Introduction – ISIA & Interski
Following our participation at Interski 2019, and many years of coaching instructors, we sat down with our friend Vittorio Caffi. Vittorio is the president of ISIA. We asked him few questions regarding Interski, ISIA and upcoming projects of the association. Firstly, here’s a rundown of exactly what ISIA and the Interski Congress consists of.
What is ISIA
The International Ski Instructor Association groups 37 member
associations from countries all over the world. The organization aims to gather professional ski instructors under the same umbrella. This facilitates the exchange of experience, technical knowledge and communications amongst participants. From the home page of the official website, ISIA has three focuses:
Sport. “promote the attractiveness and image of the entire snow sport worldwide in all markets and to support national associations in their work”
Profession. “consider the professional standards in the training of snow sports instructors as the common, worldwide, qualitative basis or orientation”
Community. “form the global community of professional snow sports instructors, national associations and the different markets in the future into a strong, lively community”
What is Interski?
The Interski Congress is probably the biggest, most important congress event in the ski instructing world.
It gathers major umbrella organizations such as ISIA, AVSI and AVSS. Futhermore, the vast majority of national ski instructor organizations.
The event takes place every 4 years. The last one of which was in Pamporovo, Bulgaria, in 2019. During the event every nation has the chance to perform in demo team formations, demonstrating performance and team skills. These demo runs change at each event, as the criteria imposed to the team changes at every edition. Videos of these demonstrations are probably the most well known part of the event to the general public. However we believe the most interesting and important part of the event are workshops and lectures. These are presented by team members from each nation. They aim to discuss with fellow instructors updates in philosophies of work and ideas.
Schedules run from 8.30 in the morning to late in the evening. The Interski week is full on event. However it is a great and necessary event for the snowsports industry to develop and grow.
Below is our interview with ISIA President Vittorio Caffi.
Vittorio, you have been president of ISIA for two years now. What is your history within the association prior to this role?
I’ve been member of the ISIA Board, as an Adviser, since the Assembly of the Delegates (AD) in Rovinj, 2004. Around 2010, I started coordinating the Technical Commission. In 2012 I was elected Vice President Europe, till the last election in 2017.
The Interski Congress took place in Pamporovo, Bulgaria in March 2019.
How did it go from the Association’s perspective?
ISIA has been very happy with Interski 2019. The ISIA flag has been high and visible since the congress opening till the closing ceremony. The majority of the participants at Interski has been made up of professional instructors coming from the ISIA National Associations. This has been the case in Pamporovo as well. The Congress highlighted that the ISIA National Associations and their instructors are the worldwide elite in terms of research, concept, demo, on field delivery.
What was new at Interski 2019?
The Interski Ski School, provided free tuition at very high level to around 100 kids in the area. The majority of the instructors delivering were, again, coming from the ISIA Member Associations. However this time the team included ISIA Demoteam members as well. Additionally, for the first time ever in Interski history we had an official ISIA Demoteam, beside the National ones, who performed very well.
What news was presented during the event by ISIA?
It’s not easy to sum up the news from ISIA. The majority of the Nations attending Interski are ISIA Members as well. Therefore I should recap the news from each of them.
Thinking of the ISIA AD, I have to mention the research presented by Mr. Glasgolev, ISIA Demoteam member, on Augmented Reality (AR) applied to snowsports teaching. It is something absolutely new in our field of interest. It shows that ISIA Members are very skilful even when it comes to research.
We presented the outcome of the ISIA Survey of last winter. This has been helpful to better understand how our members see the ISIA future. It is important for ISIA to work as a team to make sure that we progress in the interest of the whole community. This can only be achieved by listening to everybody in the association.
As a worldwide association, the ISIA AD approved a new voting system. This established a better, more balanced relationship among the Member Associations.
What are ISIA’s committments for the upcoming events?
As I said before, we are listening to members, and our main goals are coming from what they are telling us.
Among the main projects, we plan to gradually transform the traditional World Championship formula into a new concept, that has been defined as “ISIA World Forum”. A new exchange platform hosting, not only races, but other events aiming to gather the snowsports stakeholders. Consequently we will share experiences, improve what we do, decide how to develop further. The Board is currently working on this concept.
Of course we always work on strengthening the ISIA Quality System, in order to make sure that when hiring an Instructor, the customers ask for ISIA qualified teachers. This concept could lead us to involve the ski schools, establishing some guidelines or standards to recognise the quality of the schools employing professionals. We realised it is a wish of our members to go down this route, and it makes sense.
What have been your priorities during the last two years as ISIA President?
When the new elected Board started the mandate, we were inheriting a very high responsibility from the previous Board. We were clear that our mission was to keep strengthening the association. Together with the members we stick to the formula “open, collaborative and transparent” that was presented since the early beginning.
That’s why, last winter, following the ISIA Workshop held during the 2018 AD, we started the ISIA Survey initiative.
It’s not been easy. Before this, we had to establish a new office, with a new General Secretary, and that took time. Now the Office is well settled, at the bottom of the prestigious Kandahar slope in Grainau, Germany, and the new General Secretary, Peter Hennekes, is fully operative.
What are your future goals as the association’s President?
The main goal is to make sure that the association, the value of the ISIA Quality Standard and of the ISIA awards (ISIA Card and ISIA Stamp) gets further recognised. I want them to be strongly admired worldwide.
This means we keep working on the consistency and the high quality of the education standard. We make sure that all the stake holders of the market are aware of it. We aim to involve ISIA in new areas and nations that are now developing, such as China. To do this, the association has to present itself as a whole, with a very solid and strong unique identity.
I’m glad to say that such goals are shared by the Board. We are working together in harmony and this is fundamental in order to further boost the association.
That is why, to close this interview, I want to mention the whole team that is working with me:
Valentin Kiedaisch (Vice President Europe),
Martin Jean (Vice President Americas),
Kiminobu Sugiyama (Vice President Asia and Pacific),
Jiri Kotaska, Sandi Murovec, Tomislav Sepic, Timo Welsby, (Advisors),
Katalin Eggri (Treasurer),
Peter Hennekes (General Secretary).
Thanks to President Caffi for his time, we wish him and the rest of the board the best of luck for all their projects.
Interview by Federico Sollini – Head Coach, Subzero Coaching.
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Interview with Vittorio Caffi, President International Ski Instructors Association – Subzero Coaching