Interski 2023: Takeaways from the Czech Republic

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 member Kevin Jordan and AASI Snowboard Team member Matthew Larson share their takeaways from two presentations from the Czech Republic.

Kevin Jordan

The Czechs presented an on-snow workshop on mirror neurons, which was connected to their indoor presentation. The presentation was based on the idea that by mirroring others we can train our brains to be better at movements.

The Czechs included five tasks in this session:

  1. Pick a partner only using eye contact. Find your “soul mate,” as they would say.
  2. Once we found our soul mate, we needed to mirror what the other person was doing. They acted out a situation where the other person was waking up and out of bed. It was pretty hysterical and included things like the guy going to the bathroom and swiping to the left while he was on his phone.
  3. Next, we practiced mirroring each other while warming up to go skiing. This was static, with our skis on.
  4. Then we did a warm-up while skiing. It was fascinating how everyone tried to throw their partner off. They would hop one turn and then stem the next. Then jump. Then whirlybird.
  5. More skiing

What was unique is that the Czechs were trying to take lots of photos while we did this. The directions were simple and clear. One partner was following the other and trying to key into some movement in the partner in the front. For our partner pairing it was looking at the timing of our pole plant.

Having someone follow another person is often what we do. However, with more attention or directed focus, the skier trailing has more of a task or purpose. The skier behind me could see the timing of my movements and she tried to mimic them.

Matthew Larson

There are many ways we move to do freestyle tricks. In the Czech Republic presentation, that can be a training tool for newer instructors as they learn about range of motion and develop self-awareness in their snowboarding.

In this workshop, the Level I final form turn demo is stacked and skidded with application of fore/aft movement, inclination, rotation, and edging. In comparing this to our content in the US, they are focused on a combination of board performances and the body positions. There was minimal description of how to achieve the outcome.

Lastly, up and down unweighted is also assessed in the certification program, with up-unweighted movement at level II, and down unweighted at level III.

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