Interski 2023: Mike Hafer on the Value of Teaching Skills

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, PSIA Alpine Team member Mike Hafer 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?

This will be my second Interski, so I have a few expectations. The first is to reconnect with some of my peers from around the world and meet new friends during the event. I’m also excited to deliver our messages and programing to the world. I’m also curious to see what the other teams will be presenting as it promotes more creativity and excitement around skiing and teaching.

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

My presentation will focus on teaching skiing and learning as the outcome. The gist of the presentation is to demonstrate how we can continually gather information from our students to design a successful learning environment. The presentation will show how we use the teaching fundamentals and implement them into our Teaching/Learning Cycle. This presentation will focus on how the teaching component on the Learning Connection complements people skills and technical skills.

Has preparing for Interski affected how you approach your clinics, lessons, and coaching?

The research I’ve done to prepare for my teaching skills presentation has helped me evolve into a better teacher and coach. As an example, I’ve been experimenting with different approaches to learn what activities, terrain usage, and pacing can be used to create a better learning environment for my students. I’ve been more focused on outcomes rather than a very detailed body performance type of approach. Focusing on outcomes seems to be producing positive results.

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

I love learning about ski teaching theories and the “why” behind a country’s belief system. I want to see what challenges others are facing in our industry and how they’re adapting to challenging situations.

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

PSIA-AASI truly understands the guest experience, and we have a ton to offer our peers from outside the US on this subject. I’m excited about our topics that we are going to present on the world stage, and it is forcing us to dig deeper into our belief system so we can create a better understanding within our association. In addition, this will lead to more creativity in our lessons to push us into the future of snow sports.