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.


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!


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.

blog photo

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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Interski Argentina Trip 2015 – Now available for booking!

Written by World Class Skiing

28th AUGUST 2015 – 14th SEPTEMBER 2015
WCS is celebrating its 24th year by taking an Adventure!  We are proud to be visiting the 2015 INTERSKI congress in Ushuaia Argentina and supporting BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) and associates whilst we are there.

The 16 day trip will be a whirlwind tour of Argentina and the sights it has to offer.  A four centre adventure with at least 10 days skiing in different ‘once in a lifetime’ resorts.
The adventure begins on 28th August 2015 with a flight to Buenos Aires in South America!  After an evening enjoying the delights of Argentine cuisine and the Tango we depart on our journey…

View over Bariloche and the lake Nahuel Huapi.

Bariloche where we will spend 4 + days skiing at the Cerro Catedral area with its fantastic views and exciting terrain.  Whilst staying in Bariloche, with its bustling town centre by the lake, you can take in the excitement of the city.  Eating out will be great, there are many places to choose from.  It also wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of National Geographic voted ‘Best Views in the World’.

To ensure we gain the most from our South American visit we will be visiting a real Estancia, the Estancia Huechahue, where Jane Williams will welcome us for a few days of sampling the Real Argentina and its fantastic Patagonian vistas.  Here you can relax, walk, or horse ride and take in the atmosphere.  After all, you are surrounded by 15,000 beautiful acres!   Jane farms this vast expanse with the help of a team of Gauchos who ride the steppe shepherding the cattle and sheep in this huge area.  The Estancia is self-sufficient and is pretty isolated; great for star gazing at night!

During our stay we hope to have a mystery 2 day ski tour, perhaps over the border to Chile?  Details will be confirmed as soon as we know more.

Estancia Huechahue…

Isolated Comfort…

The real thing. Horse riding in Patagonia

We then return to Bariloche airport to take a flight to the southernmost city in the world, USHUAIA!  Here we have five days of skiing this amazing area and viewing the impressive INTERSKI congress with the worlds skiing nations demonstrating some dynamic presentations and holding various workshops.  This is truly a one off experience, especially in this amazing location.

And last, but certainly not least, Ushuaia.  Here is somewhere truly different – the harbour, penguins, boat trips, and a mountain with the world’s best ski nations attending and performing at a magnificent event.  Only one question remains – what are you waiting for?!

The southernmost city in the world…Ushuaia


See the BASI team in action…

Syncro Precision…

Evenings to remember…

There is so much to see and do in Argentina and somehow 16 days just does not feel like enough!  An Argentinean steak meal for example will be a steak you will never forget, by far the best there is.

To ensure your peace of mind, we have teamed up with Travel Counsellors, a national network of travel advisors and facilitators who are ATOL protected and have packaged our adventure together to ensure we have a hassle free and exciting adventure.  This means, when making your booking you will be entering into an agreement with the Travel Counsellors and will benefit from all the security that provides.


When in Argentina, the accommodation is listed below by area.  If this accommodation is not available, similar accommodation will be booked.

Rooms are booked on a shared basis.  Should you require single rooms, a supplement will be applicable.

Buenos Aires
Nights of 30th August and 12th September (total of 2 nights)
Accommodation at the Design Suites or similar.  www.designsuites.com

30th August to 3rd September (total of 3 nights)
Accommodation at theEdelweiss or similar.  www.edelweiss.com.ar

Argentina Patagonia
3rd September – 7th September (total of 4 nights)
Accommodation at Estancia Heuchahua.  www.huechahue.com

7th September – 12th September (total 5 nights)
Accommodation at the Hotel Mil810 or similar.  www.hotel1810.com

Total price – £4,449

Deposit required on booking by BACS – £1,360.

Balance required 12 weeks prior to departure (no later than Friday 5th June) – £3,089

Please note: as internal flights must be paid for in full at the time of booking, you must have relevant travel insurance in place before paying your deposit.  Should you then have to cancel the booking at any time, you should be able to claim this back (this does depend on your own policy and is not the responsibility of World Class Skiing Ltd).

What is included in the price?

  • International return flights from London Heathrow to Buenos Aires
  • Internal Argentina flights
  • All transfers from airports to hotels.  Transfers not included are those from hotels to ski resorts and travel once at a location
  • Shared accommodation
  • Breakfast at accommodation
  • Ski performance coaching

What is not included?

  • Lift passes
  • Lunchtime or evening meals unless listed in the itinerary
  • Any special excursions we may wish to take advantage of


Once we are aware of the number of travellers, we will be organising excursions at different venues.  These may then include evening and/or lunchtime meals.  We will keep you fully informed of any changes to the intinerary.

See here for your Itinerary.!

Looking forward to seeing you on our adventure!

The deposit of £1360.00 should be made payable to World Class Skiing Ltd directly by bank transfer.

Bank details will be forwarded upon request. Please note, payment can be made via credit card, however, this will attract a 3.5% fee.

No reservation can be confirmed without the booking form completed in full and returned to us.


By clicking this link you will open the booking form and terms and conditions page, from which you can download the complete form.

High Hopes and Heading to Hintertux

We are a few days away from the next Interski training camp and it’s time to prepare. Winter has been busy with ski school and BASI duties which doesn’t leave much time for the type of skiing required for the demos. Teaching a 3 yr old beginner and skiing at high speed in the middle of 11 other skiers are indeed very different.

First off, I don’t use race department slalom skis for everyday teaching so a few runs to get used to the short turn radius are definitely in order. So far, all of our camps have run in snowy conditions with soft snow underfoot making the runs bumpy and chopped up which has caused a few issues. The last few days have been warm and sunny but overnight freezing has made the pistes hard and icy first thing which throws up different issues completely. Time to sharpen edges methinks.

Luckily for me, I work alongside team members Jaz Lamb and Lesley Page so it’s possible for us to get out and ski together and have a chance to settle in to skiing fast and close.

We are due to arrive in Hintertux on Friday evening so it’s a full day driving for me, leaving at 7.30am should get me there in time for our 5.30pm meeting. Some of the team are running basi courses this week so have a full days’ work followed by a 8 – 10 hour drive so a long day in store for them.

The weather forecast is improving for the weekend so hopefully we should get some good skiing in. Not sure of the agenda but there will be other things that we need to work on over the weekend. The demo is the flagship event that allows BASI to present itself as an organisation with strong technical skiers but there are many other roles and outcomes to be achieved.

This will be the first time we spend time on the workshops that BASI will deliver to the conference in Ushuaia. Who will be delivering in which languages, who will be demoing and illustrating our technical model?

We will be allocated specific countries to gather information from by attending their workshops and lectures, also in many in different languages.

Rumour has it that a race event is also planned and we have plenty of experienced racers on the team who can fill that role.

Whatever happens, I’msure it’s going to be a busy but fun weekend and it’ll be great to have the team together one last time before we head to Argentina.

Written by Becci Malthouse 


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Skiing’s the easy part

What does the BASI Interski team have to do to prepare for Ushuaia 2015? Ski really well? Train the demos?

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20 31 26 (3)The training camps are full of exciting and thrilling skiing.  There is no time for gentle warm ups or ‘finding your ski legs’ everyone just gets stuck in. Everyone is in the moment, everyone is determined to get their part right, everyone is committed to making the skiing demonstration look awesome.

So is that all that is happening to prepare for Argentina 2015? The short answer is No. While the demonstration is a huge part of what BASI want to showcase the individuals skiing skill is probably the thing everyone worries about the least.

The quote “skiing’s the easy part” came from the movie Aspen Extreme which features its own syncronised skiing sequence which is probably why I thought of it in relation to our team. If you haven’t see the movie that is where the similarities between us and the team stop. For one we aren’t wearing onesies and secondly it is basically the movie ‘Top Gun’ but on snow. It depicts the life of a ski instructor with the same level of accuracy that ‘Top Gun’ did in depicting fighter pilots.

The actual skiing bit is easy compared to the mental intensity needed to keep up, stay in place and do your role as best as you can. Team member Jaz Lamb gave us a good insight in his blog about the high level of skiing, as he said, “Its fast, its intense and requires a great deal of focus”. As the reserve on the team I get the opportunity to step out and watch the demonstration. It is brilliant to watch, the overall picture looks dynamic and exciting. Watching from the sidelines also makes you realise how much you have been concentrating. Time passes very quickly while we are training these demos.

A huge part of the Interski conference will be about the team presenting workshops to other nations, attending other workshops and lectures, as well as making friends and links with other nations. Below are just a few of the examples of other things that being part of the Interski team entails:

» Preparation of workshop/lecture content
» Linguist delivering workshops in other languages
» The Ex-British team members racing in the proposed parallel slalom
» Finding and getting sponsorship
» Cross-discipline team members attending and noting down content of snowboarding, telemarking, adaptive and nordic workshops

The BASI office staff also work very hard to make sure they are presenting the information from the event in an accessible way to all members.

BASI member Henry Meredith Hardy has the difficult (and sometimes dangerous job) of filming the skiing sequences. He then has to edit the hours of footage.

Finally the team manager (Roy Henderson) and team coach (Andy McCann) have their vision of how BASI will be presented at the event, which throws up constant logistical problems to solve.Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 20 30 37 (3)

The above are just some examples of the behind the scene stuff that is happening alongside the skiing. There is a real concern that we do everything we can to deliver the BASI product to other nations but also to deliver the information from the conference back to the BASI members. The team are ambassadors for BASI members and they hope to do their best to live up to this honour.

Which is why the quote from Aspen Extreme popped into my head when I was thinking about this blog. The ski school boss (Trevor Eve’s big break) asks the Tom Cruise character of Aspen Extreme “How does it feel to be the best skier on the mountain?”

His reply is so true, “Skiing’s the easy part”