Interski 2015 Day 1 Summary, Preview Day 2

IMG_0403[1]This morning started with all the excitement and drama you’d expect. Tierra del Fuego blessed us with clear skies and the resort welcomed the teams and public with Argentinian tango  dancers, an army of helpful and smiling volunteers, loud music and enough flags to deck out a UN conference. The slopes were awash with every brand and colour of  team uniform and so it was we were launched into Day 1.

Our Demo team headed straight for the demo slope and all morning took their place in line with every other nation to take full advantage of the final training slot that morning. For many  nations, this was the first and only opportunity they had to test their demos. Conditions were “grippy”  and  a good set of edges were definitely required.

Greg Mofftat and I spent the morning promoting the BASI work shops and lecture programme to the other team managers who were all located in and around the demo arena waiting to video their demo teams. Armed with our workshop flyers we were considerably lighter by the end of the morning. We also took the opportunity to capture video footage of the other nations demo’s during the morning practise sessions. We’ll get a mashup for you as soon as we can. Meanwhile Ben Kinnear headed off to see what preparations had been made in the Freestyle Park area.

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Team Presentation at Opening Ceremony

A quick bite to eat and everyone was in position for the formalities of the opening ceremony. Dignatories and spectators at the bottom and all the teams in alphabetical order at the top – apart from GB that is! We were not on the running order at “G”  as we’d thought for Great Britain, we were then told R for  “Regno Unito”  but no,  there was no slot for us as Regno Unito so down we went after Switzerland as “United Kingdom”.

Who impressed? Personally, there was a broad variation in the standard of performance today and as you’d expect many of them at a high performance standard but Austria and Great Britain did it for me today. You can make your own mind up as the week unfolds and we bring you more visuals of the teams in action and more of their demos and workshops are revealed.

A handful of teams have brought all disciplines with them, and there was some great Telemark, Snowboard combinations and Adaptive representation too.

There were some humorous national touches – the Germans stripped off to reveal uniforms of  lederhosen  shorts and dirndl dresses  for the opening ceremony demo run. The local ski school instructors of Cerro Castor were all wearing Argentinian football tops – every single one was Messi!

With the official opening concluded it was back to Ushuaia and a quick turnaround for the opening key note lecture in the conference centre. This was not what was originally programmed – Equipment evolution and injuries – but titled  “Adaptive Snowsports, The New Emerging Market”.  We’ve got the notes and hope to get a summary out to you via the resource page later on Monday.

Strong northerly winds and wet weather put paid to the planned street parade and fireworks tonight and  in it’s place we were treated to some aerial acrobatic dance and  musical entertainment in the conference centre. We eventually sat down for dinner at 9pm….

 

Adaptive Snowsports - Opening Key Note Lecture Day 1 INterski 2015

Adaptive Snowsports – Opening Key Note Lecture Day 1 Interski 2015

I think we can safely assume there is a plan B and possibly C and D for potential  programme changes.

So,  for tomorrow, Day 2 Interski 2015, Monday 7 September we have the following currently scheduled:

Alpine Demo’s and on-slope workshops from: Andorra, Austria, Chile, Norway, Hungary, Ireland and Croatia

Cross Country Workshops

Snowpark Demo’s (programme doesn’t specify who is leading yet)

ISIA Individual Nation Giant Slalom

Ski School Lessons for Local Children – delivered by participating nations.

See you tomorrow…..

Thoughts on a Postcard from Ushuaia

Becs Malthouse

Becs Malthouse

If you’ve been keeping an eye out on Facebook, you’ll have seen that the demo team have already been in Ushuaia for a few days now. During yesterday and today, the    rest of our delegation have arrived in time for the official opening. Here’s a quick reflection of the story so far.

The Journey

Getting to Ushuaia is no mean feat. There is a reason they are calling this the Interski at the end of the world, seriously, go and look it up on a map! Everyone made their way into Heathrow from various corners of the world. Jaz Bruce was just back from New Zealand and those of us in France left temperatures of over 30 degrees with bags full of fleeces and ski kit.

3 flights, 2 buses, not much sleep and 35 hours after leaving home, we were finally here. Eat, sleep and get sorted because next morning, 8am we are on the bus to the ski area, Cerro Castor.

The Training

So what have we been up to for the last 3 days? To be honest, this has been the most productive training time we have had since the team was selected, nearly 2 years ago.

It takes roughly 45 minutes by bus to the ski area. Boots on and off we go. First day we focus on the first demo, snakes. The hardest part of this one is the start where we have 4 vertical lines synchronising short turns. The leaders of each line need to take their timing from the front person which gets harder to do the further away you are. Then we experiment with different ways of making the split look clean and powerful into medium and long turns. What amazes me is that we know the demos so well now that we can try changing patterns, number or size of turn or even pace – all at the drop of a hat and still keep it together.

In the afternoon we change to demo 2, diamonds. We move away from the training slope and are allowed onto the demo slope for the first time. First impressions are, it’s steep! We get rid of the snowplough shape start we have been using and change to a skis across the hill, pivot and slide to set off. A few runs in the bag and we are settling in nicely. The toughest part of this demo is to keep sight of the lead skier that you are shadowing as there are other skiers in between you who are turning in the opposite direction. You need eyes in all directions. For me, on the left wing of the middle diamond, I’m watching Lynn while keeping tabs on James B in front of me and making sure I stay level with Rupert T who is the right hand wing man. I’m hoping that Jaz L doesn’t ski into the back of me but that’s his job, not for me to worry about. I do get splatted with the spray of Rupert’s skis which compromises vision as my goggles get covered in snow but, hey ho.

We try stretching the shapes wider across the hill and then longer down the hill while Coach Andi looks for what works best visually. You can’t make these decisions until you see how each demo fits on the demo slope, giving thought to the speed we can carry and the space we have. Wide doesn’t work ,so long and thin it is.

Day 2

Stuck in the cafe due to high winds but then we head outside to figure out how we are going to set up the finishes and stopping at the end of each demo. The holiday skiers are looking slightly perplexed but enjoying watching us all run round on the snow at the bottom of the slope! Finally at 12 noon we get on the hill and get back to it. More snakes, more diamonds. We may only have had half a day on skis but we are pretty tired by the end of it.

Day 3

Both evenings we have watched video of the training runs so day 3 we are fully charged. Still making changes but we are now adding elements that we can only manage because we are so comfortable with the moves. Finally we get onto the final demo; Tickle, Tickle, Bang, Bang. I’ll let you watch the video later to figure why it’s called that. This is the highest speed demo we have. It needs to be fast and slick to have the impact we want. Snakes has the shortest turns, diamonds has pretty full on medium radius but tickle is the killer. All these demos are about showing how BASI skiers ski fast, hard and sharp. We don’t go for the slow-speed, washy, short turns that are mostly used for synchro, that would be too easy.

The point of all this is to make people pay attention. Surprise them and turn heads. And we do.

BASI may be considered a lowland country but we believe in and achieve a high level of performance out there on the hill. Our job is to make people remember that BASI means business and we have something to say. By making the demo’s exciting, we draw people into our workshops and lectures. This creates the opportunity to network and open up the important conversations that need to be had.

Becs Malthouse

Adaptive – The New Emerging Market – Key Note Lecture Sunday 6 September 2015

Following all the activity of the opening ceremony on the mountain all the delegates decamped to the new conference centre in Ushuaia to attend the Interski 2015 key note lecture by Huston Cowen.

This key note lecture was all about the emerging market of disabled snow sports. Huston is the founder of Challenge Aspen, one of the few snow sport training centers in the US that runs as a business rather than a charity. The business model is based on several facts that he feels could change the way people view the Adaptive snowsports industry.

Huston “Big 3”

* 1 in 6 families have a disabled family member (an estimated 1.2 billion people with disabilities globally).

When put in those terms the size of the potential market is clear and DSUK has also seen over 1000 new skiers join their UK- based indoor adaptive programmes this year. All of this indicates that the market is growing and that there is a lot of scope for more growth as people are exposed to the idea that they can go skiing with a disability.

* A disabled person typically travels on a ski holiday with an average of 5 family members or friends. These other group members do not need specialist adaptive equipment or instruction but will require all of the standard services that make a winter snow sports package. This potentially provides a substational extra income stream to any resort or snow sport organisation that provides an Adaptive programme.

* Every member of the group spends between $2,000 and $6, 000 per person on their holiday.

Huston did not reveal the costs of setting up a disability programme but talking to him after the presentation he believed that if a resort bought into the idea the costs and benefits would be shared by everybody.

If the current growth of adaptive continues there is going to be a large increase in the number of instructors required that can teach people with disabilities in the next few years. This is relevant in Europe where the market is almost completely void of ski schools willing to address the new market.

Since that key note lecture by Houston I have spoken to many countries over the past few days and it is clear that very few are as well prepared with their Adaptive programmes as BASI is.

Many countries treat the Adaptive discipline as a short “add on“ module to the other disciplines, these countries will struggle to produce skilled enough instructors to handle the variety of clients that they will be required to teach. BASI is one of the very few countries

that has a full course progression for Adaptive. The BASI system has 3 Adaptive levels including the top level 3 with the ISIA stamp.

An interesting trend perhaps most notably the PSIA (US) is a move to towards a tighter link between the Alpine disciplines and the Adaptive. Talking to Jeff and Kim from PSIA the intention seems to be to align the Adaptive and Alpine skill development. This would allow more instructors to leverage the skills they already have then add any new Adaptive skills to them.

I am looking forward to getting out on the snow with the PSIA workshop (Wednesday 9th) being presented by Jeff and Kim. The session is going to be on the links between Alpine and Adaptive skills.

I believe BASI next big challenge is to increase the number of instructors that come through the Adaptive pathway so we are ready to meet this increasing demand in this market.

That’s all from me on the Adaptive for now. The Great Britain team is looking great, I have heard from several local people who have told me that they have the best display. The professionalism and skill they are demonstrating are certainly showing us all in a great light, I am not sure how they do it considering most days we are working for more than 15 hours!

Greg Moffat

Adaptive

greg

Preview of Programme for Sunday 6 September 2015 – Interski

As Saturday the 5th September draws to a close BASI’s Great Britain Delegation is now complete with BASI Chairman, Gareth Roberts, Adaptive Delegate, Greig Moffat, and  Snowboard Director, Ben Kinnear arriving this evening. There has been a sense of building anticipation throughout the town of  Ushuaia today, a large number of teams streamed into town this evening and half the Austrian delegation joined us tonight in the Alto Andino Hotel.  The programme suggests they have a delegation of over 80 …. The ski room in the hotel is looking  more like the race department at Salomon and the lounge area also now doubles as a ski prep area.

The stage is now set and tomorrow the transport arrives at 8am for the 40 minute transfer to the base station at Cerro Castor resort. For the teams that arrived today there will be a short morning session for them to do some first and final training on the official demo slope.  Not easy, as for most it will be the first and only time they get to train on the slope they will have to demo on later in the week. As the demo slope comes down into the final arena area it crosses (by way of a bridge) over the Trans American Highway, the demo slope narrows at the bridge and so for those teams who have been here now for a couple of days (us included) there has been an opportunity to  test and adapt the demos a few times over this  stretch of  variable terrain.

The Opening Ceremony kicks off at 13.30pm local time (we’re 4 hours behind the UK here, and internet access is intermittent at best) and following what the programme describes at the “Authorities Speech. Flag Raising and Cultural Activity” every country’s demo team will be introduced in Alphabetical order from 14.3o. We’ll be taking video and do our best to bring you some highlights as soon as we can!

Opening Ceremony concludes with an Argentinian on slope presentation “Snowsport development. Pioneers until modern skiing”. Then it’s back to Ushuaia at 16.30. The opening lecture begins at 19,00 and is delivered by our hosts, entitled “Equipment Evolution and Injuries related to Existing Ski Techniques” – an unusual topic choice for an opening lecture me thinks ?

Day 1 concludes with a Street Parade for the delegations through the Streets of Ushuaia with Fireworks followed by the Peoples Party.

So, we’re all good to go! We really hope Members and friends will follow us as we bring you all the highlights of the day on the BASI Facebook page and more in depth comment and observations on the BASI Interski Blog page as and when we can.

 

Why is Interski critical to BASI?

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 3 full time ski schools and Anoch Mor at Fort William hadn’t been developed.

There were literally hundreds of BASI instructors working in the 4 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.

We all know it is no longer anything like that.  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 changed the Scottish resorts forever.  Although there are still many ski instructors working in the Scottish ski areas I suggest they now have to be multi disciplined or have other incomes, there are very few who base their career on ski teaching in Scotland.

So, what has this brief nostalgia trip got to do with the Interski Congress in Argentina?

The demise of career opportunities in Scotland led to a shift from BASI instructors working at home 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 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.

We have been able to influence, to create international and global recognition for BASI qualifications.  BASI now has members working in 38 countries around the world.  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 an inward looking association providing instructors for our home industry to being one of, if not the, biggest exporter of ski instructors around the world.

old interski snapI can trace the tipping point back to 1995, and the Interski Congress in Nozawa Onsen, Japan.

There had been a lot of work done in the background, in fact a huge amount of groundbreaking work, and the 1995 Interski Congress was when a new approach was first presented to the rest of the world.

What was developed then still forms the backbone and basis of everything that we 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 Interski in 1995 the core of this new approach was presented.  It was such groundbreaking 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 said “You have changed your skiing and approach significantly, and we like it.”

At subsequent Interski Congresses we have reinforced that BASI is an Association to take note of.  We had a massive attendance to our workshops at the last congress in St Anton with representatives of most countries coming along.

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.

However, without having strong representation at previous congresses, without sending strong messages to the rest of the world about the quality and depth of our training and philosophies there would not be the recognition for the qualifications, nor the job opportunities that are currently available to our 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 Interski we would not be as well recognized and respected around the world as we are currently.

Your futures and your 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 Interski Congress is a major part of BASI presenting who we are, gaining recognition for our qualifications and providing the opportunities for our members to work around the world.

As part of the 2015 Demo Team, I look forward to representing you all and working hard on your behalf in Ushuia.

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Some Warm Up Turns Before Interski 2015

A chance to make a some turns before Ushuaia

Last week we headed out to Les Deux Alpes for some mid-summer skiing on the glacier. The weather was glorious and we got a solid block of training in. I am a massive fan of heading to Europe’s glaciers in the summer as it is a brilliant time to crack on with work on the basics and building a strong base for the winter as well as enjoying an active summer holiday in the afternoon. Needless to say, it felt awesome making some turns again after a few months off the skis. We also enjoyed some hiking, cycling up Alpe d’huez and seeing James nearly wiped out by his kids group on the luge!

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The first morning I was apprehensive about trying out the new Salomon boots we have kindly been provided with for Interski. Trying to squeeze into new boots at 2800m during the summer is usually an achy ordeal.  I was delighted to be pain free thanks to the excellent workmanship of Colin Martin from Solutions for feet. I can certainly recommend booking an appointment if, like me, you have some funky feet. The service was top notch and several hours were spent getting it right with grinding and punching out room for the lumps and bumps on my feet. New footbeds from Sidas finished off the fit and I am happy to say all the kit is working well together and I can look forward to slipping the boots on again in Argentina at the end of the month.

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We are also fortunate to have been provided with a set of slalom skis from Salomon to use in Ushuaia. Getting back on slalom skis was seriously fun! The snow was freezing over night and we were greeted by boiler plate conditions on some mornings. The skis were holding well and it was thoroughly entertaining to be able to crank a tighter radius than usual after several seasons on longer skis. We definitely have the kit for displaying some dynamic demo’s next month so now its just down to us making sure we bring a good level of skiing to the event.

Although James and I were mostly coaching, we did manage to sneak in some laps each morning thanks to a very early coach’s lift. We put in a bit of practice on our timing both leading and following and gave each other a few pointers on things to tidy up and work on. Due to mostly being on the other end of the video camera these days, it is always a treat to see what is going on in my own skiing. Its also nice to get some ‘constructive criticism’ from my bendy legged fellow coach, James. Having grown up skiing together since we were 10 we have a pretty good idea on how to keep things simple and to the point went critiquing each others turns.

With a little bit of time to train when we get to Argentina the plan is for me is to stop dropping that right shoulder so early on my left foot turns!
We spent the last week of the 14/15 winter completing our Patente conversion in Switzerland. It was two days well spent and I learnt a lot from the snapshot we got of their system. The progressions demonstrated to us on the hill made a lot of sense and I was pleased to have success with some of their methods coaching last week. Next month will be an enormous opportunity to continue learning more from other nations and to bring back a wide range of information to help develop our own system.

I cant wait!

Craig Robinson

BASI Demo Team

JJC – Coach  (www.jjc-training.co.uk)

PDS – Coach (www.pds-training.co.uk)

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BASI Interski Team 2015 – Presenting the Sponsor Line Up

By Nick McKelvey

Over the past 9 months the BASI office team has been working tirelessly to pull together a strong pool of sponsors for the BASI Interski Team who will travel to Ushuaia, Argentina at the end of August to take part in the Interski Congress 2015.

As the departure date gets closer and closer we are pleased to announce that we have sourced a range of sponsors who have committed to supporting the team with a range of products and services.  A big thank you to all our generous sponsors who have come forward to support the BASI Interski Team 2015.

The team suits have been provided by BASI supplier, Avalanche. The suits include full outer wear and a white mid layer puffer jacket similar to the jackets worn by current BASI trainers. These mid layers will become a vital part of the team uniform as they will be embroidered with all the sponsors logos and will be worn when travelling as well as at all the off snow events. BASI has been working with Avalanche for 3 years now as they are the current supplier for BASI trainer uniforms. As we have come to expect from Avalanche, the clothing provided is of the highest quality and looks fantastic.

A number of our long standing Pro Deal suppliers have also offered support with Icebreaker providing base layers for the team and Salomon making a major commitment by supplying the team with that latest lab boots, skis and poles and snazzy trainers for off snow.

10 Peaks will be providing the entire Interski delegation with gloves and we are happy to say they have also committed to running a Pro Deal for BASI members in 2015/16. This new member offer is already up and running and you can find it in the members’ area of the BASI website. From hands to feet, Wigwam socks, a family owned company from the USA, will provide the delegation with the ultimate in ski sock performance. They too have also agreed to come on board as a Pro Deal supplier. The member deal will be launched in September, so keep an eye on your member’s area for details.

Head protection and eye wear is sponsored by Neon Optics, an exciting Italian brand providing; helmets, goggles and sunglasses.

Solutions4feet will undertake the perfect boot fit with insoles provided by Sidas UK and Datawax has kindly supplied servicing equipment for the team as well as providing shirts.

Obviously it is important that the team look as good off the hill as they do on it, so with this in mind, Norwegian clothing supplier Odlo has agreed to come on board, providing casual clothing for the team to wear around town and at official events. Odlo will also be coming on board as a Member pro deal supplier and will produce a limited edition BASI branded clothing range which will be available on our website in the coming months. We’ll keep you updated when this is available.

Once the team have collected all their shiny new equipment and clothing, they will need something to carry it in. UK based company Snokart will be providing the team with luggage bags, making sure all the equipment makes it to Argentina.

Dogtag Insurance, providers of the BASI members’ travel insurance product are not only providing travel insurance for the entire delegation to South America for the event, but they are contributing also to the off snow clothing requirements for the team. Finally, BASI business partners BASS has provided a sponsorship donation towards the cost of attending the Interski Congress.

Pointy Hill Productions is providing video film and editing support so that we have an exciting visual story of the event to share with the membership. Remember you can keep up with the Interski Team on the dedicated web site page.

In total, the market value of the sponsorship is valued at £35,500 from all the sponsors and we are very grateful to them all for their support.

The sponsorship cycle is a 3 year one for Interski and we look forward to showcasing the sponsor brands, their services and products. We hope this relationship will continue to grow over the next few years as we look towards Interski 2019.

If you would like to get involved with Interski or BASI, as a sponsor or supplier, then please do get in touch; we will be happy to work with you to ensure that both parties benefit from the relationship.

BASI Interski Demo Team Training 8-9th November 2014

The BASI Interski Team visited the home of the Matterhorn in November 2014 to work on their demonstrations in the second Team training in preparation for the Ushuaia 2015 Interski Congress. The team were skiing well together despite only managing one day on the hill due to back weather.

BASI Interski Team Training, Zermatt, 8th and 9th of November 2014 from Official BASI on Vimeo.

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