32 Degrees: PSIA-AASI Queued Up for Interski 2023

This guest column by Interski President and former PSIA-AASI Board Chair Eric Sheckleton appeared in the Fall 2022 issue of 32 Degrees, which you can read in its entirety here.

You’ve probably heard this is an Interski season. However, you wouldn’t be alone if you weren’t sure what that meant. As a member of the AASI Snowboard Team from 1997-2000, I didn’t even know about Interski. Perhaps this commentary can be a crash course and vision of the future.

The Interski Experience

Interski International exists to bring instructors together, working through their nations, in a spirit of friendship and fellowship to share ideas and create relationships that will grow snowsports across the globe. Interski represents all snowsports in more than 32 countries, as well as three organizations that encompass the professional instructors, volunteer instructors, and academics. Held every four years, at various locations around the world, Interski gathers thousands of people to share, learn, and grow. Just in the past decade, the event has come a long way and evolved greatly. PSIA-AASI has been, and will continue to be, at the forefront of this evolution.

The United States was the first nation outside of Europe to host the Interski Congress – in Aspen, Colorado, in 1968. This paved the way for other non-European nations to host later Congresses. Over the years, we’ve shared exciting new concepts with the world and brought new ideas back to be tested here at home. This event gives the PSIA-AASI National Team an opportunity to refine concepts, messages, and presentations, and test them with the world’s top snowsports educators. This helps ensure that the training you receive at regional on-snow clinics and events – as well as Rider Rally and national academies for adaptive, alpine, cross country, and telemark instructors – is on the cutting edge of snowsports education. Our national team and other PSIA-AASI education leaders have done an exceptional job of sharing the experience of Interski through social media, education staff training, on-snow member clinics, and 32 Degrees. This is sure to continue with new energy and ideas coming from the 2023 Interski Congress in Levi, Finland, March 26-31.

Enhanced Information-Sharing

As the new Interski President, and first from the U.S., I’m honored to represent PSIA-AASI and excited for the future of Interski. Experimentation, with a strong desire to improve and evolve, are part of the culture of PSIA-AASI.  This culture is what I hope to bring to Interski. We should not be afraid of big goals, trying new things and learning from our successes and failures in our search to create more lifelong snowsports enthusiasts.

With this mindset, and a 2023 Interski theme that will emphasize the guest experience, we hope this next Congress will advance the event and set a high bar for the future. In partnership with the Finnish National Association of Snowsports Instructors, we’re using the latest technology to create opportunities for the leaders in the specific sports, disciplines, and target groups to get together virtually in the lead-up to the event. This will improve information-sharing by strengthening relationships in advance. We’re also using a new registration system that will help us better manage individual on-snow workshops and indoor lectures through advanced registration and push notifications. This should improve the individual experience and hopefully become a normal aspect of future Interskis.

As for the Interski organization itself, we hope to play a role in bringing educators and the rest of the industry together. Our industry faces many challenges in the future, from environmental impacts to social justice and economic equity. Snowsports educators play a role in creating lasting memories for our guests, but also serve as valuable resources in helping resorts and manufacturers develop products and experiences for a brighter future. We’ll begin strategic planning for this as soon as this Congress is completed, but the sky is the limit for Interski and its members, especially with the support of the dedicated and talented staff, national team, and members of PSIA-AASI.

Thank you for all you do to create lifelong adventures and for sharing your passion for the snow. It’s your passion that drives your snowsports school and region, the national organization, and Interski. Without you, there would be no growth in snowsports, but with you, the possibilities are endless.