Preparing for World Interski 2019 – how does this event come together?

Report on Interski International Presidium meeting in Frankfurt 14 -17 October 2018
By Dave Renouf

With members of the Interski Presidium spread around the globe, organising World Interski is a collaborative project with some unique challenges. In this piece, Dave Renouf provides an insight into how the organisers bring the event together. Dave wears two hats; he represents BASI as our International and Educational Manager, and his other hat is that of Vice President of Interski International. As a member of the presidium, he is closely involved with the preparations for the World Interski Congress in Bulgaria in 2019.

The Interski International Presidium meets every month via a Skype call and is able to review and share the workload through this medium. This requires at least a couple of meetings face-to-face per year to ensure that we can plan the strategies to cover the work required and delegate responsibilities. In Frankfurt, the Interski Presidium got together with two specific areas of work to cover:

1. The first was to ensure the workloads and tasks for the actual World Interski Congress event that is to be held in the Bulgarian resort of Pamporovo in March 2019 is all going to plan. There were many updates and adjustments to ensure as many of the “bases” are being covered by having a number of contingency plans.

Looking down the demo slope in Pamporovo

Looking down the demo slope in Pamporovo

For the first time, Interski International asked all the nation members to submit documentation well in advance of the actual event to outline what each nation is planning to present in their lectures and workshops. This will allow for better planning and also for all nations to gain a preview of what each nation is focusing on in their presentations. These “abstracts” are going to be published on the Interski 2019 website in due course. There were updates from the Organising Committee on logistical tasks so that the anticipated 1500 world-class instructors who come  from thirty nations across the world have a smoothly organised congress in the Bulgarian mountains.

2. The second task was to look at the future strategy and ideas for Interski and its structure. Feedback gained from the member nations, who adhere to at least one of the international pillar Associations (IVSI, ISIA, or IVSS) as well as Interski International itself, shows that they wish to gain more value through the planned co-ordination of all the future events that each of the Associations organises. The result of the Interski Presidium discussion is that each of the Presidents of these Associations is to confer with their respective Presidiums and feedback to the Interski Presidium. These discussions require time for each of the Presidiums to deliberate so that they themselves are answering to their specific membership audiences. As the saying goes, ‘it’s hard (if not impossible) to please everyone’! Nevertheless, we must endeavour to achieve as many of their wishes as possible.

Overall the meeting in Frankfurt consolidated a team working in a positive atmosphere for a fantastic congress in Pamporovo. So best wishes to all the nations’ teams around the globe for a great period of preparation and training. We look forward to seeing you all soon.

View of the demo slope from the base area

View of the demo slope from the base area

Skiing Bumps to develop the BASI Performance Threads (TTPPEE)

The Five Strands = the five sections which we divide the mountain into that covers most types of alpine skiing.

  • Piste Performance Long radius turns & Short radius turns  
  • Bumps
  • Steeps
  • Variable
  • Freestyle

The Performance Threads = all the factors that will influence a skiers performance.

  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • Physical
  • Psychological
  • Equipment
  • Environment

Or TTPPEE for short. We use them to look at the ‘big picture’ of a performance considering areas affecting performance other than technical.

BASI has always valued bumps as a crucial strand of skiing. While modern grooming technologies allow steeper pistes to be bashed smooth, and newer ski designs allow learners to carve quickly, many skiers will find the limits of pure corduroy skiing quickly and their desire to explore more of the mountain grows. We use bumps skiing as a means to develop learners in the other strands – a practical stepping stone to learning to ski more of the mountain. 

At the 2015 Interski congress, BASI delivered a workshop on how we utilise the bumps in our pathway. Not just a strand required of the technical assessments from Level 2 onwards, but as a means to explore the performance threads with our students, and subsequently their would-be learners. No other strand so immediately pulls together tactical, physical, psychological, and technical requisites. Bumps focus the attention like little else: technique is useless without a workable line, a worthy pair of legs, and a well-built head.  

The Tactics

As with skiing generally, nothing is black and white, but the line choices to ski down a bumps field can be sculpted around: The Inside Line – which offers more opportunity than any other to control speed and presents a fine initiation into fall-line bumps; the Outside Line – where a rounder line allows the skier to avoid the deepest part of the trough making it less physically impacting; the Direct Line – which offers the fastest descent down the hill and enables a quick check on the face of the bump without affecting the overall speed of descent. Each line provides different psychological, physical, technical and equipment challenges. When first introduced at Level 2 we encourage starting with outside and inside lines and slower speeds, which gives the students a chance to learn and develop performance in each thread.

 

The Psychology

Often cited as the ultimate challenge to a recreational skier, tension is not an option as the bumps demand much more reaction than planning, which would be near impossible with both mental (and physical) tension. Psychological techniques play a crucial role in the bumps, and usually vary between individuals. Developing the right mental skills to flow down a bumps field will help skiers approach more variable terrain and steeper slopes.   

The Physical

Bumps-fields are rarely rhythmical, therefore a skier should not try to find one – agility is the key to a flowing performance. Our instructors are taught to choose tactical lines that suits physical fitness levels. A skier with a lower level of fitness shouldn’t begin with a direct line as this the most physically demanding. However, a flexible and agile skier who can ‘hang it out’ on a direct line might still benefit from the technical skills required of the slower inside line.  

We spend many hours discussing the intricate details of ski technique, so at Interski it was great to deliver a workshop where we discussed almost everything but technique. But of course, the full jigsaw requires all the pieces…

The Technical

While skiing the bumps is a great chance to work in the other performance threads, they also offer a great opportunity to benefit the technical thread. Skiers can experience sensations they wouldn’t often get on the groomed pistes, for example the edges being tilted in proportion to the berm rather than being positively engaged; pressure coming more through the bases of the skis rather than the edges; allowing the skis to skid rather than run along their edges; rotating the skis at a higher rate from lower down the body. Staying in balance in the bumps requires quick reactions and calculated but smooth movements. The technique behind the bumps challenges and uses every single fundamental element.

The Equipment & The Environment

Assuming skiers use the same pair of skis to ski all the strands, there is not much scope for adjusting equipment. However, we can initiate conversations between students to develop an understanding of how the width and length of their skis and poles can affect their performance in the bumps. While the environment might also be limited where able, the gradient of slope and size of bumps is adjusted to suit the task set and the skill level of the skier.

The bumps have proved to us as one of the best performance strands to deliver, understand and practice all the vital ingredients of ski performance at any level – the performance threads. The bumps demonstrate a fine pathway to develop skiing in variable off-piste, down steeps and around the whole mountain.

It was just one of our workshops in 2015 and we only had a short time to convey our belief in bumps, but hopefully it gave fellow nations, instructors and skiers some motivation to believe in bumps too!

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BASI announces PANDA OPTICS eyewear sponsor for National Education Team 2018 – 2022

PANDA NET 2

Panda Optics eyewear and BASI have confirmed a supply sponsor partnership for BASI’s National Education Team as they make their preparations for the World Interski Congress in Pamporovo, Bulgaria in March 2019. Panda Optics will sponsor the team sunglasses in a sponsorship package worth £1,500 (RRP).

Panda Optics is a British brand producing high performance goggles and sunglasses. From mountain to beach the Panda Optics collection combines the latest technology with innovative style and design to optimise vision and comfort.

Roy Henderson, BASI’s NET Manager said:

“The Panda Optics collection has been designed and manufactured for serious snowsports enthusiasts and we’re delighted that a born and bred UK brand is supporting BASI’s national Education Team. Having eyewear with a high visual impact that performs well and looks good gives confidence to the team’s overall performance, not to mention morale.”  

Oliver Heath, Managing Director at Panda Optics commented:

“It’s a pleasure to be sponsoring the National Education Team. Back in 2009 I did my BASI L1 and 2, and my trainers are current NET members, so it’s nice to be giving something back and getting Panda further involved in British Snowsports.”

 

BASI National Education Team 2018 – 2022

Eyewear by Panda Optics

Tel: + 44 (0)7378 164 132

Website:  www.pandaoptics.co.uk

Email:      info@pandaoptics.co.uk

The World Interski Congress and BASI’s National Education Team – why are they important?

The team 2

BASI National Education Team (NET)

By Jaz Lamb, NET coach.

The world, and the ski industry, was a very different place when I started teaching in 1984.

Cairngorm had over 20 ski schools, Glenshee had three full time ski schools and Nevis Range at Fort William hadn’t been developed.

There were literally hundreds of BASI instructors working in the four Scottish ski areas and most schools, at least the big ones, had all levels of BASI instructor working for them, including BASI trainers.

Scottish skiing was a large, vibrant industry and the vast majority of BASI instructors worked at the Scottish ski areas, or, on UK dry slopes.

The snowsports landscape in the UK has changed enormously and no longer looks anything like the one I first entered back in the 80s.  Many years of inconsistent and unreliable snow, plus other economic factors such as low cost air travel and the arrival of the winter snowsports package holiday brought new opportunities for instructors beyond UK shores and changed the Scottish resorts forever.  Although there are still many ski instructors working in the Scottish ski areas, they now have to be multi – disciplined or have other incomes, there are very few who have full time careers teaching on Scotland’s mountains.

So, what has this brief nostalgia trip got to do with the World Interski Congress and BASI’s National Education Team?

The demise of plentiful career opportunities in Scotland led to a shift from BASI instructors working in the UK to BASI instructors looking for work around the world.

As we fast forward to current times, it is noticeable that BASI is in a unique position. We have credibility and respect from all nations and have become a major player on the world snowsports education stage.  We share a platform with the Alpine Nations and our voice can be heard at the top table rather than having to shout from the back rows with other ‘lowland’ nations. This has not always been the case.

Kenny Dickson, Ali Ross, Hans Kuwall 1971

 

BASI’s current status and credibility has been gained through a combination of international diplomacy and continuously developing our teaching and technical models based on the observations and knowledge we have harvested, adapted and developed from the international arena. This process began back at Interski 1971 when BASI were first invited to send a demonstration team to the World Interski Congress 1971 in Garmisch Partenkirchen.

Over the past fifty years BASI has worked hard to demonstrably create international recognition for BASI qualifications and our teaching philosophy. This international aspect of BASI’s work has created quality snowsports career working opportunities for all levels of BASI members who now work in 38 countries around the world and many members who continue to teach part time and full time in the UK, inspiring more British participants to take up snowsports. Britain has now become the second largest exporter of snowsports participants beyond its own borders! We are second to Germany. The British snowsports customer is big business for other snowsports industry nations and worth millions to their mountain economies. The role of the BASI snowsports instructor both in the UK and abroad is key to driving this passion.  

We have moved on a long way from the days of a focus on teaching in Scotland.  There are job opportunities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australasia.  I know of BASI instructors who have worked in Africa so the only continent I have not heard of BASI members working in is Antarctica – and I am happy to be corrected.

So, how did we change from being a UK centric association providing instructors for our home industry to being one of, if not the, biggest exporter of snowsports instructors around the world?

World Interski Report 1995

World Interski Report 1995

I can trace the tipping point back to 1995, and the Interski Congress in Nozawa Onsen, Japan but the foundations stones go way back to BASI’s first attendance at Interski.

The 1995 Interski Congress was when a new approach was presented by BASI’s delegation to the rest of the world. What was developed then, still forms the backbone and basis of everything that BASI do now.

BASI had set about seeking what the performance of a skier looked like and approached this from a biomechanical insight. They took a top down perspective, seeking what every skier has in common, regardless of where they were from or their performance level.  World Cup racers, recreational skiers, the similarities were identified.  They stood back, looked at skiing in its context and environment and broke skiing down into its component parts.  These component parts became what is now known in the BASI syllabus as the Fundamental Elements.

BASI recognised that skiing takes place in a very open and changeable environment and that the environmental factors impact on performance.   They recognised the significance of emotional factors and not just technique and the relationship between the inputs and the outcomes.

The Performance Threads were developed and the concept of “The Strands” was introduced.  Open environments replaced advanced techniques, skiing steeps replaced short swings, skiing bumps replaced compression turns.

BASI had created the basis of the tactical skill based driven system that we still adhere to now.

But there still needed to be a guideline for trainee instructors to take learners on their journey.   It wasn’t practical to just rely on the ‘Fundamental Elements’, there was too much variability for trainee instructors to take on board.  So, a simple progression was developed that allowed all the Fundamental Elements to be developed equally in a natural, logical and progressive manner.  The “Central Theme” was born.

As well as massive shifts in technical philosophy, the teaching side changed unrecognisably with the introduction of the teaching tools and techniques we use today.

At the World Interski Congress in 1995 the core of this new approach was presented.  It was such ground breaking stuff that the rest of the world stood up and took notice.  We were no longer an insignificant lowland nation, but a country that was punching way above its weight.  Franz Hoppichler, the Interski President at the time said “You have changed your skiing and approach significantly, and we like it.”

At subsequent World Interski Congresses we have reinforced that BASI is an Association to take note of, we produce skilled and adaptable instructors who are great at what they do.  We had a massive attendance to our workshops in St Anton (2011) and Ushuaia (2015) with representatives of most countries coming along. BASI’s evolution continues. In Ushuaia in 2015 BASI’s Dave Renouf presented one of the key note lectures for the conference on the work we were implementing aligning BASI course qualifications to the Scottish Credit Qualification Framework. The impact of this key note lecture has resulted in Dr Pete Allison (one of our collaborators at the University of Edinburgh on the alignment project) moving to the U.S and now working with the PSIA to do the same thing with their qualifications!

Attendance at the Interski Congress is a large investment for BASI, and it would be fair to acknowledge that from some perspectives, it is quite hard to see any direct, tangible benefit to attending.

The evolution of BASI’s approach to the World Interski Congress has been to manage and plan it as a four year project cycle and the recent establishment of the National Education Team (NET) is designed to provide the membership with a return on investment over a longer four year cycle and not just on a week-long event held every four years at the World Interski Congress investment.

The role of NET is not simply to do some great synchronized ski demos at the World Congress but to work with the BASI training manager and other BASI trainers over the four year project cycle to develop, improve and refine what we do around all BASI course content, delivery and assessment.  NET deliver at the trainers conference, they train the trainers, lead on the trainers quality assurance programme, develop and refine changes to our system, write and edit our training manuals and workbooks and present and test changes on the trainers and ultimately the membership.

BASI’s National Education Team for the next four year cycle was selected in Zermatt in November 2017. Selection was based on the following criteria: performer, presenter, ambassador, educator and team player.

However, without having strong representation at previous congresses, observing and learning about developments other systems are making, without sending strong messages to the rest of the world about the quality and depth of our training and philosophies and how we are evolving from congress to congress there would not be the recognition for the qualifications, nor the job opportunities that are currently available to the membership.

Even in the modern world of high tech communication there is still no substitute for physical handshakes, eye to eye contact and developing (or reinforcing) personal relationships.  Without attending and participating in the World Interski Congress BASI would not be as well recognised and respected around the world as we are currently.

Your future careers as ski instructors, depends on the nations around the world understanding BASI and our qualifications.  Sending a strong delegation and continuing to put ourselves on the world stage, is essential to maintaining the level of respect we have enjoyed, and maintaining and increasing the opportunities for BASI Members of all levels to work around the world.

The World Interski Congress is the major event where BASI get the opportunity to present who we are and what we do, gaining recognition for our qualifications and building a global network of contacts that help us provide work opportunities for members.

 

Pamporovo General Assembly 9-10th June 17

James Lister, Andrew Lockerbie, Roy Henderson, Pete Allison and Dave Renouf have just returned from Pamporovo, Bulgaria where they joined delegates from 36 other countries to discuss plans for the 2019 Interski Congress.

IMG_3808 copy

Dave was there as he is a Vice President on the Interski presidium. The Presidium held separate meetings as their agenda was slightly different.

Pete Allison is BASI’s representative on the IVSS (International Federation of Schools and Collages) and as well as attending the IVSS meetings general assembly, Pete also gave a presentation on the importance of relationship building. This was based on a case study of school children on a ski trip to Andorra.

Roy Henderson was there to look at the venue and the logistics for Interski 2019.

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Chairman, James Lister, attended all key meetings on our behalf to ensure we continue to build on our relationships with individual countries within the worldwide snowsports organisations.

Andrew was there to build relations between national organisations like the PSIA, to ensure that BASI qualifications are recognised around the world and look for further work opportunities for BASI members.

Loads of topics were covered over the weekend with an aim to ensure that 2019 Congress is the best one yet.  A new discussion format was used at the recent meeting called the “World Café”. It brought groups together from the representative nations and brainstormed various topics surrounding the format for Interski 2019. It generated loads of ideas and it will be up to the Interski organising committee to decide on the final format, but here is a summary of some highlights:

Theme

The theme will be based around the promotion of snowsports worldwide. This could mean introducing people to snowsports or encouraging people to continue to participate. The overall title is still to be decided.

Demonstrations

The suggestion is that each team will perform 2 types of demonstrations.

Technical demonstrations – these would focus on a particular performance strand (e.g long turns)

Show demonstrations – It was suggested that these would take places in the afternoon or evenings and wouldn’t have a particular technical focus. Teams would be encouraged to use all disciplines where possible. These demonstrations could be made competitive by introducing judging (TBC).

The idea of an International Demonstration was also discussed, where individuals from each team are selected at the beginning of the event with an aim to perform a demonstration featuring team members from all countries at the closing ceremony.

Lectures 

All lectures will be submitted prior to the Congress for selection. Selected lectures are delivered live at the Congress and any not selected are made available online to all attendeesAll lectures will be delivered prior to the resort opening in the morning or in the evening to maximise on snow time.

A summary (text and video) for each lecture will be made available for congress attendees to help them decide which lectures they’d like to attend during the event.

Special events

The World Café – a breakout area where tables are made up of 1 team member from each country discussing a specified topic.

Interski ski school – Team members from each country will deliver lessons during a specified time slot to members of the public.

The idea of a race was discussed and if anything is to happen it would be a Dual Slalom – A team slalom event where teams are made up of representatives from different countries

Want some more reading? Here are some of the handouts from the weekend…

Agenda to the Regular General Assembly

Rules of Procedure for the Presidium

Draft changes of statues of Interski International 10th of June 2017

Thank You

Thank you Cerro Castor Interski 2015 – Cerro Castor, Ushuaia. for an amazing Interski event at the Fin del Mundo!

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Your demo slope and fun park were fantastic, the snow grooming perfect, your team of volunteers were awesome! Fantastic scenery, we leave with fond memories of Cerro Castor and Ushuaia – thanks to you all from Team Great Britain for making us feel so welcome…..

Muchas Gracias

For all Great Britain’s photos and coverage of Interski 2015 go to:
http://www.basiinterski.org.uk/about/ and

https://www.facebook.com/BASI.BritishAssociationof…/timeline

See you in Bulgaria in 2019…

Interski 2015 – Team Dual Slalom Event – Friday 11 Sept

Following Lynn and Craig’s qualifying round success in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, they eased through the semi finals today and went head to head in a thrilling dual slalom final.

The two teams made up of 2 from Great Britain (Lynn and Craig), 1 Japanese and Matteo from Italy against the second team comprising: 2 Swiss, a Korean and a Hungarian. In a closely fought head to head final where Craig put on an exceptional turn of speed Lynn and Craig’s team were narrowly pipped to second.

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Friday 11th September – Interski 2015 Update

So finally, the last day of Interski is here. Paul G and I delivered the last BASI lecture last night, which went really well. I’m delighted that all our presentations have been filmed so we can share them all with you. As soon as we get them tidied up and ready to launch they’ll be in the resources section.

Lynn and Craig are in the top 4 teams for the parallel slalom so they will be racing for a podium place later this morning with their Italian and Japanese team mates. Its be great to see 2 of team BASI leading the way.

We have 1 more demo to do for the closing ceremony.  Last chance to leave everyone with a positive memory of BASI skiers. We are going to give it all we’ve got.

Wish us luck.