Interski 2023: Telemark Takeaways from Finland and Switzerland

Held every four years, Interski brings instructors together from around the world. The event offers a valuable educational opportunity for snowsports educators to share their innovations and core beliefs. It gives PSIA-AASI, through its national team, an opportunity to compare the American Teaching System with educational approaches of other countries and bring home ideas that help PSIA-AASI members improve and evolve.

Here, PSIA Telemark Team members Jim Shaw and Keith Rodney share their takeaways from workshops presented by Finland and Switzerland.

Finland Presented “Walk and Talk”

Jim Shaw: Finland had one piece that was very interesting, “Walk and Talk.” We walked with another instructor and chatted to get to know each other. We then rode the lift, and the walk extended to moving on skis. Next, we practiced “kicking” into a telemark turn.

Finland continued to introduce exercises to increase the performance. The Finns emphasized a holistic approach and working with people to discover what will work. They didn’t seem to have a set outcome they were moving towards, but rather they let students figure out what worked for them.

My top takeaways from the presentation are the following:

  • Walking and talking is a genuine activity that helps people to get to know one another.
  • When making connections and building trust, let it be genuine.

Switzerland Explored Carving with External Tools

Keith Rodney: Switzerland’s on-snow workshop on carving with external tools taught us how to use a sled or inflatable water device to learn how to stretch out body angles while turning. It was a fun way to learn something new. You could see the student and teacher connection throughout the group. The activity was a fun way to explore a range of motion and new ways to solve problems.

My top takeaways from the prestation are the following:

  • Using tools to introduce external sensations related to the movements of skiing can help students experience success.
  • The tools, such as inflatable sleds, allow students to work in a safe environment exploring movements and focusing on external cues to learn faster.
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