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Official newsletter of the Australian Professional Snowsport Instructors Inc. A98X


In this Issue: > Updates from all Technical Directors > What is in a name? > Updates from all resorts

SNOW OWPRO PRO Official newsletter of the Australian Professional Snowsport Instructors Inc. A98X – SUMMER 2009


We had a great year with course and exam numbers up and a great turn out for the Mt Buller Fundraising event. We raised just over $5,000 to go towards the Interski Team visit to Austria in 2011. You should have received your 2009 membership renewal. To take advantage of the early bird fees you need to pay your membership before 31st December 2009. Once you have renewed your membership we will send you your new membership card. Please note that Renewal Form now has a spot for ISIA Stamps request please read carefully if you would like to apply for this. If you accidentally received a 2nd manual at home after picking one up from your resort rep could you please return it us.

Angela WOW! WHAT A GREAT SEASON. It was a busy season on the snow and in the office, particularly with Claire moving onto her great adventures and myself taking over. It was great to see that a majority of you are all taking advantage of the online shop. Please remember if you are having any trouble with the online shop just call or email us – we are happy to help.

I would like to thank all the trainers and everyone that I have been in contact with over this season, particularly those that have helped the APSI Trainers with accommodation across all the resorts this season. Special thanks to all the Resort Reps and a BIG thanks to Andrew, Tony, Warren, Jason and Richard for your help this season. Once again I would like to thank the Board of Management as they continue to support me in my role with APSI. Have a great summer or winter wherever you may be. Angela


Tony Smythe WELCOME TO YET ANOTHER SNOWPRO EDITION. With another season already finished its hard to believe that whilst lazing on the beach in Fiji I read reports that Buller had actually opened for business on the first weekend in May. Great PR and caused a lot of excitement among the locals, and here we are with the footy finished (Go Cats) and the spring racing carnival well under way, there are still reports of plenty of snow in the hills. It was even noted that you could still ski Little Buller Spur to the bottom in mid October. Needless to say, the early opening was only for the weekend, and the dreams of an epic powder season that could top 2008, was not to be. That’s okay though, we made the most of the season and it was business as usual although the doom and gloom of the world financial disasters didn’t really bite into the Aussie season as expected and visitors numbers stayed healthy. Buller seemed to cop the worst of the conditions, (consistent wet fog) and one could be forgiven if you thought you were in New Zealand for a while, however the NSW resorts reported good conditions for most of the season. As always the mountain crews did a fantastic job of preparing the slopes daily which enabled the snow to hold up for the exams, however it was touch and go for a while as to whether the three would stay at Buller. As I write this now, I am still getting calls of how it is still snowing on Mount Buller. It was a season of wild weather, and I guess this just tops it off. (Andy Coleman stills wants know when we are opening Hogs Back). A huge congratulations goes out to all our members who displayed the “true professional” attitude by delivering exceptional products in sometimes very trying conditions, well done. Anyone who has had to ring the office this season may have noticed that the person on the other end wasn’t Claire. At the start

of the season Claire gave notice as she had a wonderful job offer in Dubai and has decided to move on, we wish Claire all the best with her future endeavors. It was sad to see Claire go, as she has been the voice behind the APSI office for many years now and knew the running of the organisation intimately. However we were fortunate enough to have found someone to fill some of the void. Angela joined us in July with the view of a temporary position as it has been decided to move APSI operations back to Jindy. Angela has done an awesome job in hitting the ground running just prior to course registrations and has picked up the role and run well with it. Andrew will now assume some office admin roles over summer from his home office. The view will be to set up a more visible store front in Jindabyne sometime in April in readiness for next winter. More on “true professionals” as always a big thank you goes out to Andrew and the team of TD’s. Its an unenviable task of running each of these disciplines but we are well served by the likes of Andrew, Richard, Jason, Warren and the two Grahams, well done people awesome job. These guys are also well served by the various tech committees, and last but not least to our most valuable assets, our trainers and member, a heart felt thanks to everyone who makes the APSI happen. Congratulations go out to everyone who undertook any kind of course. Any small step in professional development is well recognized by both the APSI and your employers as we recognize that it so much harder, with our shorter seasons and heavy work demands to constantly improve on what we do. Exams went well and everyone was good about working with sometimes trying snow conditions this season. (The level one exams in Victoria got lucky, getting both days of their exam as beautiful sunny days). Whatever the outcome of your exam, it was brave of you to attempt and well done. Exams can be daunting and frightening for most. Just remember why you started skiing to begin with. Once again the worrying underlying trend is of declining participation in course and Exams. 6 years ago we had some 50 plus candidates at level 3 (Mt Buller) with only 18 doing the same this year!!! We have looked at a variety of reasons over the previous years, but we are still in decline. It would be interesting to undertake an exit survey on those that have left the industry. What could it be, job prospects, employment conditions, dramas with getting overseas Visa’s, other real world employment, course content, exam process or are we just seeing a new trend for 3–5 year career instructors. I’m at loss so if anyone has some reasonable feedback, that would be great. Once again this will be a discussion point at board meeting. continued on page 2

Summer 2009



continued from page 1 Next year, is a big year for the APSI as Interski rolls around again. This time the team is going to find its way to Austria for yet another amazing experience. Fundraising for the team is well under way with several very successful events this year. It was great to see some of the team train at Buller this season. Standing on the side of Little Buller Spur it was interesting to note the reaction form the general public as the team blazed by. “I want to do it like that”, was the most common! Then a great evening was had by all at the Apres Bar. These events are quiet easy to organize, you just need some dedicated people to beg, borrow (maybe not steal) enough product to put up for auction. A few of the team, a handy location, a few lavations, door prizes, raffles and away you go. We will certainly be endeavouring to stage a similar event at Buller next year. If you have a great fundraising idea let Andrew know as I’m sure he’ll get behind it 100%. For a “not for profit” organisation it is always difficult to raise funds and I’d like to sincerely thank everyone, however small your contribution, for your sponsorship and support.

to it’s “spiritual home” I’m sure the team will be in for lifetime experience. Interski is a learning experience for everyone involved. It helps us grow and evolve as a organization by giving and sharing ideas and concepts. Please get behind the team as its beneficial to all. Once again with the uncertainty of USA visa’s, I hear more and more anecdotes of members choosing a summer. I for one subscribe to that notion! This summer will find me in Jan Juc enjoying the sun, surf heat and the Boxing Day test at the G. After last year I spent the winter freezing in Vermont, where the temperature is measured by the number’s in brrrrrrrrrrrrrr and the only fashion statement was “warm” I would like to wish everyone a good summer, or winter. Whatever you choose to do in your “off-season” be safe and have as much fun as you can. Have a good rest of the year and I hope to see you next season. Turn left, turn right, and do it all again (if you have to). Tony Smythe

Austria is much anticipated, if the event is anything like the bid they presented in Korea “promoted as” taking skiing back

Picture supplied by Paul Lorenz

Andy Dean

Kate Haring


Tim Robertson

Richard Jameson



Summer 2009


As a Board, we are doing our best to keep the G&A costs to a minimum by having teleconferences instead of travel to board meetings, and you will note Andy’s words on the closure of the Wodonga Shopfront. Angela, Claire’s replacement has proven a boon to us as she is proving wise on financial predictions and management and has already introduced substantial cost saving measures in her G&A department. So, as members, how can you help? At the risk of telling you to suck eggs, here are a few dot points that might help:

I Discipline Directors should be as economical as possible with travelling and accommodating Trainers – this represents a large cost to us;

I Trainers should try to minimise their costs by grouping travel and taking suitable, but not over the top accommodation;

Warren Feakes SEEING THE FINANCIAL SITUATION OF THE APSI HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT DISCUSSION POINT OVER THE LAST TWO AGM, I THOUGHT I WOULD SAY A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE WAY WE ARE CURRENTLY MANAGING OUR FINANCIALS AND THE WAY AHEAD TO KEEP US FROM DOOM. Those who attended the last AGM will understand the way the APSI operates in a financial management sense. We essentially have four “Business Units”. Three of these are totally dedicated to generating funds (Profit is not the right word!) and the fourth is the engine room of APSI which needs those funds to continue doing business. Below is a diagrammatic representation of the Units with relative sizes of the $ values. Now, if the totals that come from the top three boxes don’t exceed the requirements of the bottom box, we are in financial difficulty – BROKE. In fact, it is a little more complicated than that because the General and Administrative expenses (call it G&A), including things like the permanent staff wages and the rent, phone, printing, post, insurances, to name a few, continue throughout the year, whereas the income streams are mostly seasonal. This means that the income streams not only need to balance the G&A, but we need to end up the season in October with sufficient surplus funds to see us through the period to May June the next year when income streams begin again in earnest. More complex still, we need to make about $30,000 to $50,000 as an operating surplus on top of that to cater for the cycle of uniform purchases every few years and the upfront costs of producing manuals and purchasing goods for sale through the shop. We would also like to be able to donate a substantial amount to the INTERSKI fund every four years, which is kept as a separate untouchable account, so that the Demo team members’ costs are kept to a minimum.

I Members – try to pay your memberships as soon as possible in the year as it improves our cash flow; I Encourage new members;

I Push Manual sales – even to the general public who are interested in what we do;

I Seek sponsors – this is hard because, if you are like me, you are your most favourite receiver of sponsorship;

I Encourage course and Exam attendance – if you look at the courses closely, you will see they represent good value for money; I Push the Entry Level Open courses and the Spring Session and encourage your friends and Joe Public to attend; I Tell everyone who will listen (and those who wont) that APSI is the greatest, most professional and dynamic organisation in the universe.

As a Board, we are far from the font of all knowledge and realise there are members out there who might have ideas on how we can run more efficiently or get sponsorship. The board members are always open to suggestions and WILL follow them up. And – the bottom line as I look at the $$$$$$ in the middle of October is OK rather than good but better than last year but we will survive and have sufficient funds to carry out our plans for Season 2010 and beyond. Warren Feakes

Courses and Exams

Hopefully you can now see that the financial management of APSI is a delicate balancing act and where it affects you as members most is in Course and Exam costs. We go through agonising financial contortions at a board meeting every May to ensure we are keeping costs to members to a minimum as well as making enough money to keep us afloat. We are not out to make a profit, but we need to survive.

Membership Subscriptions

Manuals Donations and Goods sales

General and Administrative Expenses Summer 2009




All APSI disciplines suffered a decrease in participation in some areas but it was not all bad news. Nordic and telemark was down but adaptive was up which can be attributed to being this season’s 2nd discipline of choice (as opposed to telemark which was last winter). At some resorts course participation for level 2 Snowboard and Alpine was also low but exam participation was not. However, due to all the doom and gloom before the winter as I mentioned previously, we prepared for the worst by taking a conservative assumption of expected numbers and now that it is all said and done it is interesting to note that in alpine alone there was a 32% increase on the projected participation for this season. Meaning that the season ended up better than we expected. Like a jig-saw puzzle many components came together over the year to achieve results like this, some major ones this year included;

Andrew Rae ‘ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, NO ONE WILL EVER SKI THIS YEAR!’ AND ‘BECAUSE LAKE AYRE IS FULL WE SHOULD EXPECT THE BEST SEASON EVER’, THAT’S ALL I HEARD LEADING UP TO THIS WINTER. Well unless you count the snow currently falling in October; winter was simply ‘an average one’. Although from most reports, guest participation was solid at all resorts, at least enough to keep most snowsports staff busy. Now that another winter has come to close and we all head for warmer climates to thaw out or play the visa waiting game to keep the endless winter alive, I thought it might be worth while pointing out some of the interesting details of winter 2009.

Andy and Richard (left)



Summer 2009

Renaming the children’s certificate (CC) to the ‘Entry Level course’ to better reflect the entry point to the snowsports industry. This entry level qualification was opened up to the general public. Allowing non-resort employees to get a taste of instructing and become certified before looking for employment. An APSI entry level course was offered in Niseko Japan in summer 2008–2009 (see article on page 28). The 8th edition of the alpine manual was finished, which included some top photos and easier to understand progression outlines. It proved to be so popular that a second print run had to be re-ordered mid winter, of which most have already sold. continued on page 5

continued from page 4 Standardising qualification updates were achieved by offering the recall for alpine and snowboard as either a home study (with 6 hours of in-house training) or by participating in the spring sessions. The alpine level 2 underwent some major changes. The shortening of the course proved to be more achievable, leaving the ISIA components as optional extras. An additional freeski-make up course was needed for people from the older level 2 system, which attracted additional participation showing a demand for additional training courses. National team training and fundraising for Interski 2011 went well this year in both NSW and Buller, with the team working hard on updating the direction of our Aussie style. The alpine tech committee discussed many ideas for thought over summer. These ideas for updating the current system was discussed both indoors, with input from some of the snowsport directors as well as outdoors where Richard and I used an overnight trip to Kosciusko to take a moment to reflect on the season of 2009. Please see his ‘chief of exams’ report for an outline of the how the alpine exams ran. These dips and rises in participation will be further discussed by the technical directors and any changes to the system will be finalized over the summer and added to the website. I would like to remind you that the website as well as the APSI face book page will stay constantly updated and should be your portal to what’s new at the APSI.

I Level 3 alpine tasks are set to change slightly to meet the demands of both demonstrating the performance model versus true freeskiing.

I An increase in the opportunity to be updated. The recall is your obligation and keeping your qualification current allows you to best meet your employer’s needs.

I Moving the APSI office to Jindabyne in an effort to streamline the APSI administration. As with any seasonal wrap up there are so many people to thank for their efforts over the winter, a lot of which goes under the radar as it is often volunteered time. But firstly after many years Claire has left the APSI office and on your behalf I would like to thank her for all her input into our association. Secondly, we equally welcome Angela who started in the middle of August and handled the demands very successfully.

I The adaptive exam process.

I would also like to thank all the TD’s for their management of each discipline, the national team, all our trainers/examiners and tech committees and most importantly you the members, for staying involved. It takes input from all of us, working together to provide the best instructor training possible with the resources we have available.

I Increased availability of courses for part-time instructors.

Looking forward to working on further improvements for 2010.

Here are some of the ideas that will be addressed over the summer, so keep an eye out if they directly affect you; I Spring sessions will become available in each state and hopefully early enough to be used as additional training for exams.

I Streamlining of the available resit dates to best utilise snow conditions.

Andrew Rae Training & Programs Director

Picture supplied by Andrew Dean

Early Morning at Buller

Summer 2009




So with both the precourses done it was up to me to work on my skiing and practice my teaching. I had a lot of support from the crew at Charlottes and they allowed me to practice on them and videoed me when I asked.

Tom Gellie THIS WINTER I MADE THE DECISION TO CROSSOVER FROM TELEMARK AND FOCUS ON MY ALPINE SKIING SO I COULD UNDERTAKE THE LEVEL 3. Being multi-disciplined has been a great asset so far. I get a variety of work, extra hours when it may be a quieter period and it keeps me interested spending most of my last 4 years in winter. But there is no doubt that the majority of the people I teach are on Alpine skis. For this reason I wanted to do my level 3. For the last three seasons I have been teaching out of Charlotte Pass. With a ski school that at the busiest period is 12 people it can sometimes be a challenge to train or even find someone to train you! But on the brighter side, I have learnt to do self training and work with what I’ve got. This was my challenge for 2009. First up was the Teach and Demos course held at Thredbo. Over the five days I was given great feedback from Marty Firle on what I needed to do for my demos and shown new ways to teach high end skiing. I took a lot out of listening to the feedback Marty would have for the others in the group and how he would go about correcting their skiing. There was plenty of time to enjoy the wicked snow conditions we had too with fresh snow three out of the five days. This gave me a chance to also meet and ski with some new found friends; Phillipe, Teddy and Jamie. We had some great mornings ripping around Michaels Mistake hucking rock drops and slashing wind blown powder. I was so already stoked I had decided to do the 3 if only just to meet these good guys. This week still holds as one of my better memories for winter 2009. There was only 4 days in between Thredbo and the Race and Freeski component at Perisher. Just enough time to do a few days work and get in a day backcountry touring to get my head away from ski instructing.



The Race and Freeski pre course didn’t bring as great snow conditions as Thredbo. We saw a lot of the fog and heavy snow that was typical of the 2009 winter. This made for interesting race training but good bump skiing. I liked the challenge of being pushed to ski hard, fast and direct in both the racecourse and the moguls. The highlight of the week was definitely the afternoon when the other guys went home early (as they were soft and needed a rest) so Marty and I went and skied Pow. There was nobody around and we had fresh lines down Rock Garden and soft powder bumps on Yarrandoo.

Summer 2009

When it came to the exams at Mt Buller I felt pretty prepared. I had in my head all that I understood about each of the different teaching tasks. I also believed I was at the point where I could ski confidently under the pressure of exams. Easier said than done when it came round to it. On my first bump run I hit a mogul too directly and blew apart, double ejecting and sliding penguin style down the hill. Lucky you get two runs. The other freeskiing components went by and before I knew it day one was over with no other stacks to report of. PHEW. Next morning the race was run and was so much fun. Everyone did really well and looked like they enjoyed themselves. Some taking it pretty serious wearing skin tight old school ski outfits from the eighties to reduce wind resistance. Second run through and I decided to go for it resulting in another crash. It didn’t bother me too much as I was getting used to bailing at Mt Buller. The rest of the components were slowly ticked off before finally we were told to go relax and have a beer or two while the results were compiled. We all sat in Apres bar nervously waiting and sipping our drinks. Once the results were read out there were some big celebrations. I was lucky enough to be one of those celebrating success. It was a great feeling of relief and achievement. I rang all my loved ones and sent a message to the Charlottes crew that I’ll be drinking enough tonight to make them all happy. And I did. So thank you to the APSI for the scholarship. I wouldn’t have been able to do it this year without it. Well done to all those who passed and good luck to those resiting next year. Now its back to getting my heels loose and running lots of telemark courses! Tom Gellie


Jason Toh THIS SEASON AT FALLS CREEK WE HAD A GREAT GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO WERE TRAINING FOR THEIR LEVEL 3’S. With diverse experiences from different countries including Canada, Austria, Sweden and Japan, I learnt as much from them as I did from our trainer. Almost all went for a pre-course but only 3 went for the exams. At the level 3 examinations this year, there were 16 people in total including those doing re-sits. Cost remains one of the largest issues facing an instructor who is aiming to go for his levels. On top of course and exam fees, an instructor has to finance the travel and accommodation at another mountain. Time taken off work also means that one sacrifices income when taking a pre-course or an exam. These in combination add up to a substantial financial burden. While those of us who choose to do so reveals an admirable

commitment and dedication, an environment which is conducive to producing better trained instructors within the industry is required. As athletes we experiment with other sports and can successfully apply traits of it to our skiing. Similiarly, other industries have effective employer sponsored and compulsory training programs. Examining others methods and processes and looking at their adoption into our unique seasonal industry could prove beneficial. Employers play a key role in the implementation of professional development programs for their staff. Establishing systems that support and encourage skill advancement is crucial to growing the sport. Exploring the possibility of the APSI becoming a registered training organization could be ONE way to access government funding and candidates may then be applicable for allowances for undertaking training. Currently the APSI provides direct financial assistance through the Sodergren scholarship. The Sodergren scholarship allowed me to go for the exams this year. I would have found it very difficult to do so otherwise and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity I was given. Certification helps make us better skiers and instructors therefore giving us the ability to deliver a much better product. Each passing year sees more fully certified instructors leave the industry for ‘real’ jobs. Most wish they didn’t have to and it’s unfortunate losing people who are still so passionate about their jobs. Given such a rate, there are more leaving than there are replacing them. We need to find a way to either keep them, or make more of them. Jason Toh

Picture supplied by Andrew Dean

Feathertop – Mt Buller

Summer 2009



To RTO or not to RTO? That is the question Shortened terms used in this article include: RTO – (Registered Training Organisation) ISIA – (International Snowsports Instructors Association) ASPA – (Australian Ski Patrol association) OEG – (Outdoor Education group) AQF – (Australian Qualification Framework) RPL – (Recognized Prior Learning) Exploring the possibility of the APSI becoming an RTO is something that the board has thought about for sometime and as a group they consider both the pros and cons very carefully. Some of the major benefits of becoming an RTO include giving our members recognised skills that can be transferred to other industries upon leaving their job as an instructor, or allowing opportunities for summer employment within Australia and we also found that an affiliation with an existing RTO can potentially be cheaper, then becoming a full RTO. As the question is often asked, I thought I should pass on some of the history of assessing the viability of becoming an RTO as well as outlining where the board stands at this point.

I The idea of the APSI joining the AQF by becoming an RTO has been on the ‘boards’ table since Kerry Lee-Dodd was president. I In 2003/04 Dave Anderson asked me to do my certificate IV as a workplace trainer & assessor partially to see if the national training scheme was of interest to the APSI. During my time I discussed the idea with my lecturer, who wondered “Why does APSI need to be an RTO when the APSI are the industry leaders in snowsports instruction & are internationally recognised as the only training providers”. He also questioned whether the benefits are high enough, as the APSI system is strong & to convert it to one like an RTO would mean taking on their whole package. In other words we would have to use similar units like ‘planning & presenting’ as well as different ones like an assessment system that only allows for ‘competent & not competent’, different to the APSI which currently uses a grading system. I During the course I gained recognition for some units through RPL (without being a current RTO) and implemented some of the stronger concepts I learnt into our training program.

I In 2004 after the TAFE course I had a discussion with Pete Holmes on the idea of APSI becoming an RTO; he is an APSI trainer & works for Swinburne University (TAFE) which is an RTO, based in Victoria who currently have an agreement to provide APSI Nordic courses for their staff. His suggestion was that we have an already good training program that does not need to be diluted by joining the AQF; E.g. having to only train to the minimum expected standard rather than keeping the well recognized international standard we currently hold for each of our levels.

I In 2005/06 I had a discussion with Richard Hemsworth president of ASPA who were offering modules from the AQF for ‘emergency care’ to allow opportunities in qualification transfer for their members. Richard also discussed the possibility of APSI becoming an affiliate member of ASPA. Allowing us to run our training system under their RTO status. This would come at less of a financial burden to our members then becoming a full RTO (which needs updating every 4 years). Although it would put a question mark about our recognition as the sole training provider of snowsports instruction, this is a prerequisite to membership of the ISIA.



Summer 2009

I In 2007 I attended a meeting in Canberra with Peter Collins of ‘Service Skills Australia’, a non-profit council that helps support skill development in industry. The reason for this meeting was to discuss current government recognition options as well as funding opportunities.

I Peter felt that it would NOT be in our interests to become an RTO. He would like us to be involved in the updating of training packages that include snowsports instruction, as we are leaders in this industry and suggested that we have two options with regard to recognition:

1. Align ourselves with an existing RTO & effectively work as their technical ‘training provider’, (this is the most cost effective option & the suggested choice was OEG) 2. OR Remove snowsports instruction from the qualification framework, currently all outdoor education students in Uni’s or the TAFE system obtain their qualification through the APSI but receive recognition through the AQF which has units copied from an old version of the Canadian system. Which means the AQF is not using a true reflection of what is being taught in the Australian industry

I Peter also researched Funding options and found that in our situation if we followed an RTO pathway funding could become available for the employers of instructors, allowing some candidates to register as apprentices, this funding could then assist their training pathway. At which point he suggested that APSI would then need to increase their course prices, as he explained this is how most training providers benefit from the current government assistance for employers of apprentices.

I Direct funding for the APSI as a training provider needed further researched by Peter, meaning that this was not very positive as most assistance within this framework is only available for either the RTO or employers of apprentices. Not training providers, which is what we would be classified as.

Although the benefits would surely help some APSI members there are many unanswered questions that could affect a larger majority of members in a negative way, questions that need answering before the APSI board could choose to become an RTO. Negatives that have made the board question becoming an RTO include, cost, affect on our International recognition, other RTO’s can be opened up to provide snowsports instruction and diluting our already recognised system. At this point the APSI board will continue to look at options for additional skills recognition and funding to make courses and exams cheaper for our members whether it is through an RTO, a university, sporting organization or whatever is available. The choice will be made for the benefit of the majority of members. Right now being the industry leaders nationally (which we are), plus our affiliation with ISIA (which helps with International employment) seems to be the best choice. If you have any comments or ideas to help the board with further research on this topic please do not hesitate to contact me. Andrew Rae, APSI training & programs director


Warren Feakes IT WAS A GOOD SEASON FOR ME BUT I FEEL IT WAS DISAPPOINTING FROM THE APSI NORDIC COURSES POINT OF VIEW. PERISHER, LIKE THE OTHER RESORTS, WAS BLESSED WITH AN EARLY START AND THAT WAS WHERE THE NORDIC WORLD CHANGED FOR THE BETTER. A new Ski School – Kosciuszko Cross Country Ski School – opened in Perisher in 2009. As Senior Instructor, I had the opportunity to put the APSI stamp on the ski school early and insisted that we would only employ on the following basis: I All instructors must be financial members of APSI;

I They must be at least Level 1 Nordic or training to be Level 1, and,

I All instructors must partake in in-house training for their next level. We also decided to pay so well that we could pick the instructors we wanted and be assured of getting their undivided attention. The school went well, mostly due to previous connections of all the instructors and interschool competition. We opened with a huge recall and brought a few Level 2’s, a Level 3 and a L3 Trainer back into the APSI fold.

Level 3 at Falls Creek or Buller, the only formal course to run this season. These turned to dust as it was all but impossible to get two candidates out of the four who wanted to do it to turn up on the same five days. This was quite disappointing as said Trainer, Marie-Catherine Bruno, who is at Silverstar Nordic under Nordic Manager Glenn Bond, was very keen to run the course. From a technical viewpoint, this would have been a great course as the Canadians are struggling with some of the same technical issues surrounding “rotation” as ourselves in skating technique and Marie-Cat, apart from being an excellent Classical teacher is on the CANSI “Rotation Workshop Group”. I am contributing to that group through Marie-Cat as well as holding hopes for another visit by her next season. Regardless, I will attempt to get early input from interested parties on Level 3 for next season and run a course, even if I have to go to Victoria and run it myself. With that and other possible courses in mind, I would like feedback as early as possible, direct to me ( of those wishing to do courses and their availability next season. A general idea as to whether weekends, split weekends, weekdays are better or school holidays are preferable to non-holiday periods would be appreciated. Meanwhile, Zac Zaharias and I are looking forward to competing at the inaugural World Masters Winter Games in Bled, Slovenia in January, doing some instructional work in Obertilliach, Austria, and then to the Masters World Championships in Falun, Sweden followed by my third Vasaloppet (90km race) for a return to Oz in mid March. Ski Skinny. Warren Feakes, Technical Director Nordic

Lake Mountain had early snow and was actually ready to go with temporary facilities, new grooming machines and instructors galore. The Director, Alan Eason, is still persisting with Log Book training of his instructors but poor snow conditions from half way into the season meant closure so the best laid plans of skinny-skiers and mung-beaners were curtailed. Still, there is next season. I managed to get a business visit visa for a CANSI Level 4, Course Convener (Trainer) and Coach for a 6 week visit and plans were to have her run a

Summer 2009




Graham Hammond CONGRATULATIONS GO TO ALAN DAVIS AND ANDY LANE FOR PASSING THEIR TELEMARK LEVEL 1 EXAMS. EXCELLENT RESULTS AND SUPERB NEW INSTRUCTORS COMING THROUGH TO SHARE THEIR PASSION. WE ALL LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING SUCH STRONG SKIERS AND TEACHERS COME THROUGH AND DO MORE TELEMARK INSTRUCTION. Been a very quiet winter for the telemark discipline. Only the above exam was held at Perisher in September. It makes us all look at the reasons for this. Bad telemark fashion?, Bad YouTube telemark footage?, Telemarkers being tight with their money?, Shortage of scroggin? Plenty to speculate on. Although telemark instruction is not the highest on the list when it comes to overall snow sports, it certainly has a place. How many telemark skiers do you see on resort? There’s always a few and then there’s the staff on the mountain who are also skiing telemark. It’s always there and has everyone wanting to one day have a go. It will never take over the world but its certainly becoming more available to try. Also the equipment is getting a lot better looking, along with good advances in performance. One important note is that we are making telemark even more in line with alpine so its easy to cross over for those with their alpine certification. Alpine and telemark share a lot in common. If you get instructed or train on a course you will see a lot of the same skills and approaches. You will be surprised at how much your training will help. Sharing this knowledge between disciplines has and will continue to be of great importance to the development of the sport. If you have been skiing with Tom Gellie or been watching his telemark skiing, you would have noticed something different with his boots and bindings. He steps in and out easily and no faffing while getting in and out of his bindings. That’s thanks to the new binding/boot interface. A lot of the manufacturers have teamed up to produce this new system (Rottefella NTN). As a result there are a lot more skiers becoming even more interested in having a go. Check it out and look it up. Even those manufacturers who haven’t adopted this system are working strongly towards the same idea. Watch out for advances in telemark equipment in the next winter or two. So even though its been a rubbish year for telemark courses it doesn’t mean that it’s failed. Just means next year more encouragement is required for those who have always wanted to have ago. And for those who are flat out teaching and find it



Summer 2009

Skier. Tome Gellie Photo. Susie Burgher hard to find the time, well we will have to be more creative. There are some quality instructors out there who will be more than keen to shed some light on how to do it. Your suggestions on future initiatives are welcome. Tom Gellie (Tele Tom) has well and truly moved upwards this year by passing his Alpine Level 3. A strong telemark skier and trainer and is a great asset to have in the APSI. Member of the APSI Demo Team and continues to bring enthusiasm and progressiveness to the sport. Great work Tom! While Tom will be spending the season in Utah, I’ll be returning to Europe for the season. We’ll be doing plenty of telemark turning and will be getting more people interested in telemark skiing. For all of you heading for a northern winter, have a go! Guaranteed you’ll love it! Ski ya later, Graham


was held in Falls Creek. The exam was conducted by Sven Erikson, Mike Finnigan and George Susil. Seven candidates attended and were all successful. On the 12th of September, Manuela Brunner, Robbie Hoier and myself conducted the N.S.W. exam, at Thredbo. The 14 candidates made up the second largest group, to ever attend an adaptive exam. Though it was a very long day, all candidates were successful. With these high numbers, it may be possible to have a Level 2 format and exam, ready for the snow season in 2010. I have been gathering information, from the P.S.I.A. adaptive formats, whilst in Aspen, each year.

Graeme Morris AS I AM WRITING THIS REPORT, ONE WEEK AFTER THE OFFICIAL CLOSING OF THE N.S.W. RESORTS, THE WEATHER HAS GIVEN THE MOUNTAINS MORE SNOW THAN WE HAVE RECEIVED ALL WINTER!! MAYBE WE SHOULD MOVE THE START OF WINTER TO SEPTEMBER!!! I attended a very successful Coordination Clinic at Mt Hotham, in June. In attendance, were trainers and rookie’s, representing all the resorts, with the exception of Mt Baw Baw and Mt Buffalo. D.W.A. ski guides also attended. This was the most positive attendance at a Coordination Clinic in years. Reflecting this, was the number of participants attending exams in Victoria and New South Wales – a record number. This was a 110% increase on last season’s participation. I had intended to help with the exams in Victoria but unfortunately blew my shoulder out, at the end of July. The first adaptive exam for the season, was held at Mt Hotham on Saturday, the 5th of September. The exam was run by Dean Shepherd, Mike Finnigan and rookie George Susil, who are all based at Mt Hotham. Five candidates attended and were all successful. Responding to the enthusiasm of the trainers, generated throughout the first half of the season, a second adaptive exam,

Many thanks to all the trainers and especially all the candidates. I would like to thank Andy Rae for his participation, at the N.S.W. exam, this year. His feedback about the day was greatly appreciated. For anyone thinking about heading overseas, to gain further adaptive experience, check out this website, “Challenge Aspen” is based in Aspen, Colorado, where I have taught for 16 seasons. They are always welcoming volunteers to help with their constant flow of disabled people who come to the resort. This is usually is in exchange for a lift ticket/season pass. Also, The “National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic” is held every year in Aspen/Snowmass. The dates for 2010 are 28 March to the 2nd of April. Check out volunteer possibilities at their website You can contact me at regarding help with accommodation, if needed. In conclusion, with the interest shown and exam success of this season, I am “almost handing” over the reins to the new guard. Have a fun, safe summer or northern winter. See you all next season. Graeme Morris ADAPTIVE COORDINATOR

ALPINE TEACHING MANUAL 8TH EDITION The latest version of the ‘Alpine Teaching Manual’ is now available to APSI members. The manual was a big hit in 2009 with clear descriptions of the ‘Performance model’ new photos and great teaching tips from the current National Demo Team Manual is available through the APSI online shop. THESE ARE ONLY $85.00 WHEN PURCHASED ONLINE (Plus postage & handling)

Summer 2009




Jason Clauscen THE 2009 SEASON HAS COME TO A CLOSE AND FOR THOSE WHO WERE THERE IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS HAVE SEEN THE MOUNTAINS GO FROM A DUST COLOURED RED, TO A FRESH WHITE 35CM COVER JUST PROVING WHAT A STRANGE SEASON IT TURNED OUT TO BE. Only a few weeks earlier when exams were about to start, it looked like it was going be a struggle just to see the exams and the season through then along came Mother Nature to prove once again anything can happen in the land of OZ. Looking back over the season there were definitely a few things that stood out for me. The first would have been the strong results seen at the start of season resits. It appeared the candidates had taken their feed-back onboard, worked and trained hard and they deserved their good results. The next would have been the Calendar that was put out at the start of the season. It had programmed a number of early events aimed mainly at Level 2 and 3 courses. This did catch a number of people off-guard. Just a warning for 2010 – it could happen again. The calendar is always a hard one to predict with variations in snow conditions, holidays and work requirements for the resorts it is always going to be difficult to make everyone happy. If you’re interested in doing a course or certification, make sure you plan your budget and keep track of when the events are on.

Over the past couple of seasons we have been trying to promote the Freestyle Certification and there still appears to be good interest in this area but candidates are not committing early enough. I understand that there have been limited opportunities for candidates to get away from there resort, but we will endeavour to hold a course at each resort next year and have a national exam if the numbers are there. The New Entry level for Snowboarding has come into effect, but unfortunately no members of the general public attended this season. If you know of anyone who is interested in becoming an instructor, whether they are students or friends please let them no there is now a pathway for them to enter the instructors’ world. I could go on and on writing about the levels and results for the season but for those that are really interested in finding out more in depth, I would recommend coming along to the Spring Session or the National Training Days that are at each resort during the season. The Demo team is still looking for sponsors to help the team travel to Austria and represent the Australian instructional system at INTERSKI 2011. If anyone one has any good fundraising ideas or possible sponsor connections, please fell free to let the APSI know about them. Last but not least. This season saw a number of trainers leave the APSI. For those trainers I would personally like to thank you for your time and effort over the years. It also saw a number of trainers step up to the crease and take on new challengers. I would to thank those people for their help and hope they will be returning next season. I don’t need to name you. Those people know who they are and how much they have helped. Thank you I hope to see you all next year and for the summer or winter, be safe. Jason Clauscen



Summer 2009


After many years with the company Lisa Harris will be stepping down as Snowsports Administrator, Lisa will continue to be involved with the school in a less time consuming role. Thanks Lisa for all you support and effort working alongside us over the years we will miss you. A big thanks to Matt Smith for structuring a great training program that saw the Thredbo pass rates for instructors attending APSI exams increase considerably this past season.


As you head off overseas or look ahead for a nice hot summer spare a thought for our dear friends Erika Boyle and Max Issac who have their own mountains to climb. Our best wishes are always with them. Where ever you are and whatever you do live life to the fullest. Take care and see you all next season. Shelley Carter

Plenty of wind this season provided us with some excellent powder skiing. August warmed up quickly and things got interesting but in typical Australian style we hung in there and made it through to October.


say a special thanks to all the Falls Creek Trainers for their dedication and leadership during the inclement weather, as well as commending all trainees for their steadfast commitment to self improvement. Well done to everyone for their professional development throughout the season and congratulations to all those who passed their exams. Additional mentions go to Falls Creek instructors Cassandra Sigmund and Ben Hensley for topping the NSW and Vic Level 2 Alpine exams respectively, and Josh Haywood for topping the Vic Level 1 Snowboard exam.

Tom Langtry THIS SEASON AT FALLS CREEK SAW ONE OF OUR MOST SUCCESSFUL HIRING CLINICS EVER, WITH MANY EXCEPTIONAL NEW STAFF JOINING THE TEAM. An early quieter week at the resort allowed for quick completion of the Entry Level pre courses by both skiers and snowboarders. Then July schools holidays hit, with all the fun that goes with it. The fog, wind and rain that accompanied July and August tested instructing and training motivation to the limit. I would like to

This year saw Falls Creek guests enjoying top to bottom skiing on Wombat’s Ramble all season thanks to new snowmaking infrastructure and incredible work by our grooming department. The Night Show Spectacular was again a huge success, wowing guests through July and August. Thanks from all at Falls Creek to Claire for her great work to the APSI over the years, we wish you well on your new endeavors, and a big welcome to Angela as she takes on the role. Good wishes for your winter/summer, enjoy some good turns, and a few cold ones at the end of the day; Tom Langtry and the Falls Creek team

Summer 2009




Marty Firle I AM WRITING THIS ARTICLE FROM A SNOWY JINDABYNE. I HOPE YOU HAVE ALL HAD A GREAT SEASON AND LOOKING OUTSIDE IT LOOKS LIKE THE BACKCOUNTRY WILL BE GOOD FOR SOME TIME. This season at Perisher has seen some changes, firstly the name. Perisher dropped the “Blue” out of the name, then the finish of the 3 year $19 million snowmaking system. This saw new guns on Mt Perisher and Happy Valley and allowed both areas to be opened from mid June all the way to the last day of the season. Perisher now has 271 snow guns across the resort and more planned in the master plan. The kids programs changed as well. A new Adventure centre was placed in the old Creche centre and took care of kids aged 5 to 14. The Milo program was run out of the Creche, with 3 and 4 yr olds skiing. The change I saw with this was that Smiggins seemed busier in Adults and Kids lessons. I don’t have numbers but it seemed that because 5 and 6 yr olds could ski at Smiggins the parents didn’t have to go to Perisher and had their lesson in Smiggs as well. With the Olympics next year, we saw a lot of International teams training at Perisher. Teams from South Africa, Korea, Japan, USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Austria, Great Britain, Spain, China and Greece. Also the Australian Skier X, Snowboard and Disabled teams. It was great to turn up to work in Smiggins and see the Disabled team ripping down the Dupey, it was really inspiring to watch.

Up at Blue Cow the resort set up a world class Skier x cross course on the Outer Limits run for the SX and Snowboard teams to train on. Plus the Superpipe was in action as well. Having all these great athletes skiing around was good to see. Like the USA bump team skiing on GS race skis and race boots, compared to other countries on bump specific skis and softer flexing boots. Also the Australian SX team launching the 3 big table tops on Front Valley. Congrats to all who passed their exams this year and to those who fell short, keep at it. Hope all the Visa issues get sorted again this year. For me this year I will be staying Jindy, building my house and Dragon boating. Till next season, have a good Winter or Summer. Marty Firle Perisher Blue Rep

SODERGREN SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS In 1997 the APSI Board of Management established the Sodergren scholarships in the memory of Mike and Mim Sodergren. Scholarships are awarded each year with the successful instructor’s receiving all APSI Courses and Exams free of charge. Congratulations to Jason Toh and Tom Gellie who were awarded the Sodergren Scholarship for 2009. If you are interested in applying for the 2010 Sodergren Scholarship please email your application letter to by the 1st of April 2010. The successful applicant must meet the following criteria: I Commitment to personal education, train and accreditation in the Snowsport Industry Professionalism and Image Contribution and service provided to the industry. See pages 6 and 7 for this years Scholarship recipient season report.



Summer 2009


w w w . m t b u l l e r. c o m . a u

Dave McNiel WHETHER ITS HEWY, ULLR OR MOTHER NATURE, SOMEONE UPSTAIRS HAS THEIR CALENDAR A LITTLE OUT OF WHACK!!! On the 2nd and 3rd of May, Buller opened for the weekend with 40 cm of snow, lifts running and beginner lessons on offer. The other huge dump came on our second last weekend as many of us were trying to cram our worldly possessions into a single car load. The inconvenience of trudging 20 times through knee deep snow up two flights of stairs was very soon forgotten as we enjoyed our last turns for the season in perfect, dry, boot-deep fresh. As always, things were relatively quiet early in the season. As school holidays kicked off, it was obvious we were in for another busy season. Between work, training, freeriding and the occasional party, exam season was coming round before we knew it. Congratulations to everyone who achieved their goals this year. With more and more people focusing on the higher

levels one or two components at a time, achieving their goals doesn’t necessarily mean walking away with a certificate. To those who passed first time, congratulations to you as well, especially to Jess Renzella who topped the Level 1 Alpine Exam. All the exams in Australia set a very high standard and passing them means you have obviously trained hard and achieved a level that is respected throughout the skiing world. A special mention here goes out to Gregory Jakubic who proved this year that persistence really does count. Having first attended the level 3 Alpine exam in the last decade, he passed his final component this season. I saw Gregory out on Bourke Street, practicing his demos every morning before work without fail. Old habits can be the hardest to break and Gregory’s dedication has obviously paid off. I’d also like to congratulate Rachael “Ratty” Sheidow who represented Mt Buller on the world stage last August, taking part in the World Heli Challenge in New Zealand. Competing against Freeriders from all corners of the globe, Ratty rode clean lines in each event achieving good results. Well done!! As the weather warms up, I’m planning to enjoy the beach a little more this year, rather than being there on a paid capacity and I’ll head back to Austria a little earlier than my usual late January appearance. Hopefully, like last year, Telemark TD Graham Hammond will be able to find time to enjoy my back country backyard once again. Whether you’re having a Summer or Northern Winter, enjoy, stay safe and we’ll see you Opening Weekend! Dave McNiel Mt Buller

Summer 2009




Andy Dean WHAT A SEASON! 63 out of 87 days of rain from June to mid August with a total of 18 inches of rain, and yet business levels remained strong and our team managed to stay motivated. Obviously, a big thanks must go to our dedicated staff, who braved the elements and made our guests holidays despite the trying conditions. In spite of the rainy conditions, the Mt Hotham snowmaking and grooming team did an impressive job keeping the hill open and in very good condition for most of the winter. Heavenly Valley remained open until the 21st of September and the resort opened 2 weeks earlier than in 2008. Congratulations to our training staff and employees who attended APSI exams this winter. Our pass rates improved at every level and the snowboard team narrowly missed out on a 100% pass rate in 2009. Special mention should go to Matt McGrath and Damien Stewart how passed their Snowboard and Skiing level 3 respectively, Nick Santamaria who topped the snowboard level 2 nationally and Simon Hutton who topped the Level 1. We also had an excellent intake this season with 28 skiers and 8 snowboarders completing their Entry level Training and subsequent exam. Movement analysis (MA) was identified as a weakness in our training program in 2008. In response to this we introduced weekly Monday night MA training sessions from 4:00pm–5:30pm (a big thanks to Richard Jameson for his support). During these sessions we used the MA exam sheets and DVD presentations comparable to those used at APSI exams to guide group discussions and help focus candidates and foster a familiarity with the exam format. In 2010 the Snowsports School will be making a change to our policy and be requiring all employee’s to be members of the APSI as a condition of employment. This is being done not only to support the Australian teaching system by increasing employee awareness and encouraging them into our pathway, but to ensure all employees are current in their teaching styles. Becoming APSI members will also ensure our foreign staffs qualifications are recognised both as prior learning if they wish to join the APSI pathway and within our pay structure.



Summer 2009

Finally, at the time of writing many of our employees are in limbo due to US visa changes and restrictions placing these members of community under significant stress. Obviously, a reduction in employment opportunities/availability in the US has potentially catastrophic implications on the Australian ski industry and our ability to train and retain word class staff. When one door closes another opens, however, if that door opens into Europe it will become even more important for our industry to adhere to a high standard to maintain and further our qualifications strong reputation. Have a fantastic summer or winter wherever you may be and we’ll do it all again next year. Andy Dean

APSI Alpine Training Philosophy ‘High End Performance through Low End Discipline’ There are many topics to consider when determining what Australia as a country and the APSI as a training system should present to the international instruction community at the next Interski Conference. It’s difficult to say right now what the best thing to present would be, as certainly the best is yet to come! Once the National team is selected and works together towards a common goal of improving and guiding technical skiing and instruction in our country, only then will the evolution of our system be fully recognized. Nevertheless, the following article is an insight into the technical skiing perspective of where we are now and our beliefs on how best to train instructors as quality alpine demonstrators. This simplistic philosophy of “high end performance through low end discipline” was founded from a European influence in our schools and training system at their conception. From this a fundamental belief in skill improvement before training a final form was born. A large number of our clientele will realistically only ski once in their lifetime due to the geographical location of the Australian Resorts. It’s due to this patronage that our instructors spend a lot of time with new skiers to the sport as part of their day to day work. It is this volume of low level work for the instructors, combined with our technical beliefs that enable them to train their skills for transfer to their free skiing and demonstrating while they work! The APSI certification pathway is set up to reflect these beliefs. The curriculum, demonstrations and tasks are in place to address the instructor’s needs as they move through the system, training the fundamental skills and discipline they require to ski well. Due to the short nature of this article, let’s take a look at the entrance to our training system and how we set up instructors from the start of their careers for success in their skiing. The Entry Level certification is used largely for skill development at the very entrance to the pathway, isolating the individual skills and working on them through demonstrations to achieve this. First the instructors are subjected to precise training of their stance via performance of a straight run to a snowplow stop demonstration. The basic stance is worked on statically first to ingrain a similarly flexed stance in the ankles, knees and waist to produce balancing on the whole or centre of the feet. The trainers will pay close attention here to the hip position in the fore aft plane, making sure that the pelvis tips forward from the articulation between the femural head and the acetabulum of the pelvis (i.e. the hip joint). The flex at this joint enables a biomechanical advantage later on for

Figure 1

Figure 2

rotary, edging and pressure control where as bending higher up in the stomach or spine does not. (See figure 1) The second demonstration is designed to train edging skills. Traversing is used to place the body into a balance position that enables edging to come from the ankles and knees without losing balance to the downhill ski. The basic stance from the previous demonstration, has counter added to the pelvis. When standing on the side of a hill, this counter will produce some tip lead and the bending at the waist will tilt the pelvis and upper body towards the downhill ski. This angulated position is referred to as the ‘Basic Position’ (BP) and will enable the skier to edge from the lower body whilst maintaining the aforementioned balance over the downhill ski. The BP becomes important as it’s a body position that we ski into through all performances of skiing and will help the demonstrator produce turns that edge and balance well over the outside turning ski. (See figure 2) Finally, rotary of the skis is worked on during a snowplow turn. Twisting the ski is trained by turning the whole leg, paying special attention to the rotation of the femur via the adductor muscles in the thigh. Holding the pelvis position above with a disciplined stable upper body, the outside leg is twisted inside the pelvis to create an essence of counter throughout the turn. This separation between the upper and lower body is only slight but is critically focused on to end the turn in the above Basic Position. (See figure 3) Once these skills are worked on and a disciplined result is achieved in isolation, we then try and blend them together in turns. The free skiing element to this certification will focus on combining the skills together so that we can produce a round, smooth ‘steered’ turn. By starting with a disciplined stance and twisting the skis from the legs, our instructors can produce a strong basic position that enables strong edging from the lower body and good balance over the outside turning ski. This steered turn gives both direction and speed control to the skier which we can add increased speed and edging to later in their development to enhance their performance. Discipline is the key to high end performance! We require discipline in the alignment of the body in particular the position of the pelvis. Discipline in the body’s movement to create edging from the lower body and rotary forces from the legs. But most of all, discipline in the doctrinaire nature of training these skills in isolation and at a slower speeds, as the result will be transferred and evident in their high performance skiing later on. Richard Jameson

Figure 3

Summer 2009



WHAT IS IN A NAME? THE PRO’S & CON’S OF RENAMING THE APSI QUALIFICATIONS TO BECOME LEVELS ONE TO FOUR THE APSI CURRENTLY HAS 4 LEVELS OF QUALIFICATION; WE HAVE DONE FOR SOME TIME NOW. THE ONLY THING THAT HAS CHANGED IS THE NAME – ENTRY LEVEL (PREVIOUSLY THE CHILDREN’S CERTIFICATE) AND IT IS NOW OPEN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. This is now a product that needs marketing to a larger customer base. This exciting, new target market are people who do not have the benefit of other ski school employees around them to break down the APSI pathway before they attend. Quite often the first question I am asked is, “Why is the first qualification not called the level 1”…to which we answered by explaining that this is the entry to the snowsports instructor pathway hence it is called the ‘entry level’. A new name designed to make the CC more attractive to not only this group, but all participants. However, this does beg the question, why the APSI pathway is not simply named levels 1–4, each of which needs to be completed before moving onto the next step. In an effort to approach this question, Andrew has asked this season’s intake of alpine rookie trainers to discuss the pros & cons of renaming the existing APSI pathway to levels 1–4 (included in the following

By James Radny

THERE IS ONLY ONE OTHER SKI FEDERATION/ORGANISATION THAT SPRINGS TO MIND WHEN I THINK OF 4 LEVELS OF SKI CERTIFICATION, THE CANADIAN. Other organisations such as the Austrian, American and our own Australian organisations have 3 levels of certification. Will changing the Australian certification pathway to incorporate 4 levels rather than 3 have an impact on the image or quality of the product? Or is it simply a name? After speaking with many of my close friends and family casually on this topic, it soon turned into a heated debate over the pros and cons. The most resonating dislike of the entry level effectively being called level 1 and the rest bumped along the line is that it cheapened the existing level 1's image amongst other certifications. Most people believe that the level 1 Canadian for instance is the equivalent of our entry level. I had to ask the question “Is there a problem with this?” Yes there is, Our entry level certified skiers become level 1 certified. This will affect the image of the APSI as guests both internal and external may hold onto old perceptions of the level 1 while interacting with entry level transformed into in their minds the old level 1. Austria has 4 levels but only has 3 certification levels similar to Australia. They have split their level 2 into part 1 and part 2 components as opposed to calling the second part level 3. I would only be speculating on the reasons for this but their certification has a very good product image in terms of quality and professionalism. APSI members boast a very good image internationally and although the image may not change with the renaming of the certifications, why risk it? 18


Summer 2009

articles). Please bear in mind when reading, that these articles express the thoughts of a range of rookie trainers and are there to simply evoke a discussion on the topic. I would also remind you that the APSI currently has 4 levels of qualification, recognised not only in Australia but also internationally by the ISIA; which basically means that a full cert (depending on the employer) is recognised the same whether it is called level 3, level 4 or ‘International ski teacher’s diploma’. We are only looking at changing the names, no content or ISIA standing will be lost, the question is simply does levels 1–4 suit our already existing 4 level system or not? After reading these, there will be a discussion board on the ‘APSI face book group page’ where you can discuss your thoughts on the topic. This will be up until Christmas where we will move onto the next step, whatever that maybe Please enjoy these articles, discuss it amongst yourselves, but do not keep it at the pub, post it on face book or forward your thoughts on to the APSI office so we can look at whether this is a worthwhile change for our association.

Changing the name of the entry level to level 1 would create a more fluent, easy to understand certification. At present entry level only makes sense to people who understand the APSI, for anyone else they have to ask “what is entry level” although the name suggests the obvious, to people who may have been researching certifications from overseas countries it would be confusing to not have level 1 as the initial certification. The APSI is essentially a product that potential ski instructors can choose to purchase and participate in. When shopping for a certification pathway to go down one of the factors taken into account is the ease of use. Stereotypically you think of a certification pathway being numbers such as what year you are at university or school. Then that creates another argument because school starts at a pre or kindergarten stage. I personally think that the APSI has a strong image among other nations that are much more heavily involved culturally and socially in the ski industry. The image has been built upon a strong 3 levels that take 1 season each to complete provided all components are completed. Entry Level does not take an active part in the image and as soon as it becomes involved it could have positive or negative implications. Changing the names of the certification pathway seems on the surface to be a rather simplistic task but it is one that will be met with both positive and negative arguments. Arguments from both sides are strong, this mini report has focused mainly on an image creation with name association and even in this report the argument is tied.


By Andy Lane


Pros: 1–4 relabeling and perhaps a fresh new look and innovation. It may gain more interest from people from O/S countries to see what Australia is doing. This may attract more attention to our "new" system and have other countries take interest and perhaps feed on our ideas. It could gain more attention from the rookie instructors seeking "a" level that is achievable.

IT'S HARD TO KNOW WHEN THE RIGHT TIME FOR CHANGE IS... AND IF IN DEED WE NEED TO DO IT AT ALL. In this situation do we switch the current 3 levels to a 4 level system. It will affect both local and international instructors if a change occurs. The process of this idea will have to be researched so that the best possible decision can be made to benefit all those involved.

Level 1 is easier to understand, where as entry level may not have the depth in the title and perhaps deter candidates seeking a qualifications.

It is easy for me to put all my ideas forward and not leave any other opinions involved in the discussion... so I went out and interviewed various people from different countries to voice their ideas on the pros and cons of changing to a four tier system.

Level 1 could hold more weight in the O/S resorts Cons: Other Countries may argue the fact that the new levels are not equivalent to their current levels. As a result Australian certified instructors may loose status in those countries and may hinder job prospects.

Jonathan: Australian, APSI, CSIA, 21 seasons Pros: Allows the system to raise the standard to equivalent level 4 of other countries

We have already changed the CC to the EL.. should we let this new level establish itself first and allow new ideas to grow from it?

Cons: Complaints from older full cert instructors because they have to change.They may not see the need to change Hugo:

Will the change increase the costs of courses and exams?

Foreigner (Tasmanian), APSI, Staatlicher, 42 winters Pros: Great idea, good to see the system change to develop new ideas and a greater range of clarification.

(Part Foreign; Dutch), APSI, 16 winters


Australian, APSI, 3 winters

Passing level 1 is a great achievement for new instructors, which will in turn see a greater rate of returning staff.

Pros: An easier system to understand...1,2,3,4. It is clear where you are in the system and to know what you have to work on to achieve your next goal.

For a first year instructor achieving 2 levels in one season is a great effort and will perhaps be beneficial to how they are classified if they go over seas to work.

Cons: Those entering the industry have just got used to the current level system and know exactly what is expected.Changing this will cause some confusion... initially anyhow.

Cons: Unless you are a Canadian, people might not have the understanding of what a Level 4 means. Establishing a O/S equivalency may be hard to measure... as we already have this set up. At the end of the day it's a name or a number you are still a full cert. in the eyes of the APSI Courtney: Foreigner (American), PSIA, APSI, 6 winters Pros: Can't see a need to change a successful and understood system. Cons: Seems like alot of work to change all full certs. to another equivalent full cert. Does this mean another exam and more expenses for those already certified? Would the level 4 take more of a race coach roll and hence another course and again more expense?

What would change for those who have a level... meaning what level do I become and do I have to pay more for this change? Would this lead me to earning more money from my resort??? By creating more interest across the globe, we maybe able to have more access to ideas and concepts by communicating more with other countries There are many reasons for the move from a 3 level system to a four level system in the APSI, such as it is easier to understand 1 to 4, it raises the standards of an already successful organisation, and shows the world that we are adaptable and can change with the times. Reactions from my survey raised alot of discussion and certainly had some positives and negatives... but after reading all the responses from those who participated the question remains, is there a need to change an already successful formula?

What is the benefit to change a system?

Summer 2009




By Ben Jackson

APSI CERTIFICATION IS CURRENTLY COMPRISED OF FOUR QUALIFICATIONS. THESE ARE ENTRY LEVEL, LEVEL 1, LEVEL 2 AND LEVEL 3. RENAMING THE QUALIFICATIONS LEVEL 1 TO 4 WOULD MAKE IT ALL SOUND SIMPLE AND GREAT, BUT GIVING THE ENTRY LEVEL THE NEW TITLE OF LEVEL 1 DOES NOT SHOW THE EXPERIENCE OR VERSATILITY OF THE CURRENT LEVEL 1 QUALIFICATION. ALTHOUGH THIS WOULD BE EASILY UNDERSTOOD AND KNOWN BY AUSTRALIAN SKI SCHOOLS, IT COULD EASILY BE CONFUSED BY OVERSEAS SKI SCHOOLS. The Entry Level certificate is a gateway qualification for those interested in ski instruction. No teaching experience is needed in order to obtain the qualification and it gives people a chance to find out what ski instructing is all about, without having to commit to teaching for a snowsports school for a whole season. The course introduces candidates to the skiing skills and tactics needed to teach children’s beginner lessons. This is what most entry level or new instructors end up teaching as they start at their respective snowsports schools. The examination is quite relaxed and informal. This gives candidates some experience in the examination and certification process of the three other levels of certification. However, depth and knowledge of ski instruction is very basic or only at an entry level.

By Steven Gray

The current named Level 1 instructor is qualified to teach adult and children’s beginner to lower intermediate lessons. They have at least one season of training and teaching experience which has long been the minimum qualification and experience needed to work overseas, although these days more experience and a Level 2 qualification seem to be the minimum for a sponsored visa. Level 1, 2 and 3 certified instructors have also undergone much more training and more intensive courses, which should be better recognised nationally and internationally with the number named qualification. The change in name does not seem warranted as all it really would be is just that, a name change not a restructuring of Australian certification. The Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance has a similar certification structure and for many years has named their levels 1 to 4. Their Level 1 is a basic introduction to ski instructing with a strong focus on children. A similar move by the APSI could be done for simplification but the current naming of the certification levels is much more precise. At the end of the day the Entry Level qualification is a “foot in the door” qualification very much different to the other three levels of certification. Because of that difference, the name is best left the way it is to give a little more merit to the Level 1. Giving all the levels a number may take some of that merit away especially when comparing APSI qualification to overseas ones, even though it is just a change in name. The APSI Level 1 qualification has always required a formal exam and teaching experience that is best left the way it is for better international recognition.

If we are to continue using numbers we should adopt a four level system. Obviously the Entry level would become level one followed by the existing levels through to four.


Education is a key point world wide, as we would not want people to think we are lowering our standards. I believe this would filter through the skiing systems quickly and possibly add to the credibility of the APSI.

Throughout the world we are seeing more snowsports schools as opposed to the ski schools, which were referred to for as long as I can remember.

The system would look like this:

I Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, Level 4, T/E 1, T/E 2, T/E 3, T/E 4.

The reason for this is obvious, the addition of snowboarding and Nordic activities.

The levels are the proposed changes and T/E is short for Trainer/Examiner. T/E 1 is the current Rookie level.

The APSI itself went through a name change for this particular reason.

Personally, as mentioned earlier I like the idea of a four level system.

Change is grasped by some and rejected by others, and needs to be given a lot of consideration before anything is set in stone.

However I do not have the business and operation knowledge of the APSI to make any comment on possible ‘cons’.

Discussing the change to the APSI level system is easy for myself, simply because I am in favour with the idea.

I say this because I would imagine it would come at a cost to the APSI and am unsure of the implications with the ISIA.

We currently have four levels in our system and only three of them are numerical. This does not make sense to me.

I feel the best course of action would be a round table conversation by the powers that be, after a poll by APSI members online advertised in Ski Pro.

The Entry level is a qualification in which successful candidates receive a certificate and pin, the same as level one, two and three.


I also have an idea in changing the training levels to abbreviations.


Summer 2009


By Michael Crawford


Pro's of renaming the APSI qualifications to become levels one to four. This name change will simplify the format of the naming of the APSI qualifications. Currently the qualifications are named Entry Level, then followed by one to three. In the last year the names has changed from the Childrens' Certificate, followed by one to three, to this current format. Although the format of the qualifications haven't changed and the Entry Level qualification still revolves around teaching children, but the name change does make it easier for people outside the industry to understand what the qualification is. As the APSI are trying to improve its ability to sell qualification based training and exams, the marketability of the qualifications is important. Closely related to the effect on clarity for people outside the industry to understand the qualifications, I believe that this change will help the marketability of the Australian qualifications. As people who aren't yet familiar with the Australian qualification system will more easily understand the pathway. This marketability is key for the APSI as they begin to venture in new territories such as running courses in Japan or non resort staff where the clients may not have been involved with an Australian system and do not understand the certification pathway. Also the renaming of Entry Level to Level 1 may give

the perception of being more substantial or recognised thus making it more appealing to aspiring instructors. The name change to level one to four brings APSI more in line with how qualifications are named internationally in the ski instructing industry and give off a more clean cut image.

Pro's of renaming the APSI qualifications to become levels one to four. On the negative argument of this decision, the renaming could change the perception of the APSI qualifications within the industry. Currently the Entry Level qualifications is perceived as a foot in the door rather than an internationally recognised qualification. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that the Entry Level qualification is not always recognised by ski schools internationally. Thus keeping this level named as the Entry Level leaves this qualification separated from the levels one to three which will leave them to be judged compared to other qualifications from around the world. Therefore If the Entry Level qualification is renamed to be Level 1, the result would be that our qualification system is weak. The renaming will also put the APSI as a direct comparison to the CSIA, as the APSI level 3 is not recognised as a CSIA level 4 at resorts like Whistler. It results that people would perceive the APSI as a lesser qualification than the CSIA, which I do not necessarily agree with. A possible repercussion from this could result in Australian instructors following different certification pathway rather than the APSI.

Conclusions The effect of the renaming the Australian qualifications may help with its marketability for people outside the industry but may have a damning effect on the perception of the quality of the certification to people within the industry resulting in a negative effect on marketability and a possibility of Australian instructors following a different certification pathway.

Pictures supplied by Richard Jameson.

The Level 3 top of course Tom Gellie Absorbs a big bump down Mt. Buller’s Slalom Gulley.

Examiners discuss their thoughts on a candidates teaching scenario at the Mt. Buller state exams.

Libby Blampied rips it up for the examiners in her Level 1 free run at the Victorian state exams held at Mt. Buller.

Summer 2009




By Ryan Watts

CLEAR RECOGNITION OF THE FOUR APSI LEVELS There have been four levels in the APSI since the introduction of the Children’s Certificate. This has been re-named the Entry Level certificate to indicate its role as the starting point in the certification pathway of the APSI. It was important to recognize that the Entry Level is an essential part of our system, needed to progress to the Level One. Its role has been to give new instructors their first professional qualification and give them a start on their professional development. Its introduction was important because of the high standards expected at Level One, giving a stepping stone to reach that standard. Overall, it is clearly the first level of qualification within the APSI. Renaming of Entry Level to Level One and the present levels 1, 2, 3 to be 2, 3, 4 would give the international ski community a clearer picture of our certification structure, outlining the pathway followed in APSI. It would also bring us in line with many equivalent organizations worldwide. CSIA, Canada’s certification body uses level’s 1 to 4. Its level 1 is run as an assessed course and has a similar standard to our Entry Level. Were our qualifications re-named, their levels would then closely resemble the standard of the APSI. The same goes with BASI, the British system, whose levels are also 1 to 4, running along a similar standard. PSIA, the USA’s system and NZSIA in New Zealand use levels 1 to 3 with a Trainers Accreditation following in place of level 4. These systems could be more aligned with the APSI if we renamed our levels in the certification pathway. The ISIA standard meets at Level 3 in all of the above organizations, as it would for us after re-naming our levels. We would all have one further exam or trainer’s accreditation for our highest level. There would be many benefits of being more aligned to other international systems. Firstly, it would make it easier for ski schools world wide to give appropriate recognition for APSI certificates. Many ski schools in the US for example, credit the current APSI 1 as PSIA 1. In reality, the standard is similar to PSIA 2, but often receives less credit than it deserves. I hope that re-naming our levels would

bring more understanding of where the Australian standards lie and may even result in pay increases for many of our members. Another possible benefit could be membership numbers and course/exam attendance. The organizations mentioned before including, CSIA, NZSIA and BASI have marketed very well towards potential international members who are looking to do an instructing course to get into the industry. This gives them the option to work in variety of countries, either long term or in a break between school and university. The opening of the present Entry Level and Level 1 to the public has opened the door to this market for the APSI. Aligning ourselves to receive similar recognition for our levels as these systems would help attract people to our organization. Australia has much to offer in this market, already being a popular working holiday destination for internationals from all over the globe. Standards of APSI qualifications have always been highly recognized worldwide. The re-naming would represent the four levels clearly outlining the stepping stones to the pinnacle of our system. It is important to make the levels achievable from one level to the next, while maintaining and improving on the high standards currently set at the top of our system. This would help international skiing organizations recognize our commitment to making a smooth certification pathway with continuing high standards. However, this transition would not be easy. This would require a significant effort to inform all relevant parties. It would be important that all our members understand the change and which level they would hold under the new system. Ski schools around the world and other members of ISIA also need to be aware of any changes. These ski schools and organizations are accustomed to the standard of the APSI levels. If they were uniformed of these changes it could result in an assumption that our standards are falling, which would be damaging. Overall, I believe it would be a positive move to re-name our levels from One to Four. The long-term benefits include gaining clearer recognition worldwide, helping to increase membership numbers and boost course and exam attendance. With a careful transition, it would be a worthwhile change to keep the APSI as a progressive modern training organization and well worth the effort.

Pictures supplied by Richard Jameson.

Cassandra Sigmund lays down a great short turn run on her way too topping the NSW level 2 Exam held at Perisher.



Summer 2009

Richard Jameson and Mark McDonald get set up for the Level 3 demonstrations on little Buller spur.


By Hannah Gordon



APSI QUALIFICATIONS Current Entry Level Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 (full cert.)

Proposed Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4 (full cert.)

Whilst talking to general members of the APSI, most peoples first comments or reactions where of a negative nature. Such as, “why does it need to change?” or the one that stoke a note with me the most was “Level 4 suggest and exceptional standard of skiing, like the Canadian Level 4 and whether the APSI should be compared to this”. Lets look at the most obvious argument against renaming. The initial confusion, not only by current members of the APSI, but also by the other nationally recognized snowsport training bodies of the world and there snowsport schools. Many Australian snowsport instructors travel overseas to teach in the northern winters. Changing the names of the levels could confuse foreign ski school on the equivalent qualification for their respective national association. So when asking for proof of qualifications, one certificate stating Level 3 but dated before the change and another stating Level 4 but dated after the change are essentially the same qualification. This could be very confusing to foreign employers, especially in countries of foreign languages. A way in dealing with this could be by providing new certificates to all currently active members of the APSI, a very costly and unrealistic solution to the problem. A more realistic solution could be a generic supporting document that could be available via the Internet, which can accompany all old qualifications stating their equivalency. This could also be sent out to all other national snowsport training associations, through the ISIA (International Ski Instructors Association) network. Another way to assist in reducing the confusion would be to design new certificates that were considerably different to the old ones making it easier to tell them apart. Also after paying their yearly dues, APSI members receive a new membership card with their equivalent updated qualifications printed on it. Conversely, the introduction of the separate Entry Level Certificate (formally know as the Children Certificate) over the past five years has caused a little confusion in the international snowsports association community and in the national scene with new members and the general public (prospective members). Seeing the NZSIA (New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Association) rename their qualification system just last year after the introduction of a qualification that was below their current

Level 1 (i.e. NZSIA CSI) is proof of similar confusion in the industry. New and prospective members will be able to understand the APSI’s qualification system better and will not have to ask ‘Why can’t I just sit the Level 1 exam first, cause that would be the logical progression, one general comes first?’ A logical Level one to four progression through the qualification processes of the APSI makes more sense, numbers are international recognised. All countries understand numbers. They may not understand Entry Level and where that fits into our progression through the system. Changing the names could create a misconception that the APSI has brought in a new Level above and beyond the current Level 3 (full cert.). An equivalence table could easily solve this misconception. A proactive way in dealing with many of the adverse effects of renaming the APSI qualifications could be dealt with effective marketing and timing of the change. With Interski 2011, St Anton coming up after just one more Australian season the timing could not be more perfect. An introduction of the new names to the domestic scene in the 2010 season in Australia, then the Australian Demo team can present the new names on the international stage at Interski 2011. It could be the fresh look that the APSI team can take along with them and a great way to get the word out quickly and affectively. In conclusion, going ahead with renaming the APSI qualifications to Levels one to four is a viable option. Especially, when we look at the APSI as a whole organisation and the direction it want to head in the future and not just from the prospective of its members. It will give the APSI a sound and clear system to stand on, and present themselves both nationally and internationally not only within the skiing industry, where are already highly recognized, but also and maybe for now, more importantly with the general public and our new members. The change may cause a little confusion and uproar in the short term with some existing APSI members and them not understanding the full depth of our decision. But in the long term it would be an advantageous decision, taking the APSI in the right direction for the future.

Highin theHimalaya’s Harrylearnedthewordspestalli pestalli whichmeansslowly slowly. Itwasagoodwaytoapproachtheday. goodluckeveryonetil thenextseason. Summer 2009




By Dick Nott

This is a discussion of the pros and cons of renaming the current APSI qualification. Entry level will become level 1, level 1 will become level 2, level 2 will become level 3 and the full certification of level 3 will become level 4. The Entry level at present is mainly based around teaching children, which the certificate Entry level is applicable. If we were to change this certificate to level 1 I think there should be some more emphasis on teaching lower end adults as well as keeping the same amount of children content. Making a change in the Entry level certification content to suit the new level 1 certification name will also allow the candidates to make better developments towards the new level 2 certification, with little change to the existing level 1 certification content. Renaming the entry level certification to level one certification in my mind will have more appeal to the new instructor thinking about starting the APSI pathway. For the existing level 2 certificate holders who would be changed to level 3 certificate holder could be mistaken in other resorts around the world as an APSI fully certified instructor. This could then bring the level and quality down in the eyes of those who

would not have known that the APSI had changed to a 4 level certification system. There could also be benefits for someone who is a level 3 certification on the new system to get better recognition in other resorts around the world once again with ignorance to the new 4 level certification system. Changing the level 3 certification to a level 4 certification allows an opening to add an extra portion into the exams to examine how the candidate will examine other instructors. This will also lift the level and quality of the level 4. In doing this the level 3 certification holders should be able to attend the rookie selections, and if successful be able to become a level 1 examiner. This would greatly aid the development of the instructor toward attaining the level 4 certification. To change all the information for the current APSI members who already hold their certificates in various levels would be a time consuming task with little benefit. Intern starting a new system and leaving the old system would make it a challenge for people who for example hold level 3 certificates will not have the same recognition as new level 4 certificate holders. Not knowing fully what the APSI in planning on doing with the certification path you can see there is some benefits to the renaming the APSI certification pathway and also some disadvantages.

INTERSKI – ST. ANTON 2011 Be a part of the experience Interski is not only for the team, all APSI members can experience Interski in Austria, January 2011. Land Package prices will be available through the APSI, contact the office if you are Interested in attending. Kerry, Marg, Maureen and Roberto have all attended previous Interski’s as official supporters. Contact if you would like to know more.



Summer 2009


Richard Jameson WHEN I WAS ASKED TO WRITE THIS COLUMN FOR THE SNOWPRO MY IMMEDIATE THOUGHTS WERE THAT I WANTED THE FOCAL POINT TO BE ON THE REAL PROS AMONG US. Those I talk of are the professionals that embarked on OR continued their journey through participating in this year’s exams and even those that reached their destination in the certification process this year. It can be lost through the hype and anxiousness on exam day, but it is truly the sentiment of all the examiners and APSI staff that we salute you for training hard and putting yourself and knowledge on the line to progress and develop as a professional ski instructor. You should all be proud of your efforts! The Entry Level was well attended this year with over 140 new instructors starting their certification process with the APSI. It’s always a highlight of my job travelling to each resort and meeting the wonderful new instructors we have coming into the industry. I’m pleased to report that this year’s Entry Level was the highest pass rate in APSI history. It blows me away how many exciting ideas you all have for teaching children and your ability (with such little time instructing skiing) to adapt the teaching methodology in a fun way for kids. My only hope now is that you all enjoyed your first year working as an instructor and the industry supported you to the point that we see you back next year. Hopefully training for new goals and working in the best job in the world – ski Instructing. One of the coolest things about doing this job is surrounding yourself with like minded people that love skiing, teaching it and the constant push we all give each other to continually improve. The resit exams this season showed this very spirit of instructors applying themselves on weaker aspects from previous exams and coming back to pass their goals with flying colours. I want to make special mention to those successful at passing their level 3 this season. It can be one of the toughest process’s you will ever go through as a professional instructor and may take some several years to accomplish. Nevertheless, through the logical set up of our exam system (achieving components) and the implementation of a 3rd level 3 resit this season, it gave the opportunity for some of these guys and girls that have been doing this process for lots of years to apply themselves and pass. It was definitely a satisfying result to see you all (you know who you are) come back, chip away at your goal and show us the improvements you have made. Congratulations – it was very inspirational to me and the examining staff at the APSI!!

The Victorian state exams (EL, 1 and 2) and national level 3 exam (sponsored by Wild Brumby Schnapps – Thanks to Brad for his support!!) were held at Mt. Buller this season and after an initial lack of snow scare, they were conducted in some of the better conditions I have seen at the end of the season. The snow and terrain available was great and the weather held out beautifully (The lightning and rain only came in at night!). Well done to all those who participated and it was good to see some strength in numbers at the Victorian level 1 exam this season. Big thanks to Ross Taylor (director of Mt. Buller ski school) for taking a keen interest in the exam process this season and coming out to watch all the exam levels and standard of skill on display. This input from the schools is invaluable in shaping the APSI’s curriculum and standards of the 4 levels so they remain current to the workplace and actual job we are doing on snow with our resort guests. The NSW state exams took us to Jindabyne where the Level 1 exam was held at Thredbo and Level 2 at Perisher. The APSI conducts many communal services along the long and windy road between the resorts. This year saw many brave feats including the saving of native wildlife in particular turtles and a zero road kill count thanks to the glorious invention of flat white coffees and monster energy drinks and of course the perfect handling of an AWD Subaru forester (thanks also to Chris Allen for the driving tips). The Perisher level 2 was a definite recap of some of my statements before on commitment and perseverance. After a low pass rate in 2008 many dedicated instructors trained hard and came back to apply themselves in areas they needed to get across the line and it was great to see many of these candidates achieve their Level 2 qualification. The level 1 at Thredbo was the biggest exam for the year with close to 60 participants. I want to give a big thanks to the Thredbo’s commitment in helping out instructors from across the country with supplying the facilities a big event like this requires. In particular Adam Hosie for organising one of the best MA rooms we could ask for keeping the fairness of this test for all candidates and reigning in what can be a logistical problem for the APSI with this sort of candidate numbers. Finally I wanted to add that it’s unfortunate not everyone gets to see the dedication and hard work of the examining crew behind the scenes at these types of events. Marking papers till 11pm, coordinating the certificates, writing feedback sheets, putting MA exams together, early morning starts for racing, meetings on mechanical priorities/standards and of course the actual examining of candidates on the hill. It is a constant inspiration to be around the nation’s best ski instructors and they are definitely my most trusted colleagues. The exam process runs smoothly and more importantly fairly due to the skills and knowledge of these dedicated employees. I know that both Andy and I rely on them a lot for their talents and hope this inspiration is felt by all of you, spurring you on to one day joining their ranks and becoming an APSI trainer/examiner. Richard Jameson Alpine Chief of Exams

Summer 2009




Warren Feakes THE YOUNGSTERS ARE UP FOR THEIR FIRST SKATING LESSON. MR AND MRS INTER-SCHOOLS HAVE SAID “. IT WILL BE EASY, THESE KIDS ARE EXCELLENT “SKIERS” AND WE WANT THEM TO SKATE IN THE SELECTION RACES ON THURSDAY, AND SKATING IS FASTEST...ISN’T IT”. Please note the lack of the interrogative after “isn’t it”. This wasn’t a question from the parents but a stated fact, as they stood outside the Nordic Shelter in their alpine boots and presented me with the extreme sub-teenies who were wearing the latest in alpine gear including Darth Vader helmets and goggles.

right length and poles about neck height. Not bad so far. The alpine clothing is going to make it hard as the free-ride pants have the crotch just above knee level and the waist line well below the appendectomy scar. Luckily it’s a warm day and we can strip down to the skins or thermals. The GS Gloves are fun; they won’t fit through the pole straps and they won’t ‘feel’ the pole. Oh well, adjust and hope. The helmets have to go and goggles are not the best for peripheral vision – “Mum, can I borrow your Prada sunnies for the lesson please?” We have to live with the heavy jackets in that silly brown pyjama stripe or false camo pattern, at least until they start to go red in the face and can’t see through the perspiration droplets. I quickly check my water bottle holder for the Smurf Wee and yell “follow me” – down the gentle slope to the flattish area at the bottom of the Nordic Bowl. A few tumbles and recoveries later, we are assembled, well out of parental voice range, on a nicely groomed area with an ever so gentle slope to it. I have placed some fluoro cones to mark the lesson boundaries and checked for sink holes. Face everyone up the slight slope.....”Ok guys, one at a time, do your best skate up to the red cones and wait for me there”. Oh Dear...they are all horse riders on skinny skis. They have done their best but think they are still in Alpine boots and short fat skis and have waddled up the piste. Time to look for the kinaesthetic learners. “Everybody follow me half way back, park off to the side where you can see me and I will demonstrate a basic skating step for you”. A nice slow demonstration – back and forth, no complications. “Right team, let’s have another go at this”. Amazingly, one out of three changes completely and actually gets the feet going and uses an edge but still double times her poling action – one double pole for each skate step whereas I demonstrated basic skate – offset – with poling only on one skate step out of the two. Still, not bad – Young Dimity shows promise. No criticism or complex instructions from me at this point.

Now, I have a personal foible, shared I might add with most of the older instructors, that you classic or diagonal stride on skis before you skate. It’s a building block thing, but I’m not paying for the lesson, so let’s do a quick analysis. Yes the kids have been skiing since they were 3 years old, must have a modicum of dynamic balance and they seem super enthusiastic despite having just come from 3 hours of Moguls training. They can rocket down International at warp speed with their body weight over the tails of their skis (as they have done since Milo days) and can skate between lift stations with a never decreasing angle between their legs of 450. At least they have turned up with a semblance of the right gear. They have XC combi boots, skate skis of roughly the

Next, let’s show them where the power comes from. “Do you mind if I push you from the back Jimmy?”…”Nope”... so I place my hands on the small of Jimmy’s back, get him to point his skis parallel and straight forward and gently propel him along the snow using the strong visible edging of a skate motion with my skis. No words, no explanations for now, just let them pair up and try it. Eureka!!! They all edge and do it naturally. For fun, we then get one to push two then three… what a hoot, they are rolling in the aisles. After they try a couple more skate runs to see if anything is altered, it is time for the ‘secret weapons’ to appear. Telling them I am going to put down the Smurf Wee engenders the obvious question...”what’s Smurf Wee?” asks Dimity. “What colour is a Smurf?” continued on page 27



Summer 2009

continued from page 26 I ask in reply. “Blue” says Harry. “well what colour would Smurf Wee be then?”. “BLUE” they all shout. In my water bottle, I have made a mixture of a few squirts of blue food colouring with water. I skate up the track about 50 metres and run slowly back toward them squeezing a long, straight, even line of blue dye on the snow. Now I take two short bits of red electrical tape and make an X on the tip of my right ski. By this time I have their full attention – what the hell is he gonna do next ??????? “Watch the demonstration”…I gently skate up the Smurf Line with a simple Right Offset. The group positioning is such that they are watching me go up the line from directly behind and come back toward them and can clearly see that I am placing each instep on the line, under my body, to commence each skate. I point this out and repeat the demo making sure they watch my feet. Less important, but noted to them at this stage, is that I am only pushing the ski with the red X with my double poling action and relaxing on the other skate, repositioning my hands and poles for the next stroke. I can assure you that now, they just want to do the Smurf Line until they perfect it and can get their feet well under their body line so that they can actually commence each skate on the “wrong” side of the line and spend longer and longer riding each ski. No technical explanations, no complexity, this single simple activity seems to change the way they skate within a few runs and they are no longer “horseriding” over the skis. For variety, we do it with and without poles, in a crouch, and even try it backwards, reverse edges and all (now that’s fun !). Sometimes, getting them to do Offset (single sided poling) is a hurdle, but knowing they only push the red X marked ski seems to work for all but the real uncos. Most people instinctively offset to the right but some will initially prefer a left offset (generally ~30%) but we want them to be able to offset either side and change with the prevailing track camber, offsetting into the slope, so I get them to change the marked ski from right to left and change offset, practicing on either side and indeed, changing sides on the fly. Incidentally, a nice little test to do before starting is to establish a skiers dominant foot by having them stand upright without skis on, feet shoulder width apart, and give them a gentle unexpected shove from behind. They will go forward on the dominant foot to keep balance. This is often used to establish which foot goes in the front on a slalom water-ski. It is generally accurate for establishing offset preference as well.

Progressions Of course, the aim of Offset is to get you up even the steepest hill whilst maintaining momentum. So the obvious place to go next is the beginner skater’s nightmare – the hill. Smurf Wee again and it all seems to come naturally with just minor alterations in the skating angle and body position over the skis.

If Offset up the hill continues to cause major dramas I find I can get it right using a diagonal skate, moving the arms as in herringbone but with glide on each skate step. The timing is far simpler, maintaining the rhythm easier and the skater can concentrate on getting the feet in the right place on the Smurf Line. A great exercise is moving in and out of Diagonal Skate and alternating between Right and Left Offset on long moderate slopes. If I can find a long enough slope that is reasonably groomed, I make a “Drunken Smurf Line” – a couple of big esses, so that the skater learns the benefit of using the correct offset for the camber.

Finally, What I have outlined is by no stretch of the imagination a detailed plan of a skate lesson and there are lots of in-betweens such as working on progressive edging, rolling onto the edge and even starting on an outside edge; compression and extension and power from the quads and gluteals; body position and use of the core muscles in generating drive. Efficient poling is another issue – I have some tricks there but that’s for another article. For a full explanation of Offset Skating, go back one SnowPro to my 2008 article entitled “Maths, Trigonometry, Physics and The Skating Technique”. A boot-full of foot-notes:

I Skating is generally not the best entry into Nordic skiing. It represents a high drain on energy until a solid rhythm is established so that momentum can be maintained easily and this can take a couple of seasons.

I Teaching Diagonal Stride as an introduction to Nordic develops rhythm, balance and the ability to weight shift and glide on one ski – a basis for good skating. I Smaller children generally don’t have the strength or ‘power to weight’ to maintain momentum in more difficult snow conditions and end up struggling.

I Developing children should not do one sided or laterally biased activities and they must be watched carefully to ensure they balance their skating activity with ambidexterity – i.e. offset to both sides regularly.

I Growth spurts in teens and even tweenies can badly affect core stability, even in quite athletic children. Core Strength = Stable Pelvis = Good Skating. So sometimes it just isn’t their fault but nature’s way of telling them they are growing.

I If Blue food colouring is not available, Red should be used and the kids tell me it’s called “Train Smash” Authors Note: Keep a special water-bottle to one side for your Smurf Wee. Food colouring is non-toxic but if consumed, the resulting tongue stain, commonly called “laughing lizard syndrome” is embarrassing, takes days to fade out, gives you an unhealthy appetite for live snails, and makes you self conscious ordering beers at the Brumby Bar in Jindabyne. Warren Feakes Technical Director Nordic

Summer 2009




The Location Although we have run single day recalls overseas in the past, this was the first time that an APSI course and assessment has been offered on international shores. Niseko, Japan, located 2 hours drive from Sapporo airport on the North Island was an obvious choice. Not for its legendary powder, which I missed because in true APSI fashion ‘it rained three times during my trip’. The location was actually chosen because of its strong links to Australia and the ease of gaining approval with our existing insurance policy. The ski hill is made up of 4 separate areas which are all interlinked from the top of the mountain; Annupuri, Niseko village, Hirafu and Hanazono. They all overlook the volcano Mt. Youtei, home of the Ninja platypus, used to fuel my lesson analogies. Hanozono is the newest area with a large day lodge, beginner bowl and 3 high speed quads. Scott Sanderson the director of NISS was preparing to open a new kids centre and sales desk at this location, but as there was no village there I spent most of my time at Hirafu where NISS has their main snowsports school meeting place. At Hirafu there is more then one ski school; with NISS being the largest, Ski (another employer of Aussie instructors) and the official SAJ run ski school. Many hotels also seemed to have an instructor on retainer running lessons for house guests. Even though I travelled in a plane, not a car and it took a little longer then driving to Buller the amount of Australian Ski Instructors that knew me when I was walking around the village gave me the surreal feeling that it was mid winter in our own Victorian alps. Although it was early season, both locations had good beginner terrain for the teaching components (although the best run made Bourke St. in Buller look quiet) as well as offering some good intermediate terrain to challenge the groups. During my stay at Niseko I stayed in Cisco Moon; staff accommodation with a shared kitchen and washing facilities. The rooms were either single or twin share and were mostly used by middle management. The in-house broad-band was much appreciated and made it easy to stay in contact with both work and my family.

Courses I was in Niseko from the 5th to the 20th of December 2008. During this time I ran 2 Alpine ‘Entry level instructor courses’ with Children’s certificate assessments and an Alpine level ONE training course.

Course Program Entry level instructor course 1: 8–10th with CC assessment on the 11th. Entry level instructor course 2: 12–14th with CC assessment on the 15th. Level ONE training course: 17–19th with additional training to be offered through NISS by APSI endorsed trainers.

Participation The Entry level courses were mostly made up of a mix Japanese Nationals and Australian’s new to the snowsports industry, all were employed by NISS bar one; who was on holiday in Niseko & wanted to join up after observing the first course. Course 1: 6 participants with a 100% pass rate Course 2: 5 participants with a 100% pass rate The Level ONE course had one participant who had just finished in the CC assessment while the others chose to train in Japan as they were having trouble finding the time in Australia to meet the level ONE training commitments. After participating in some further training offered by Tom over the season all will be eligible to attend the June Resit in Australia and potentially start the winter off with their level ONE qualification, the course had 3 participants.

Recommendations The potential for growth in offering training products internationally to both Australian and foreign Nationals who want to enter the snowsports industry, is high. Many existing companies have proven that there is a niche market willing to get involved (especial British gap year kids). Japan and particularly Niseko provides the perfect location to do this due to their willingness to help host the courses and ability to aid marketing. As well as the fact that it is easier to include our existing insurance policy compared to countries such as the United States (which may incur an additional cost).

Thank you Travelling to Japan would not have been possible without all the support that I received. Below is a list of people I would like to personally thank for their assistance: –

Colin Hackworth who started the initial discussions with me about 2 years ago.

Scott Sanderson who can see the huge benefits of staff training and organised the trip as well as covered the flight expenses.

Tom Langtry and Nozomi Haba for their hospitality.

All the house members of ‘Cisco moon’ who all made me feel very welcome.

Facilities As the majority of participants on course were new employees of NISS I was able to use their facilities. Supervising team leader Tom Langtry (who was the second assessor on course) made me feel welcome in the NISS locker room & snowsports school office. While Nozomi Haba, kids ski school manager allowed me do all my meetings & discussions in her indoor facilities. 28


Summer 2009

Andrew Rae

ALPINE SKIING DEMO DVD The latest training tool is now available to APSI members. Use the alpine skiing DVD to mentally rehearse the tasks examined within the alpine certification pathway. The DVD also includes clear descriptions of the ‘Performance model’ & visual images to encourage your love of the sport. The DVD was updated in 2009 with new footage of the current National Demo Team. DVD is available through the APSI online shop. The DVD was a big hit in 2009 with lots of candidates THESE ARE ONLY $15.00 WHEN PURCHASED ONLINE

APSI SPRING SESSIONS SPRING SNOW, WARM WEATHER AND YOUR CHOICE OF TRAINING WAS ON OFFER AT PERISHER IN SEPTEMBER THIS SEASON. The event will definitely become a permanent fixture in the APSI calendar, the atmosphere was great, going along to a training session without a pass/fail consequence is always more relaxing and at the very least this is a way more fun option compared to the traditional recall, which needs updating every 2–3 years. The formula for the event was simple; the only trainers were either APSI National team members, past Interski members or special guests. 3 hour training sessions were on offer over the 2 days which could be signed up for over a morning coffee; the choice was left to you, wether you went because of the trainer or the topic. Some electives grew simply out of demand.

Next season the dates for the spring sessions will be available along with the APSI calendar yearly next year. I would like to invite everyone to attend no matter if you are involved in the certification pathway, due for a recall or simply an associate member couped up in a city office, sitting there wondering ‘what is happening in the world of snowsports instruction today’?

APSI gratefully acknowledge the sponsorship of the following organisations

w w w . m t b u l l e r. c o m . a u

SnowPro is the official newsletter of the APSI. The views expressed in SnowPro are not necessarily those of the APSI.

Please address all correspondence to: Australian Professional Snowsports Instructors PO Box 131, JINDABYNE NSW 2627 email: website:

2009 SnowPro  

APSI SnowPro Magazine

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