Interski 2023: Alpine Top Takeaways from Britain

Held every four years, Interski brings instructors together from around the world. The event offers a valuable educational opportunity for snowsports educators to share their innovations and core beliefs. It gives PSIA-AASI, through its national team, an opportunity to compare the American Teaching System with educational approaches of other countries and bring home ideas that help PSIA-AASI members improve and evolve.

Here, PSIA Alpine Team members Jonathan Ballou and Zoe Mavis share their top takeaways from the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI) workshops they attended at the event.

Jonathan Ballou’s Top Takeaways from BASI’s “Fundamental Elements” Workshop

BASI values discovery and experiential learning and demonstrated these values throughout this clinic. The focus was body management to alter steering elements to control line and speed. These are all BASI fundamental elements. We explored adaptability in bumps. Huge bumps. They were awesome.

BASI focused on not just application of the steering elements of rotation, edge, and pressure, but on the body alignment and postural changes needed to access these in different ways. While the material is not new to the U.S. – rotational, pressure, and edge control are the three primary mechanics of the skills concept – the grouping used by BASI is refreshingly simple. Pulling these three concepts into steering elements allowed room for a balance of outputs and inputs to be added to either side.

Clearly tying body inputs to ski outputs – in the form of line and speed control and at every turn – will be a benefit to US instructors as we can tend to be body specific in our instruction, without tying our instruction to a clear and relevant ski performance.

Adaptability is key to a guest centered approach to teaching, which is who we are. Everything about this model aligns with, supports, and potentially simplifies technical adaptability.

Zoe Mavis’ Top Takeaways from BASI’s “Ski Performance” Workshop

Even though we have taken the framework BASI uses to create some of our materials, such as our Performance Guide, it is clear our information is unique to us and meets the needs of the membership.

There was a consistent want from the group for clear outcomes and parameters. At one moment, we were asked to do a narrow short turn and then a wider short turn. Almost all participants asked for either a corridor definition or a ski performance outcome.

It is very interesting to hear the different language that is used to describe certain things. While we are speaking about similar things it is great to hear it described in a different way. I notice specifically the word “grip.” While I have heard it a bit in the United States, it is clearly commonplace in countries like the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It is a great descriptor of getting the ski to engage with the snow and something I think our membership could understand too!

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