Interski 2023: Opening Day & The Guest Experience
Interski 2023 officially opened in Levi, Finland – on Sunday, March 26, 2023 – with more than 2,000 snowsports instructors from around the world gathering to share best practices, techniques, and educational innovations all focused on growing ski and snowboard participation.
The theme of the 2023 event, “The Guest Experience is Everything,” resonates deeply with ski and snowboard instructors in the United States. PSIA-AASI has developed and fine-tuned the Learning Connection Model, a student-centered teaching approach, through their ongoing participation in Interski.
“The student is at the center of the learning connection,” said PSIA-AASI Director of Education Dave Schuiling. “At Interski 2019 in Pamporovo, Bulgaria, we placed a high priority on the overall guest experience and said that people skills help to create a better connection for learning.”
The Learning Connection emphasizes that quality lessons rely as much on an instructor’s people skills as their teaching skills and technical skills, while creating a welcoming learning environment for the guest throughout each lesson.
Dave said, “the excitement about learning is all about the guest connection,” adding that the PSIA-AASI National Team came to Finland, “looking to define the outer ring of the learning connection that involves instructor behaviors, and how they can create a continuous, adaptable, learning experience.”
The importance of personal connection – particularly between instructors and students – was echoed at the opening welcome ceremony by Interski 2023 keynote speaker Claus Raasted, a Danish innovator and podcaster who serves as director for the College of Extraordinary Experiences.
Following the introduction of the 37 participating countries, Claus told the energetic crowd, “Simply put, the world is trending more digital, connected, and wealthy. But at the end of the day, it is still about the personal experience. People want you to curate that extraordinary personal experience for them.”
Interski Presidium Board Chair Eric Scheckleton, a former AASI Snowboard Team member, PSIA-AASI Board Chair, and the first American to hold the Presidium Board Chair position, noted that Interski 2023 will focus on the guest, with a week of on and off snow demos, workshops, and presentations to give instructors opportunities for learning.
“Snowsports instructors are so important to the health of the snowsports industry,” said Eric. “This is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to fine-tune our educational approach for teaching other instructors and the guests we teach.”
As the event turned its focus back to the snow, with a soundtrack of Lappish music filling the air as the attending nations began a series of high energy performance runs, PSIA-AASI National Team Coach Jeb Boyd noted just how perfectly the Levi demonstration slope reflected an instructor’s ideal teaching conditions.
“This venue is perfect for teaching presentations,” said Jeb. “It’s exactly the kind of slope most of our members would prefer to teach on.”
“I’ve been using the word ‘crescendo’ to describe what it’s like to perfect our certification system and the foundational skillsets of the Learning Connection through our preparation for each Interski,” Jeb continued. “We wouldn’t be where we are without this event. And we’re here right now to keep learning.”
Watch the Opening Day video: