Niche Knowledge in Action

In most cases, ski instructors are employees of the resort. This factor makes it difficult to find examples of instructors who have carved their niche. Those who succeed, treat their ski teaching as a business, despite their employee status. Bob Barnes is a perfect example.


The physics and biomechanics of skiing fascinates a certain type of student. PSIA Examiner Bob Barnes, author of the Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing, fills this niche. A techno-geek from way back, Barnes loves to create charts that demonstrate the mechanics of different ski skills. Check out theskiing glossary he posted on Epicski. A teacher of teachers, Barnes lead weekly movement analysis sessions in Summit County. Many recreational skiers who take his class end up becoming instructors.

Barnes is a perfect example of the distinction between a niche and a demographic. Both genders, along with a wide range of age groups, comprise his following. They have one thing in common: a deep interest in the science of skiing.

Although some students enjoy the scientific approach, others seek a mind-body connection. Kristen Ulmer satisfies their needs.
As the first woman to descend the Grand Tetons, , and as a former US Ski Team mogul specialist, Kristen Ulmer knows a lot about mental perseverance. She combined her athletic history with her background in Zen and movement based psychological work and created Ski To Live.
The program, which she describes as Mindset Sports Coaching, blends ski training with mental and spiritual methodology. Ulmer is an example of an instructor who has created a niche, and turned it into a business. She works for herself, not the resorts.

Examples From Outside the Field

What if you’re a Level 2 instructor, who lacks the credentials of Bob Barnes of Kristen Ulmer. Can you still create a profitable niche. Of course you can. Let’s look outside the ski industry for an example.
Wendy Wolf teaches a special type of yoga class in Westchester, New York. although she has not spent money on the expensive, advanced level certifications, her expertise lies is a different area. Movement Analysis. As a Certified Movement Analyst, Wendy had gallons of credibility juice. Unfortunately, she was serving it to the wrong tables. She worked at a local health club, whose members did not quite understand what her class was about. Although she notified her Facebook friends about her class schedule, many of them lived nowhere near Westchester!

Everything changed when she created a separateFacebook Page for her Yoga Practice.
The title of her page: Wendy Wolf, Gentle Yoga & Movement, Northern Westchester & Putnam County, helped people find her by name and location. She also linked to articles that described her specialized type of training.

Within a few days of putting up her new Facebook Page, she received a request for a private lesson.

The Takeaway: Even if you have not yet obtained full certification, you probably have other credentials to bring to the table. These credentials are the base ingredients of your niche. Let these examples inspire you to create your own niche market.

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