Great Britain On-Snow Workshops – Summary Overview 9 Sept 2015

Following the success on the demo slope this morning for Great Britain, there was no time to reflect as it was straight into the on-snow workshops.

BASI prepared two workshops; Form-based to skills-based. It’s good for business and the second Bumps and their importance in BASI’s progression.

The objective of both workshops was to explain and demonstrate how BASI’s system has evolved and its practical application in a real teaching environment.

Considerable preparation goes into building the content of the workshops. The team agree who will present what and then as a team discuss how best to deliver and illustrate the key messages in each programme.  Everyone involved has to know the workshop content and how it will be illustrated so that in the event that there is a large attendance, smaller groups can be organised and the workshop message has consistency across each group.

There was a further prep’ challenge for Ru Goldring who led the “Bumps” workshop – no natural bumps, they had to be created!  No mean feat as up until Tuesday evening all the slopes were perfectly groomed and hard as tacks! Ru organised a bumps crew and the task of creating bumps began on Tuesday – lots of sweat and hard work on the poma as the crew skied circuits and created some dents in the snow pack. Nature eventually lent a hand with new snow which made life considerably easier.

The weather was really challenging for the workshops on Wednesday afternoon – cold, snowing, flat light and windy (bit like Scotland then?). A Team’s performance on the demo slope directly correlates with the numbers who attend your workshops. Great demos, high workshop numbers – simple as that!  Becs and Jaz delivered Form-based to Skills- based and attracted an audience of 16, Ru had 3 other team members to deliver to 30 who attended the Bumps bash!

Over the next few days we will pop up the video and notes of the workshop sessions for you in the BASI Interski resource section here: http://www.basiinterski.org.uk/content/

Tuesday 8 September – Day 3 – Interski 2015 Update

Fresh snow this morning and the weather forecast says more on the way!

Today there were demos from Australia, Canada, Switzerland, San Marino, Netherlands and Slovenia. The 5 or 6 cm of new snow produced some challenges on the main demo slope. The soft snow resulted in slower speeds than the firmer conditions of the previous days and so some teams failed to compensate and found themselves finishing further uphill from the finish arena than they had planned or practised!

Great Britain were busy again all day, attending work shops, observing the slope demos and squeezing in a final training session this afternoon (including 2 new required demos from the organisers) before heading back to Ushuaia for the mini lectures.

A highlight today was the ISIA Team Dual Slalom ( see video). The qualifier for this event took place yesterday and this morning when results were posted we discovered that Lynn Sharp, Amanda PIrie and Craig Robinson from Great Britain had all skied blinders to qualify for selection in the Team event!

Those that qualified were put into teams of mixed nationalities and now race in a team knockout series until we get to a final on Saturday. Today, every single member of Great Britain won their individual dual slalom races, sadly despite Amanda’s individual win, her team did not progress through to the next round. However… Lynn and Craig along with their Italian and Japanese team mates are through and will battle again in tomorrow’s dual slalom quarter finals…… we’ll keep you posted as this event progresses.

The Demo programme plan for every nation has always been present 3 demos. Well down here at Interski 2015 – Cerro Castor, Ushuaia. a good plan is always subject to a bit of change and at the beginning of the week every nation was told they had to do 2 additional demos! So we’ve gone from 3 demo requirements (for the last 2 years to 5 demos in the last week – nothing like adding a bit of pressure!

One of the additional demos is the same for all nations – each nation must present a pair of skiers to demonstrate short, medium and race speed long turns. Team Captain, Andi McCann, has selected Amanda Pirie and Lynn Sharp to perform this Demo…..well done ladies… all eyes on you!

So go girls and show em how it’s done!

The additional demo that the team has put together is described by GB Captain, Andi McCann as “BASI’s interpretation of high performance skiing…… ”

Tomorrow (Wednesday 9 Sept) will be Great Britain’s big day. Selection for this demo team took place over 2 years ago and the planning and preparation has been intense with full commitment demanded from everyone.

Skis are fully prepared and tomorrow a global snowsports audience will be waiting…

GO GB!

Interski 2015 – Day 2 – Monday 7 September

Another great day in Tierra del Fuego for Interski 2015. For the next few days the on mountain programme follows a similar daily programme. A number of the teams begin the day with their demo runs in the arena and then follow their demos up with their on – snow workshops.

Off mountain, the mini lecture programme got underway and in the main conference hall tonight we had the key note lecture from IVSS, co – presented by BASI’s own Dave Renouf! The IVSS presentation will be made available within the next 24 hours athttp://www.basiinterski.org.uk/resources/

Today’s demos and on – slope workshops were performed by Andorra, Austria, Chile, Norway, Hungary, Ireland and Croatia followed by their on snow workshops. BASI’s Becs Malthouse attended Chile’s workshop and we’ll have something for you soon from Becs in the Resource area to have a look at.

BASI’s delegation also supported the IVSS Interski Ski School programme today and the video explains what the Ski School programme involves. BASI provided 2 instructors for the Ski School programme and they gave 10 local children 3 hours of fun and learning out on the mountain.

Tuesday 8 September Preview…
Demonstrations and on mountain workshops delivered by Australia, Canada, Switzerland, San Marino, Netherlands and Slovenia and Snowpark and Freestyle workshops are also planned and the key note lecture will be delivered by IVSI in the main conference arena. It’s going to be another busy day!

The Opening Ceremony

The Interski Congress kicked off today with an opening ceremony. Each nation introduced themselves with a run from their demonstration team cheered on by spectators and fellow Snowsports instructors from around the world. Since this was the first opportunity for us to show our skiing skills we were nervous and excited while waiting to go. Someone admitted to having “jelly legs” and there were a few boosting shouts of “have it” and “woop woop“! I have skied competitively since I was young so I am not new to the pressure of pulling out a performance when it matters. However this was different, I am part of a team. My team rely on me to set the perfect rhythm and this team is representing all of the BASI membership to Snowsports instructors of the world. When we were moved forward to go we all felt the intense focus – it was just us and the slope. We nailed it! One of the best bits about being part of a team is sharing in the success. Coach Andi received comments from other much bigger nations complimenting our skiing and professionalism. We will continue to work hard as a team to maintain this reputation of BASI.

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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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