National Academy Day 4: Aussie Interski, Demo Days + 40 Years of Free-Heel

With Rider Rally and Telemark Academy officially kicking off in Big Sky, Montana, the slopes have filled with snow pros from every discipline arcing turns and talking technique.

Equal parts end-of-season celebration, expert-level clinic, and summary of the presentations at Interski 2019 in Pamporovo, Bulgaria, this year’s event is already earning plaudits for its comprehensive overview of the professional snowsports instructor experience.

Here are three of the highlights:

Training Versatile Instructors the Australian Way
Australian National Team member Richard Jameson, who has led clinic groups at National Academy for several years, provided an overview of one of his country’s Interski presentations, which helps train versatile, easily adaptable, instructors who can teach guests of differing cultures and abilities in ever-changing weather patterns on often crowded slopes.

According to Jameson, the system, titled the Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors (APSI) TeachtoTeach System (or ‘T2T’), is structured in a way to provide instructors with all the information required to plan, conduct, and adapt a lesson to suit any situation.

It includes:

  1. An Introduction of 2-5 minutes with an overview what, who, where, why, and what to teach.
  2. A Sample Lesson in which trainers demonstrate a ‘real-world’ lesson.
  3. An overview of Common Problems and how to address them.
  4. A discussion of Duration, or how much time it should take to teach in each situation.
  5. And a Summary, recapping all of the salient points in each section.

You can learn more about APSI right here.

Demo Day
National Academy attendees have the opportunity to test out dozens of new skis, boots, and bindings from PSIA-AASI Official Suppliers at the event. Brands such as Atomic, Blizzard, Booster, DPS, Dynastar, Nordica, Rossignol, Scarpa, Volkl, and 22 Designs brought freshly tuned gear to Big Sky for snow pros to get a sneak peek at next year’s models, and also see how the new technology impacts their own skiing.

“It’s great for us to be at National Academy, where we can connect with instructors from all over the country,” said Atomic Senior Community Marketing Manager Paul Guimond. “This is the one time of year where so many professional instructors from different regions are in one place, and being able to interact with them is invaluable to us.”

“Everyone wants to ski what their instructor or guide skis, and working with PSIA not only helps us grow our visibility on the slopes, it also reinforces the legitimacy of our alpine ski construction,” said Mike Cannon, DPS Special Ops. “Getting to be here in Big Sky, is also a bonus.”

40 Years of PSIA Nordic Team
Forty years after the first official PSIA Nordic (now cross country and telemark) Team tryouts at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, more than a dozen members comprising nine of 10 official teams are skiing together at Big Sky, wearing vintage uniforms while carving on thoroughly modern equipment.

“It’s been 25 years since I have seen some of these people,” Tony Forrest said of a group that includes among others the likes of former Nordic Team coaches Herb Davis and Scotty McGee, as well as Steve Hindman, John Tidd, Deb Ackerman Willits, Dan Clausen, Tom Marshall, Jim Shaw, Tim Ray, Mark Pearson, Barry Smith and present team members Greg Dixon and Grant Bishop. “Getting back on the snow with them and celebrating all the collective years of instruction is a wonderful experience.”