Interski 2023: Stephen on Instructor Behaviors and Decisions

Held every four years, Interski is an international event that brings together top snowsports instructors from more than 40 countries. The PSIA-AASI National Team attends to present their latest teaching techniques and get insight into new ideas to bring back home to members. The discussions that take place at the event help PSIA-AASI refine its approach to training instructors and improving the guest experience.

Here, PSIA Alpine Team member Stephen Helfenbein provides a preview of what the team will present at Interski 2023 in Levi, Finland, March 26 through March 31.

What are you most excited about in anticipation of Interski 2023?

The participants! The most committed and enthusiastic snowsports professionals (aka ski nerds) will all be together in one place. Many have spent several years preparing for this event, aiming to impress the world with their ideas and interpretations of skiing. I’m excited to have access to this population for a week.

What I learned from my last Interski in Bulgaria evolved my understanding and motivated me to become a better snowsports professional. I’ll return home from Finland transformed and eager to share what I’ve learned.

Whether on-snow or indoors, what are you presenting, and how does that complement the team presentation?

Ever notice that blue ring in the Learning Connection Model (LCM) that reads, “Instructor Behaviors and Decisions”? We haven’t said much about it since the introduction of the LCM at Interski 2015.

I’m part of a group with Troy Walsh and Brian Smith that will present on instructor decision making. We already know that great instructors are great because of the quantity and caliber of their decision making. We’ll introduce a decision making process that explains how great instructors do it time after time and why decision making ought to receive more attention during the instructor training process.

What are you most interested in learning from the other countries and their presentations?

Culture! I love comparing how differently each country speaks about skiing from a technical perspective. You learn so much about the culture of a country through their interpretation of skiing and how they teach it.

What does the Interski 2023 theme, “The Guest Experience is Everything,” mean to you and PSIA-AASI’s approach to snowsports instruction?

I’d like to think the Interski 2023 message is in response to the American approach to snowsports instruction. PSIA-AASI is a leader in creating positive guest-centered experiences. It’s woven into everything we do. The fact that the rest of the snowsports countries will be focused on the guest experience is proof of our association’s relevance and impact.