Interski 2023: Two Takeaways on Canada’s Free-Heel Presentations

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 Cross Country Team Coach Emily Lovett and PSIA Telemark Team member Jim Shaw share their thoughts on how Canada is building a great guest experience.

Emily Lovett

Canada creates a collaborative environment using six points focused on the guest experience. Three of them work like our people skills: feel included, feel safe, feel successful. The other three align more with our teaching skill fundamentals: lessons are customizable, lessons are situational, lessons are empowering.

Their teaching/learning cycle is comprised of:

  • Connection with guest/student
  • Tune into the Environment
  • Assess the student
  • Develop skills

Canada also has “Movement Outcomes” that serve a purpose similar to our performance guides.

I like their focus on creating empowering lessons. I think our people skills and teaching skills also create this outcome. But to state that in the curriculum is fantastic. It paints a picture. I also liked the emphasis on creating new activities to help students with technical skills (balance, propulsion, coordination, direction change). In the workshop we were looking for new activities that create learning. Depending on the guest and the desired outcome, we as instructors should always be open to creating new activities that are customized for our students.

Jim Shaw

Canada used this system for all clinics, including picking an environment that is comfortable for the guest and provides structure to what an instructor might do to create a successful experience.

The Canadians were also personable in their approach as they worked to assess the ability of the guest with tasks and skiing, and throughout the lesson continue to assess and develop their ability.

They explained how systems can be valuable, especially to lesser experienced instructors. Systems can provide a road map or a checklist towards accomplishment of certain goals or outcomes. I think their approach expands on what we think of in our people skills. By including how the environment affects the student, we could increase the connection.