Portillo Ski Instructors Portillo Ski Instructors

Portillo Ski Instructors

Learn with Portillo’s Ski Pros

Instructores internacionales de esquí

Portillo is a special place where people from all over the world gather to enjoy fine amenities and spend their days sliding around on spectacular terrain with glorious snow. This combination also attracts ski instructors from around the world who choose to ply their craft on the slopes of Portillo. Confidence, technique and experience combine to make a truly fantastic day on the mountain. Regardless of your age or skill level, there’s no better way to discover the hidden secrets of Portillo than participating in the Portillo Ski & Snowboard School.

Portillo’s Ski School Director
Robin Barnes
As with her predecessors, Barnes has the experience and credentials to fill this prestigious role. Barnes has more than 20 years of teaching and training experience. She is member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) National Alpine Demonstration Team, a PSIA-Western Division Examiner, and a PSIA Level III instructor. Barnes has been a Heavenly Mountain Resort Instructor and Staff Trainer since 1989. Ski Magazine has recognized her twice as a Top 100 instructor as well as a member of the Ski Magazine Test Team.

International Ski Instructors.

Multi-lingual ski pros to suit guests of all ages and levels provide the ultimate Portillo ski experience. Their knowledge of techniques, terrain and local insights will elevate your vacation. Join them for an hour or a week for the best time on snow and off.
Heidi Knaus – Employee of the year 2014
Heidi is Portillo’s most experienced and legendary ski instructor of all time. Not only is she ripping it up on & off piste, but she will also make you sweat in the yoga room after your full day of skiing. If you want to learn how to ski “Garganta” while playing the accordeon or simply how to dance on the bar top in high-heels until way past mid-night you want to make sure to book her for a lesson – the ultimate Portillo experience! European Winter: Independent Ski Instructor – St. Moritz, Switzerland
Igor Sedmak
Igor’s skiing career started early as a racing aspirant in Slovenia, and he later became a ski instructor and race coach. When he joined Portillo’s ski school in 1995, he had already taught at many famous ski resorts in Europe. With his great experience and connections to the ski industry he is a treasure trove of ski knowledge and he is more than capable of delivering invaluable lessons. Whether you want to improve your race technique or learn more about tuning skis, he is the person to ask for. European Winter: Swiss Ski School St. Moritz, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel, Switzerland
Omar Jeldrez
Omar, better known as Choclo, grew up in the nearby town of San Esteban and has been working at Portillo since 1988. After becoming a ski instructor he spend many northern hemisphere winters in Aspen, Colorado, before settling for Andorra 10 years ago. There are few people that know Portillo better than him, so if you want to learn more about the local history, cultural background and the surrounding mountains, come ski with Choclo – he might even teach you how to dance Queca. European Winter: Escola de Ski Grandvalira – Pas de la Casa, Andorra
James Winfield
James is originally from the UK but has been travelling the world skiing for over 10 years, working full time as an instructor for 20 winters. He has been teaching in Portillo since 2011 and keeps coming back for the amazing terrain and unique location. James has a diverse skiing skill set with experience competing in freestyle, freeride, skiercross and alpine racing. Whatever your goals for your skiing or your holiday in Portillo are, he can help you achieve them.
Simon Marsh
Simon has worked as a Competition Coach for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail for over 10 years working with Young athletes to improve not only racing skills and results but also improve on important fundamentals so as to develop solid skiing skills. He has also coached a local high school team in Vail, leading the team to two State titles in Colorado. He is a USSA Certified Coach Level 300 and a fully certified coach/examiner for PSIA. He has worked with teams and camps in Australia, Chile, and Mt. Hood, Oregon
Manuela Cappellini
Manuela was born just outside St. Moritz, one of the most prestigious winter sports places in the world. After years of teaching skiing in Japan and Australia, she is now teaching in Corvatsch and here in Portillo. Both places are famous for ski racing and freeriding which Manu is very passionate about. She will work with you to acquire the skills you’ll need and put you at ease in any situation, which also makes her an excellent adaptive instructor. European Winter: Swiss Ski School Corvatsch – Corvatsch, Switzerland
Jim Sorbé
Jim grew up skiing in the French Pyrenées and was part of a race ski club during his childhood, before moving to Val d’Isère to work as a full-time ski instructor. After years of traveling the world with his skis , he keeps coming back to Portillo for its incredible freeride terrain. If you are looking to improve your off-piste and randonée skills or hitting the race course, he’s the instructor to ask for. European Winter: Independent Ski Instructor – Val d’Isere, France
Katie White «Snow»
Katie grew up in the United States where she spent many years skiing and snowboarding. She has been instructing at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana for the last four winters and has been in Portillo for three seasons. She has experience teaching all levels and ages of skiers including young children. She loves sharing her passion for winter sports and can help you achieve your skiing or snowboarding.
Anne Jehn
Anne is from Germany and grew up skiing all over the Alps with her family. After three years of teaching on the US East Coast, she joined Portillo’s ski school in 2015 to inspire young and old skiers all year round. Her passion for skiing and teaching is ever-present in her classes, which are filled with great feedback, lots of mileage, fun and laughter. She is constantly working on creating new challenges and adventures. So, if you are looking to improve your skiing or telemark skills and want to have a great time in Portillo, come join her for a lesson. European Winter: Alpine Sports Andermatt – Andermatt, Switzerland
Nicolaj Nissen
39 years old. From Copenhagen, Denmark. Airforce First Lieutenant and Ski/snowboard Instructor. National Examiner and InterSki 2015 delegation member. Worked in Val thorens, St.Anton, Whistler, Cardrona, Park City, and 3 winters in Portillo. “If we have fun, we learn more”
Nena Sepulveda
Nena is from Chile and has been teaching skiing for 32 years in Chile, Europe and the United States. She studied preschool education at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and has the highest instructor certification. She also has experience training and examining instructors for ENISCHAG and belonged to the Chilean Demonstration team. Her teaching style is unique, with a focus on empathy and patience and loves sharing her passion with children and adults from all skiing levels.
María Eugenia Blanco
Since, ’88 I’ve been working as a physical education teacher with a focus on several sports in both schools and sports clubs. After ’96, I began to teach skiing, working double seasons in Baqueira-Beret, Spain and in Portillo, Chile. I have always been dedicated to the teaching of children since I consider this to be the most important stage and I enjoy being responsible for providing them with a good experience learning by playing, so that they will grow loving this sport.
Alex Davenport
Born in Arizona, Alex spent his teenage years growing up in Arequipa, Peru. Alex learned to ski in the U.S. desert southwest at Taos, New Mexico and after a short military career, found his calling in teaching adaptive snow sports at The Arizona Snowbowl in Flagstaff, Arizona. He is a fully certified PSIA adaptive instructor and a Children’s Specialist. Alex loves teaching children through creative learning environments and keeping his students moving. When he isn’t skiing, he can be found on a mountain bike trail or searching for his golf ball on the links.
Isabella Fernandes Pimentel da Silva
Brazilian, bachelors in Sports from São Paulo University, graduate student in neuroscience and behaviour at the Catholic UNiversity of Chile (PUC). Isabella has been passionate about sports since she was a child, she has been teaching different sports to children, adults and disabled persons. Teaching skiing for 5 years, she joined the Portillo team in 2018. Besides from loving all sports, her true love is snow and the mountains, with enthusiasm to learn and teach everyone, she is most fond of teaching the little ones.
Philippe D’Anjou
Philippe grew up skiing in Canada and started teaching skiing in 2006. He is a CSIA Level 4 and course conductor. He is as well certified by the Canadian ski coach and ski guide associations. In the North American winter, he works for famous ski resort and heli-ski operations. He enjoys seeing people pushing their limits and accessing new terrains. With a really broad experience in skiing, he will help you have more fun and get better at skiing.
Felipe Vera
Also known as “Pony Vera”, he comes from a renowned family of Chilean skiers. He has been part of the Portillo team for 2 seasons after starting his ski instructing career in 2009 in Andorra. With great enthusiasm, dedication and fun on skis, he is constantly getting a smile from his students. He is also part of the “Andes Magico” foundation, which was born in Portillo years ago and helps introduce people with cognitive and motor disabilities to skiing. Saying: “Practice makes perfect” European Season: Escola d’esquí y snowboard Pal-arinsal, Andorra
Ben De Benedictis
A dedicated educator and snow sports professional Ben hails from the slopes of Vermont and New Hampshire. Ben is currently a physical education teacher as well as a member of the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) Eastern Demo Team. As a member of the Eastern Demo Team Ben is preparing for the PSIA National Demo Team tryout in 2020. Ben has a focus on ski racing but also loves off-piste skiing. As a fully certified instructor and children’s specialist Ben enjoys skiing with people of all ages and abilities.
Alec Blossom
Originally from California, Alec now hones his skills on the often icy slopes of Vermont, USA, where he works as a visiting trainer and private lesson coach. Alec is also a passionate freeride skier and backcountry traveler who is always searching for the best off-piste snow conditions even in the toughest weather cycles. If you are looking for someone to coach the whole family from Corralito to Caracara, you’ve found your guy.
Erik Clark
My name is Erik Clark. This is my sixth season as part of the Portillo ski school. During my northern hemisphere winters I teach at Aspen Snowmass. During my down time between seasons I live in Pichilemu, Chile. Over the past 10 years, I have spent Winters in Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and Chile with this last one always feeling like home. I have been to 12 of the 13 regions of Chile and I love exploring new places in this beautiful country. In Portillo, I enjoy skiing and working with students of all ages but children are who enjoy skiing with the most. I am known to be relaxed, funny and goofy at times, always looking for the next fun adventure. I enjoy geography, history and memory games. Find me and you learn more than just how to ski.
Justin de Vita
Justin grew up in Massachusetts snowboarding all over the northeast of the United States. In college he began teaching out of Steamboat Springs in 2006 and is now based in Aspen Snowmass and he works for the Rocky Mountain American Association of Snowboard Instructors as an examiner of instructor ability and trainer of the schools of Aspen Snowmass. Whether it’s your first time on a board or you want to ride the advanced terrain Portillo has to offer, Justin will help you learn what skills are needed to increase your success in any situation on the mountain, and have as much fun learning as possible! Northern season – Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen Snowmass, Aspen Colorado, United States.
Max Brennan
Max grew up skiing the mountains of Utah where he has spent the last 5 years teaching and coaching at the world renowned Alta Ski Area. At Alta, he teaches both kids and adults of all skill levels and in all conditions and terrain across the mountain. He is a fully certified PSIA Instructor and a Children’s Specialist. This is Max’s first season with the Portillo Ski School and he is very much looking forward to taking your skiing to the next level.
Silvia Zuppelli
I am from Argentina and an English teacher. After working in schools, I trained and became certified in the USA, specializing in children and began teaching skiing. I have worked in Aspen, Argentina and Japan and I currently teach in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Portillo since 2011 doing double seasons. I have also participated in several synchronized skiing competitions and what I enjoy most is being able to share my love for this sport, snow and the mountains.
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Policy for visiting Ski Instructors & Guides
Coaches, guides and instructors wishing to visit Portillo with their personal clients should contact our ski school director, Robin Barnes (robin@skiportillo.com), at least one month prior to arrival to state their intentions. Instructor’s name and guests’ names, dates of stay, and any special requests (hill space, gates, etc.) should be communicated at that time. Each visiting instructor will be charged a fee of $100/day for the length of their stay while working with Portillo guests. If the visiting instructor also arranges to contract, and recommends, one of the Portillo instructors to help with the clients for full day lessons, the fee will be waived. In other words, one full day of visiting instructor fee equals one full day of booking a Portillo instructor. Portillo instructors who are working with the same clients and the clients have requested the Portillo instructor does not warrant waiving the fee. The visiting instructor should present him/herself to the ski school director upon arrival and again prior to departure to ensure that the correct fees are charged. The fee is charged to the instructor and not to the guest and will be charged to the instructor’s room. -Robin Barnes The ski school director or other Portillo management reserve the right to refuse any visiting instructor, coach or guide the right to work with Portillo guests.