Interski 2023: Brian Donovan on the Snowboard Presentations

Held every four years, Interski is an international event that brings together top snowsports instructors from more than 40 countries. The PSIA-AASI National Team attends to present their latest teaching techniques and get insight into new ideas to bring back home to members. The discussions that take place at the event help PSIA-AASI refine its approach to training instructors and improving the guest experience.

Here, AASI Snowboard Team member Brian Donovan provides a preview of what the team will present at Interski 2023 in Levi, Finland, March 26 through March 31.

What are you most excited about in anticipation of Interski 2023?

I’m most excited to see what the other nations are doing to focus on the guest experience. I also can’t wait to share how everything we’re doing at PSIA-AASI has the student as the focal point. The power and impact of the Learning Connection Model is that all the aspects of our certification assessments and educational clinics help members to develop skills that focus on the student as our end user. It’s exciting to share that passion with the rest of the world, and it will be fun to see how other countries contrast or align with our points of emphasis.

What are you presenting, and how does that complement the team presentation?

I’m working on some on snow presentations to demonstrate how we can assess technical understanding through self-evaluation and self-reflection. Using Fitts and Posner’s stages of motor learning, we’re going to show how we can both assess certification candidate’s technical understanding through fluidity of skiing and riding performance and assess how instructors can give students physical cues and indicators that will help students be better at self-assessing their performance during unguided practice.

We’re planning to show how we can use indicators in personal performance to demonstrate overall understanding of technical concepts as well as show understanding of sensory cues that can indicate effective and efficient movements. I think this helps complement the entire team presentation in that we’re showing how our national standards can easily connect the links between physical performance and technical understanding. It ties directly into out 6-point assessment skill that we evaluate instructors against in certification assessments. It also relates to making sure that our students can demonstrate their own physical and mental understanding by skiing and riding with performance cues and indicators that help them understand their own performance.

How has your Interski preparations impacted how you approach your clinics, lessons, and coaching?

I’m focused on making sure that all the students and instructors I work with have a solid understanding of how to measure their own success in their riding through cues and indicators that I help them to understand. Using VAK (Visual Auditory Kinesthetic) sensory indicators, we can set students up to practice and understand successes and shortcomings in their riding without needing the instructor to be there to confirm when performance is going well. This directly increases the value of the content we are delivering when a student not only gains new physical skills, but also understands the cues and indicators to identify future successes in their riding.

What are you most interested in learning from the other countries and their presentations?

I’m most interested in learning what other countries are focusing on to deliver a high level of value to their students. I want to see how they’re engaging with their students and how they’re growing the industry and snowsports communities. I’m really excited to have discussions about how other nations view our work.

What does the Interski 2023 theme, “The Guest Experience is Everything,” mean to you and PSIA-AASI’s approach to snowsports instruction?

It shows me that we’re focused on the right things. We’re focused on delivering great experiences to our guests who are taking lessons. We’re not only focused on driving physical performance and technical knowledge of instructors, but we’re making sure that all our work in those arenas is meant to help our membership get better at connecting with their students and delivering terrific lessons and experiences for students.