S2.E01: Understanding the Challenge Zone with Mark Sedgwick and Jeff Marks

Understanding the Challenge Zone with Mark Sedgwick and Jeff Marks

What is adventure and how can we deliver it? These are just two of the topics that Mark Sedgwick and Jeff Marks help us to explore as we talk about adventure and the challenge zone. Mark and Jeff are two of the founders of the newly launched Professional Ski Instructors of Canada (PSIC). The PSIC has delivering “the adventure” at the core of its mission. Mark and Jeff walk through what “the adventure” is and how it relates to our challenge zone.

Key Takeaways

Interesting new Organization: Promoting the delivery of the entire experience, free of judgment, promoting development, recognizing that delivering these experiences requires a diverse skill set that includes both hard and soft skills.

Components of Adventure: Fun, safe, learning were three key components of adventure for the PSIC. To achieve an adventure, it has to be remembered as being enjoyable either in the moment or later, the experience has to fit inside people’s risk tolerance, and people generally want to feel like they have improved in some way.

The Challenge Zone: Tis the performance zone you are in when you are excited and can perform well, without being overwhelmed or bored. When we go above your challenge zone, we can become stressed, and our survival instincts can kick in. When we go below our challenge zone, we can become complacent and lose interest. The level of adversity we are exposed to determines where we are operating.

Adventure Happens in the Challenge Zone: This is where we are stimulated and can try new things without becoming frustrated. To deliver an adventure we need to create an environment here people can operate in their challenge zone.

Guest Links

Professional Ski Instructors of Canada (PSIC): www.psic.pro

Model of the Challenge Zone: https://deliveringadventure.com/the-adventure-zone/

Guest Bio

Mark Sedgwick is a proud product of the ski industry – skiing is his passion, and he is an obsessed student of the sport. His career spans over 35 years in the industry. He is currently President and co-founder of both the Professional ski instructors of Canada (PSIC) and 2XO Ski Consulting, offering his expertise as an industry advisor. He is a recognized and respected global thought leader and author in the ski space.

Mark spent 16 years as a senior executive with Whistler Blackcomb and played a strategic role in all aspects of the resort’s journey and growth as it became the most visited resort on the planet. During his tenure at Whistler Blackcomb, he was involved in the delivery of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO), leading to the establishment of Whistler Blackcomb as a publicly traded company. This series of achievements culminated in Whistler Blackcomb’s significant acquisition by Vail Resorts.

Mark’s ski education spans three pathways: Austrian, Australian, and Canadian. Mark participated at two Interski events, representing Australia in 1995 and Canada as Technical Lead and Coach in 2023.

Like Mark, Jeff has worked extensively in the ski industry. Jeff was born and raised in the Canadian Rockies in Jasper and currently lives in Banff Alberta.

Jeff has had various leadership roles in the ski industry including Director of the Club Ski program in Banff and the Niseko Village Snow School in Japan as well as 12 years as Program Coordinator and National Program Director for the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance.

Jeff has represented Canada at three Interski events including as Head Coach of the Canadian team in March, 2023 in Levi, Finland. 

Now being involved with the Professional Ski Instructors of Canada, Jeff finds himself again in a creative new challenge zone with an opportunity to do his best to support an industry and profession that he loves.  While being a founder of this new entity certainly keeps him busy, he keeps his connection to the core of the industry, teaching skiing for the Snow School at Lake Louise Ski Area.

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