One of the great things about NZ’s snowsports scene is the international flavour. Every year we have instructors, trainers and coaches from all over the working in our ski schools and snowsports programmes. It makes for some great knowledge sharing and more importantly some really great skiing! Here’s an article and video from Jon Ahlsen, NZSIA Interski team member, on his New Zealand based mini Interski…….
A few days ago, I had a day I will never forget
There are lots of ski clips on Youtube. There is one that I often recommend my trainee instructors to watch as inspiration before a training day. A few days ago, one of the skiers in that clip, JF Beaulieu, two time Canadian Interski Team member and Rookie Academy Coach, asked if I wanted to ski with him the following Saturday. I was extremely flattered. The man’s skiing is inspirational.
But it got even better, we also had Andreas Spettel: Austrian Interski Team member, examiner for the Austrian full cert and Treble Cone Snowsports School instructor. To make it almost too good to be true we were joined by Jonathan Ballou: US Interski Team member, NZSIA examiner and Rookie Academy Coach. Nina, Andreas’s girlfriend, volunteered to film. The sun was out and you’d be hard pressed to find better conditions.
I work closely with Andreas and he is an astonishing skier. I’ve never seen a skier in such seemingly effortless balance while performing extremely high performance turns. That balance combined with his elegant strength gives him such precision I started calling him Dr. Spettel a few years ago.
Jonathan is well known in the NZSIA. His credentials and his skiing need no introduction. For me, the best part of Jonathan’s skiing is his feel for the snow. He seems to always know how the snow is going to respond, so he’s always right with the pressure – smooth as a cat.
I am Jon Ahlsén, NZSIA level 3 and Interski Team Member, BASI level 4, Swiss Patente and Treble Cone Snowsports School instructor. I was quite nervous about skiing with these guys!
The day became a miniature Interski, with lots of great discussions. We were there as ourselves and not representing our various alliances, but there was some very deep knowledge shared based on our various alliances’ approaches. It got pretty technical – these guys are like ski professors. Here are a few things I noticed:
While there are differences between NZSIA, CSIA, PSIA and BASI, the biggest difference between systems lies between the Austrian system and the others. There are quite a few, but a couple of distinct technical differences are the use of vertical movement for turn initiation and an active angulation movement to balance over the outside ski for the Austrians, while the NZSIA, CSIA, PSIA and BASI tend to focus more on leg rotation for turn initiation and angulation happening more as a result of build-up of steering pressure.
Another difference relates to our demos. While we tend to strive for demos that show only the movements required to achieve a particular turn, the Austrians are willing to exaggerate more to really show the particular movement on which the focus lies.
To me, the difference in technical approaches are mostly visible in the low end demos (basic parallel turns), while they become less visible in high end skiing. Here, it seemed like the skier’s personalities came out more. You could also see a distinct difference in turn type between the one on slalom skis (JF, 13m radius) and the rest of us (Jon – 18m, Jonathan – 20m and Andreas – 21m). We did an unrehearsed syncro run, which shows quite similar movements.
All in all, it was a great day – I learned a lot and had lots of fun. If Interski is anything like this, I cannot wait for next year!