Schweitzer Ski Resort
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Instructor Profiles

Meet some of our instructors!

To reserve a spot with one of our instructors please contact us with your request at or 800-831-8810 ext 2374.

Ursula Graef 

If "fun" and "learning" go together in your mind, then you will enjoy her coaching. Ursula has been a ski instructor for 20 years. She began teaching at Mammoth Mountain in California. The fall of 1991 was her first season at Schweitzer, and she is still here! She is very enthusiastic about continuing her learning so she can share it with you!!

The Facts:
Years teaching: Over 20 
Certification: Level 3 Alpine
Can teach: ski, telemark 
Specialty: all mountain adventure

Spencer Huender 

If it slides on snow, Spencer can teach it. All ages, all abilities, all disciplines. Not only is Spencer one of our most requested instructors for skiing he is also trained to handle adaptive skiing equipment. When Spencer isn’t teaching (which is a rare moment) you can find him charging down his favorite run, Stiles.

The Facts:
Years teaching: 14 
Certification: Former Level 2 Alpine & Level 1 Snowboard
Can teach: ski, snowboard, tele, cross country, adaptive
Specialty: adaptive bi-ski and outriggers

Mary Jo Knowles 

Are you looking for an instructor who has a nurturing demeanor. Well Mary Jo is your gal. She truly enjoys working with women to further their enjoyment of skiing whether they are new to the sport or interested in pursuing advanced skills. She takes the time to understand exactly what you need and any concerns you have about the day.  Her favorite part of a lesson is seeing the grin of success on each students face.

The Facts:
Years teaching: 20
Certification: Level 3 Alpine
Can teach:  Alpine & XC Classic
Specialty: women of all abilities

Larry Keister 

Larry Keister is one of our most sought after instructors from the more “mature” clientele. Larry will quickly have you mastering the skills needed to enjoy skiing. In a previous life he was a big wig in the military and now he works closely with our Nice Turns program, but with some advanced notice is also available for private lessons.

The Facts:
Years teaching: Over 25
Certification: Level 3 Alpine, Advanced Childrens Educator, Level 1 Cross Country, Senior Specialist
Can teach: ski, cross country
Specialty: adults, seniors

Susanne Grutzner 

Although Susanne claims to be a snowboarder we have spotted her occasionally on skis. Her teaching focus is to promote good riding skills and ultimately out ride the boys. In advanced lessons she likes to tear up K-Macs or cruise Cathedral on the backside. Oh, and good luck finding her on a powder day! We highly recommend reservations if Suzanne sounds like the perfect match.

The Facts:
Years teaching: 11 
Certification: Level 2 Snowboard, Level 1 Alpine, Level 1 Telemark, Freestyle 1
Can teach: snowboard, ski, Telemark
Specialty: Susanne can do it all.

Tom Bry 

Tom is an incredibly talented all mountain skier. If you are looking for the next step in your skiing skills, give Tom a chance to take you there. Steeps? Deeps? Pure Carve? Moguls? Racing? Powder? Yeah, he can help you with that. Tom's endless reserve of enthusiasm for mountain adventure will surely rub off on you.

The Facts:
Years teaching: Over 20
Certification: Former Level 3 Alpine & Level 1 Telemark
Can teach: ski
Specialty: taking experienced skiers to the next level

Tina Sundquist 

Tina is a very patient person who understands the fears of her students. She is also great at encouraging her students and putting them at ease. Her sense of humor and enthusiasm for winter sports is catching and her classes are set up for success.  Tina loves to ski E chute, Kohli Big Timber, and Snag Line. Her tip is; "think about other activities you do in your life and incorporate these in your skiing. Have fun and enjoy every stage of skiing you are at. Hire a coach and truly enjoy your choice of snow sports."

The Facts:
Years teaching: Over 25 
Certification: Alpine Level 2, Telemark Level 1
Can teach: Alpine, XC, and Telemark;
Specialty: Patience

Jim Zimmerman

Jim's grandparents are of Norwegian descent and started him skiing at the early age of 2. Before calling Schweitzer his home, Jim taught at Mammoth, Mt. Baldy and the Sierra Tahoe area. When not teaching he can be found playing in his favorite powder stash and carving the steeps. Jim's favorite run is Pucci's Chute. Kids love Jim and his high energy, fun nature.

The Facts:
Years teaching: 15+
Certification: Alpine 2
Can teach: Alpine
Specialty: Advancing from a wedge to parallel skiing and moguls 

Bob Stiger

Bob enjoys skiing and is grateful for the opportunity to share that love. All skiing is fun, both alpine and Nordic. Nordic is a wonderful way to stay in shape and provides an excellent opportunity to get "out-of-doors" in the winter months. That said, alpine skiing at Schweitzer Mountain is pure enjoyment & fun. Fresh corduroy is a blast, but for a real "e-ticket" nothing beats skiing off piste in the trees or on a steep run. Come see Bob where he loves to be... as long as it is on the mountain in the winter!

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 38
Disciplines: Alpine, XC skate, XC classic
Certifications: Apline Level 2, Nordic Level 1, Children's Specialist Level 2

Debra Rawuka

Debra has a deep love of all types of skiing.  You can find her rockin' the bumps on Heather's Run or gliding quietly out on the cross country ski trails.  She is a truly gifted women's instructor with a balance of enthusiasm and nurturing to help the client become the skier they've always wanted to be.  From beginner kids to expert adults, Debra can improve  the client's skiing ability while enabling them to enjoy the entire skiing experience.  Prior to coming to Schweitzer, she taught at several resorts including Heavenly Valley, California and Mt. Ashland, Oregon.  If you want to have fun and learn in a relaxed, friendly lesson, be sure to make a reservation with Debra. 

Richard Barrett

After more than 30 years of skiing passion and 12 years as a professional alpine instructor, Richard’s expertise is in what he calls “the foundational movements of skiing, which are the essential skills on which all others are built”. Whether beginner or expert, young or old, learning fundamental skills such as moving into the fall line and maintaining ski to snow contact, will improve your skiing and raise your enjoyment of this fabulous life-long sport.

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 13
Certification: Professional Ski Instructors of America Alpine Level 2
Specialty: Getting to the next level!

Kate Mansur

With a bright smile and cheerful encouragement, Kate Mansur is ready to help you improve your skiing or snowboarding. Kate is an experienced instructor specializing in children of all levels. Get your child off to a great start with proper skill development in a fun and safe environment. Or take their skiing or riding to the next level!  She is an experienced Adaptive Instructor for Aspergers and Autistic children and is ready to help your child have a successful day on snow. Kate habla español también!

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 6 
Disciplines: Alpine Ski and Snowboard
Certifications: Level 2 Alpine
Specialty: Children and Adaptive (Aspergers and Autism)

Pat Murphy

Skiing is something that everybody can enjoy; young, old, or somewhere in between. With proper coaching you can learn the joy of alpine skiing. I’d like to share my passion for skiing technically and laying down huge “Cadillac” turns anywhere on Schweitzer Mountain! I’ll put a smile on your face.

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 7
Disciplines: Alpine
Certifications: PSIA Alpine Level 2 and USSA Coach
Specialty: Technical skills, race training

Matt Smart

Matt enjoys teaching all levels and all ages, but likes any challenge, like confidence building after a bad fall or experience. He is very patient with new riders who want to learn but can't get past a problem or a trouble spot. He likes taking a good rider and making them into a great rider. He also enjoys teaching bumps and steeps

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 6 
Disciplines: Alpine Ski and Snowboard
Certifications: Level 1 Alpine, Level 2 Snowboard
Specialty: Adults, confidence building, smooth movements

Rick Certano

Ricks says, "Every run is a different ride! Powder, trees, groomers, slicing & dicing!" He even enjoys Musical Chairs because it's a great place for a warm-up/tune-up!! The beauty of skiing is that no two days are ever alike! Snow, temperature, light & speed are all variables that require us to adjust! It's a fun challenge that's always there for you to enjoy!!

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 12 
Disciplines: Alpine 
Certifications: Alpine Level 3 
Specialty: Customer needs focus! 50 years in ski industry. Life long, from age 3, student of the sport!

Galen May

Galen grew up at Schweitzer so it was only right for her to start as a Junior Ski instructor at the age of 14! Since then she has only improved as an instructor. She enjoys teaching children to love the mountain and the amazing sport of skiing. She strives to make skiing fun and exciting while continuing to learn.

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 3 
Disciplines: Alpine, XC Classic
Certifications: Alpine Level 1 
Specialty: I am an energetic person who is great with kids!

Jim Nendel

Jim has coached skiing, football, and many other sports in both the US and internationally. He has a Ph.D. in kinesiology and is able to bring that discipline into practical movement on the mountain. He loves working with kids, and is actually still a kid at heart, but he has the ability to work with all ages of people. A former professional football player, he can take the lessons learned through competiting at the higest levels and use them to develop confidence and skill. 

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 22 
Disciplines: Alpine
Certifications: Alpine Level 2

Natalie Miller

Natalie grew up skiing the "frozen granular" slopes of Vermont; after discovering western powder in the 1980s, she's never looked back! A Schweitzer "regular" since 2001, Natalie decided to share her love of skiing by becoming an instructor. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned skier looking to improve your skills, Natalie can help. She will demystify the  technical aspects of skiing movements so that you can experience an "aha" moment. 

The Facts: 
Years teaching: 4
Disciplines: Alpine
Certifications: Alpine Level 2
Specialty: Beginners & Intermediates, all ages & genders

To reserve a spot with any of our instructors please contact us with your request at or 800-831-8810 ext 2374.


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