Interski 2023: Ski and Snowboard Takeaways from Austria

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 Alpine Team member Joshua Fogg and AASI Snowboard Team Coach Eric Rolls share their top takeaways from the individual workshops they took with Austria.

Joshua Fogg’s Top Takeaways

  1. The core technical theme to all of Austria’s teaching and certifications is the Alpine Basic Position. In the United States, we’ve called this concept the wall, parallel position, or aligned.
  2. Austria maintains its status as a nation of informed ski instructors through a core technical theme that is adapted to all skiing situations. All instructors can easily identify it, regardless of their certification level.
  3. Simple, easy to identify concepts help build culture, heritage, and pride in a snowsports instructor’s certification level each step of the way. The aim is to never plateau in a skier’s development.

The focus on situational skiing from the basic alpine position creates the ability for a skier to be adaptable and precise.

At PSIA, we often wonder about how much counter is enough. Or how much angulation is considered appropriate. The reference to an aligned position – one in which both ankles are flexed equal to each other so one ski/leg leads and the body aligns around each directional axis or plane of movement to this base – is a great way to determine these answers.

Studying our technical fundamentals helps us better demonstrate these concepts to our guests. It also helps us know the technical message of our lessons so we can spend more of our bandwidth on how we teach and engage our students.

Eric Rolls’ Top Takeaways

Austria is known for their strict centerline approach toward teaching. Although the snowboarders are working toward softening this approach through a variety of techniques, they still seem to have a proper technique for specific outcomes.

The clinic was focused on high-end carving. The technique was one which would be most applicable to alpine snowboard racing, where the stance is very directional. The focus was angulation of the hips, separation of the upper and lower body, and inclination.

AASI promotes a more aligned body position for carving, whereas the Austrians promote separation and angulation of the hips. It did work very well.

For technical skills, this positioning of the body aligns with how alpine skiers promote angulation to direct pressure to the outside ski. It’s worth exploring whether this position will increase better movements of the femoral head inside the pelvis socket.

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