Level 2 and 3, which turned out to be a little more involved. But I was never given a hall pass through the process. If anything, examiners expected me to be better than I was. That said, I went on to get my Level 2 and 3, and now I’m an official PSIA examiner.

"I feel that ski school should teach people some general backcountry technique—not snow safety, not avalanche awareness, not mountain sense, but just teach people how to use the equipment.

"We’re putting a lot of emphasis not on the everyday aspects of the sport, and I think we need to rediscover why we ski."
 
Last edited:

liquidfeet

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
Sorry, misunderstood where you were coming from.

My North Country School schoolmate who was an Examiner based in Taos for a while noted that it's a tough job. He's still an instructor at TSV for private and group lessons but moved into working mostly with Adaptive programs locally and nationally.
Smart guy. I'd never want to be an examiner in today's instructional ski culture. The people who fail often have a legitimate reason to be angry. PSIA does not prepare them adequately. The educational program is too is too loosey-goosey, IMNSHO.
 
Last edited:
#16
Glen says in an interview linked above these things quoted below about ski instruction.
Learned a little more about Glen's process for have the gold pin after passing the PSIA Level 3 exams (skiing, teaching). It took a couple of years and he worked with more than one PSIA Division. That's was an exception to accommodate his travel schedule. He did the Level 1 exam at Breck during early season with a couple hundred others, Level 2 in the PacNW, and his L3 exams were split. He did the L3 Ski Exam at Mammoth and then passed the L3 Teach Exam at Hunter.

Listening to him tell the story of why he decided to ask what it would take to become a "full-cert" PSIA instructor is very funny. It was an outcome of being a spokesperson for the Learn To Ski Month program that was around for a while. Starts around the 14-min mark.

Podcast interview Dec 2016, PSIA certification comments 14:15-18:15
http://www.thepowellmovement.com/sh...21/sponsored-episode-15-glen-plake-part-three
 

Staff online

Members Online