Heidi Hatch Cross Country Instructor Awardee David Bye


We at Ignite are elated that one of our own, David Bye, has won the Heidi Hatch Cross-Country Extraordiaier Instructor Award and we got a hold of him to hear more about his story.

David Bye
David Bye, Heidi Hatch Cross Country Instructor Awardee

This is a little bit awkward. I didn’t learn of the award until Monday of this week, when Finn told me I had won it, and that he had picked it up for me. I still have not seen the award itself. To say the least, I was surprised by the news.

The selection was made by the staff of the Nordic program–we were each asked to pick someone and then explain why we made that choice. So I don’t know whether I got the most votes or had the best reasons, or some combination of both.

I worked hard (as all Nordic instructors do) during the clinic. I was able to ski with the fastest student skiers, and I had some wonderful students. I think a part of the reason I was selected is that I was the oldest instructor there, and some of the others saw me as a role model for denying aging.

Upon hearing I won, I had a wide array of feelings. After I recovered from the initial surprise, I felt proud and a little grandiose. After all, these were instructors from all over the United States, many of whom have attended the WSC for 15 years or more, and they selected me.

Then I began to feel like an imposter–could this all be a bad joke? How could I have won? I wondered if the other Ignite instructors would be put off by my winning. How could he have won?

Finally I became more comfortable with winning the award. I did work hard, and I did good work. I made friends with the other instructors (it was my second year, and many of the instructors I already knew), and helped out as much as I could. “And, doggone it, people like me.” Now I feel gratified by having won the award.

When I started with Ignite, I had rather rudimentary skiing skills and teaching skills, and little, if any, confidence in either. I have learned cross-country skiing skills from Ignite instructors and from one PSIA clinic I took (encouraged by Ignite). From working with many different Ignite students and observing other Ignite instructors, I have learned to meet students where they are, assess their abilities and their aims, and work to assure they stay safe, have fun, and learn a little. I am much more comfortable now in meeting new students and having the confidence to believe I can teach them something.

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2 replies added

  1. Susan April 21, 2015

    Congratulations, David. I appreciate your openness and lack of pretension. I bet these qualities contributed to your winning the award-along with being able to keep up with speedy skiers half your age!

  2. Chris Sydoriak April 25, 2015

    Way to go, David! And good job with the write-up! I appreciate your openness with your process.

    And, yes, you DO deserve the award!

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