We have just arrived home after taking part in the first ever Interski Congress to be run in the southern hemisphere. We had a brilliant few weeks in Ushuaia, Argentina and gained lots of useful knowledge to bring back to the school. Interski is a big event in the Snow-sports calendar running only once every 4 years. It lasts for 6 days with all the countries demoing their style of skiing and teaching. It is a great way for different countries to keep track of where the technical and teaching advancements are being made in the industry.
On our first morning in Ushuaia we got up for a quick run before breakfast. It was immensely windy with a cold breeze hitting the sea side town although after 24 hours+ travelling it was just what the legs needed! Running next to the Beagle Straight in the dark it was hard to imagine that we would be practicing our skiing demos a couple of hours later. A 45 min bus journey gets you to Cerro Castor which has a summit of 966m, there were some awesome conditions with both the French and Norwegian alpine teams also there a week early to train.
We were lucky enough to have a few days training our demos before the event started. The weather was great and we had the chance to ski some of Cerro Castors runs. It was particularly handy to get some time in on the Demo Hill where we would perform at the opening ceremony. We spent the week tweaking the 3 demos to make them as slick as possible for BASI’s big day. On Wednesday the BASI demo team would perform 5 runs before splitting up to deliver 2 different workshops to representatives from all over the world.
On Wednesday the weather had changed considerably and there was fresh snow on the ground in Ushuaia. This meant we where challenged by some soft and slow conditions. We had time to do a couple of training runs before we were held at the start and placed in alphabetical order with the other nations. After finding out we were no longer classified as Royaume Uni and were once again know as Great Britain we found our spot. Demo 1 went smoothly but wasn’t our best performance. The conditions were fairly tough with soft snow and patches of ice where the soft snow had been scraped away by other teams. This made our short turns hard to judge, every now and then you would find grip on the ice and end up out of line. No time to dawdle we headed straight back up and put in a much better second demo. The demo involved a higher performance turn and was more fun to perform. Smashing a few slalom turns within a few feet of 4 of your team mates is hectic but loads of fun too! Last but not least came demo 3, or better know as, tickle tickle bang bang. The final demo was by far the most fun to do and very high paced with some real consequences! All went well and that was our teams 3 prepared demos completed. After that came a run where different members teamed up to perform different sized turns. Craig and I teamed up with a very good friend of ours Jas Bruce and performed syncro punchy medium radius turns top to bottom. Next up Bumps workshops, but guess what? With all the new snow we had no bumps…..
Once all the days demos are out the way the teams congregate in the finish area to gather up groups for the workshops. BASI had 2 running and Craig and I both covered the bumps workshop. Once we had our groups sorted we headed over to the far poma lift where the powder was quickly turned into 3-4 great bumps lines. Our task was to show other nations that BASI trains instructors to ski different lines in the bumps and introduce the Performance Threads (TTPPEE). Whilst explaining why the bumps are not only a strand but just as important as short and long turns. After a run making different shaped bumps we introduced the 3 main bumps lines we talk about. Straight n scrape, rounded and direct. Giving the guys a chance to try each we then asked them to move from one style to another in same line skiing fast – slow – fast. Doing this gave us the option to talk about threads, what did they use? Was it purely technical? Did anything else change? This went really well and we had some great feedback with a few of the guys asking to come ski with us again the following day.
The end of the workshop signified the end of my contribution to Interski in many ways. Unfortunately after having to ski the GS run on Tele skis I didn’t make the cut off for the dual. Craig went off to take part in the first few stages of the dual event and I stayed to chat about our system to the participants in our workshop. With demos and workshop complete it felt strange knowing that i would be an observer for the next 2 days. It would still be busy though tasked with taking notes in lectures and reporting back on other nationalities workshops. After a 2 year run into the event, training camps in both Hintertux, Zermatt and Ushuaia our day at Interski was done…
The next day went quickly, watching the next group of countries show off their demos. There was a big stand for everyone to sit and watch with a cafe behind for coffee and Empanadas (A tasty mini pasty) galore! It was then straight into more workshops before heading back to Ushuaia for the evening lectures. These were 2 hour long lectures back to back in the evenings. Sometimes the same country would do 2 in a row but mostly it swapped and changed. I covered Telemark, Australia and Slovenia. A Polish Tele lecture was in the old prison which was an amazing old building turned into a museum! To get to the original prison bakery (lecture hall) meant passing through the old corridors full of cells.
The final day saw the end to the dual slalom race. Both Craig and Lynn Sharp did really well with their team finishing in second place. We all got to perform one last demo which was a nice surprise and performing tickle tickle bang bang made it even sweeter! Once at the bottom all the teams lined up one by one to be in place for the final speeches and the hand over of Interski to Bulgaria for 2019. The day ended with a mad dash to the bus to get home, changed and out for dinner and drinks with all the other nations. With Interski over it was time to pack for the next stage of our South American adventure…. the jungle!