Our Story and Philosophy
Welcome to our World-Wide Adventure Ski School and to our Rock Climbing School on Donner Summit!
The North American Ski Training & Climbing School (NASTC) was founded in 1994 as a unique performance ski school offering multi-day, full immersion and adventure ski training clinics for intermediate through expert skiers taught by members of the PSIA National Demonstration Team and AMGA certified guides. Based in Lake Tahoe, CA, NASTC offers all-mountain free-skiing clinics all over the world. NASTC’s methodology towards ski improvement is based on a holistic approach that addresses fitness, equipment, skiing technique and tactics. The total immersion teaching approach is not a quick fix or band-aid approach. It is a multi-layered process that not only results in better skiing but positively affects the body, mind, and spirit. At NASTC you truly improve your skiing – a full level! And you get to do this at the best resorts and mountain ranges in the world, led by the top instructors in the world, in a group with adventure enthusiasts like yourself who also leave their professional world behind to enjoy these focused clinics.
The dream behind NASTC came from Chris and Jenny Fellows and the late Mike Sodergren. The idea was a total immersion ski school along the lines of the great Austrian and French Academies where students immersed themselves for multiple days. Both Chris and Mike had attended the Austrian “Bundessportheim.” In order to improve, our bodies need to repeat new patterns over and over. This was the antithesis of the “quick-fix” approach. In 1993 while the 3 were supervising and teaching for the Squaw Valley Ski School and climbing the ranks of PSIA, they realized with so much energy being given to beginner skiers that upper-end skiers were left without much guidance in their continued progression.
In 1994 NASTC was founded with 6 courses at 3 ski areas: Donner Ski Ranch, Sugar Bowl, and Whistler. The next year they added Portillo, Chile and Kirkwood, CA. The dream was quickly becoming a reality as intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers flocked to the popular courses led by PSIA Demo Team members. They had succeeded in creating a high-performance ski school where these true “students of the sport” could get the advanced training they sought and have the opportunity to experience greater adventure and excitement at ranges around the world. Mike lived to help plant the seeds, but tragically died with his wife Mariam – another beloved Tahoe ski instructor – in a landslide in Thredbo, Australia in 1997.
In 2002 we founded our rock climbing school as well, with a mission to offer all ages and abilities climbers a fun chance to climb with friends or family on Donner Summit. Donner offers world-class granite, its famous for it. If you talk to avid climbers, Donner Summit is on their to-do list, just like Yosemite. When you join us for an individual or group lesson, we provide all the gear (bring your own if you have it) and meet you up on the rock, ropes hung, guides ready to go. All you bring is sporty clothing, a water bottle, and sunscreen! (Actually we’ll provide the later two if necessary!) Rock climbing is the great equalizer: when you’re up off the ground, whether 5′ or 500′ of air beneath you, you have to be in the moment, you can neither look back nor forward, you have to focus on just what you’re doing…which we find to be a GREAT metaphor for life. Kids are especially natural at climbing, and also this metaphor resonates for them. Sometimes a kid who is not super into team sports really takes to climbing. It allows an alternative to youth competitiveness. Climbing is a great activity for parent/child, colleagues, companies, day-before-wedding activities, or camps.
Back to snow and talking more about ourselves, now in our 24th season NASTC offers 28 courses at 16 world-class resorts worldwide. We draw from the top guns in the world of ski instruction – the teachers of teachers – the PhDs of ski pros. These men and women made a career teaching skiing and helping people truly improve and further enjoy their sport.
When you come to NASTC you don’t just “take a clinic” and leave. You become part of a plan (your personal ski improvement plan) and part of a family. You will find you truly improve and leave with a road towards further improvement. Our trainers strip apart your skill package to its essentials and build you back up with all the right fundamentals of good advanced skiing.
At NASTC you make life-long skiing friends. NASTC students enjoy great camaraderie and stay in touch well after the course ends. Our courses and trips are composed of successful, bright, focused, interesting, discerning individuals who place a high priority on expertise, adventure, and fun. They often end up skiing each other around the world after a NASTC course. And with an 80% return rate, you see many of the same faces at future courses!
We don’t pick our resorts at random. Squaw, Whistler, Snowbird, Portillo, St Anton, Kicking Horse, Niseko, Silverton, Big Sky, Aspen, Chamonix, Sugar Bowl, Alpine Meadows, Crested Butte, Grand Targhee, Zermatt…these are the great mountain ranges and resorts of the world. And they welcome NASTC and you with open arms!