My name is Mark Aiken. I am an award-winning writer and professional ski instructor from Richmond, Vermont where I live on the banks of the Winooski River in the shadow of the Green Mountains with my wife, two kids, two dogs, two cats, and twelve chickens. It's like a second childhood up here.
I am the co-author of Teaching Children Snowsports, a manual published by Professional Ski Instructors of America and the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. That’s right… I co-wrote the book on how to teach kids to ski and ride. I also co-authored Hiking the Green Mountains (GlobePequot Press, FalconGuides) and am hard at work on Hiking Fire Lookouts of New England (also GlobePequot, FalconGuides). I have published hundreds of articles and photographs in local and national magazines including SKI, Backpacker, Trail Runner, and the New York Times. A professional writing career, parenthood, lots of physical activity can be a balancing act. It’s really a lot of fun.
When I’m not writing the next article or hiking to a New England fire lookout, you will find me on a trail running, biking, or skiing. I’m a recreational hockey player who takes more wrist shots than slappers due to the high price of composite hockey sticks. I coach 6-year-old soccer. And I tell the world’s funniest dad jokes – real knee-slappers.
Regarding my "other" job: I teach skiing at Stowe, Vermont, where I have instructed since 2008. I've been an instructor, director, manager, and supervisor in ski schools since 1993 (yikes, I'm old). These days, I teach lessons to all abilities and ages, but my favorites are families on holiday together. I like showing parents terrain that kids love -- terrain that they might not discover without me there to guide them. I am also a member of the PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America) Eastern region educational staff where I coach instructors in how to be better instructors.
Having grown up in Vermont, I lived for a decade in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Bavaria, and Austria – and loved all of them. I have been an environmental educator, ski and ride school director, EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), wilderness guide, whitewater guide, summer camp director, and toilet cleaner at a tech firm. I have enjoyed landing back where I started: in Vermont. It’s wonderful here, let me tell you.
It is a privilege to write and ski for a living, and to ski, hike, run, and explore on the side. And it’s a joy and adventure to grow with my young family. Welcome to my website, blog, and world.
Hiking the Green Mountains by Mark Aiken and Lisa Ballard
Hiking Fire Lookouts New England by Mark Aiken