Updated: Jun 10
Having recently attended Interski 2023 in Levi, Lapland, Finland I wanted to write a brief blog with my initial reflections ahead of a more detailed ‘Congress Report and Review’. The latter will be published as an ebook and made available in the coming weeks.
What is Interski?
Interski is held every four years and brings together the snowsports teaching nations of the world to share and exchange ideas surrounding technique, teaching methodologies, learning in the snowsports environment and many other important subjects surrounding the education and certification of snowsport instructors. It covers all disciplines including Alpine, Snowboard, Telemark, Adaptive and Nordic and includes such issues as diversity and inclusion and the environment etc.
The Congress Theme
The theme for this congress was ‘the guest experience is everything’. Having attended four Interski Congresses prior to this one I had some experience of what to expect and hopes for what would transpire. The last congress was in Pamporovo, Bulgaria in 2019 and a lot has happened in the world since then. It is perhaps because of these events (COVID, political unrest, war in Ukraine etc.) that participants were hungry for a meaningful face to face event. And this congress certainly did not disappoint. For me, personally, this was by far the best one I have attended. The atmosphere was amazing, the friendliness amongst nations and individual attendees was warm, the topics covered were diverse and the willingness to share and be open to new ideas encouraging.
In addition to all the aforementioned plaudits the venue was superb. The resort of Levi is compact and easy to get around, the snow was simply amazing, the lifts fast and efficient, state of the art conference facilities, WIFI everywhere, and very slick event organisation using modern technology such as the event app, live stream of the demo slope, professional videography using drones etc.
So, it is hardly surprising then that we, as guests of Levi, Lapland, had an experience that was as good as it could have been. The whole experience reminded me how lucky we are to be snowsport instructors and to bring joy and other positive emotions to the guests that we teach. The experience we had married beautifully with the congress theme and ensured that we left Levi knowing that there is so much more to sliding on snow than simply improving one’s technique. Positive emotions, altered mental states such as flow, social interaction, friendships made and rekindled, appreciation of the beautiful environment where we get to play, inspiration, motivation… and the lists goes on.
This congress more than any I have been to, embraced its theme by creating some magic for the attendees coupled with sharing the daily events all over the world through social media. I personally loved playing a central role in this sharing of information through the Facebook community group Interski 2023 and the Instagram page of the same name and I appreciate how much everyone embraced this. The outcome of this congress I am sure will be very positive as snowsport instructors return to their resorts and snowsport schools and share their experiences with colleagues and guests. For anyone who doubts the value of 'Interski' it is my opinion that this event is of major importance to our industry and helps to drive us forward so that ultimately our snowsports guests benefit from this great international collaboration. Here's to Interski 2027.
Coming soon (was published April 19, 2023)
In my ‘Congress Report and Review’ ebook that will follow I will drill down into the detail and learnings from the event focusing on a number of countries that I had the opportunity to spend time with on their on-snow workshops and/or off snow lectures. There is so much that takes place at an event like this so while my report will be detailed it can only cover a snippet of what happened during the week. It will also be my personal opinion based on my interpretation of the materials and as a snowsports professional of 35 plus years. In addition to the 'featured countries' I will cover some of the top takeaways from the congress and what we can learn for the future.
About the Author
Derek Tate is a ski instructor and director of British Alpine Ski School Chamonix. He is a mental skills coach, positive psychology practitioner and author. He recent books include, "Six Steps for Training the Mind", "Learn, Enjoy, Flow & Grow" and "Transformational Flow Coaching". You can learn more from his author page.
A big shoutout to Elan Skis for giving me a pair of the next season's new ski the Primetime 55 in a 173 length. I absolutely loved the skis and will be doing some follow up video review in due course. An absolutely perfect ski for the Interski Congress.