Written by Ieva Jan (former Lithuanian Alpine Ski Racer and Olympian and LSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor)
I have always thought why I chose alpine skiing as my sport knowing that I live in the country that you can easily call flatlands. It was a very bumpy road, but it went from being a skier who goes to ski on holidays to an Olympic skier and now it seems like it was a very normal transition.
In 2005 I joined a newly founded ski club in my hometown Vilnius and that’s were I learned to ski in gates. Soon I started expanding my horizons racing around in Europe. At the beginning, it was not easy psychologically and result-wise, but it got better with years passing and experience. What has started as a fun activity with a group of friends, became a serious work with expectation for results and love for this sport. The Olympic dream really started when I joined international team with a base in Kronplatz, Italy and continued through Sochi 2014 and Pyongchang 2018 Olympic Games. I loved every aspect of racing – the fresh mornings and slushy spring afternoons on the snow, trainings and free skiing, travelling and new people around, but most of all – power and freedom I would get on skis.
While I was still a racer I have started studying physiotherapy in university back home. My goal was to get a better insight into movement patterns, human body and sports in general. I was studying and doing sports at the same time which was quite a challenging task. But my goal was to do the best in studies and at the same time in sport. Being able to study and because of it learn more about myself as an athlete was one of the greatest things in that period. Finally I realized, that I can combine these two disciplines not only in my schedule, but also by practical application of knowledge. After all, on my last year of university, I’ve decided to stop my career as a skier.
And then another opportunity came – I was asked to join the ski club as a coach. The idea scared me a little. Can I coach ski racing? Even though I had plenty of ski racing experience, this position was all new to me. And that’s how I found LSIA!
Talking honestly, at first I didn’t think I will learn many new things or information. For many years I was around great coaches, ski racers and technicians. I thought I knew all the necessary stuff already! But I was wrong … in the LSIA Level 1 Course I was taught one, but the most important skill – to think and be creative – think what is needed for each situation and find the solution, collaborate with student while teaching them and most importantly enjoy skiing, feel confident and easy on the skis. Find YOUR best way to do the turn!
I remembered what it feels and how people feel when they see the skis for the first time. I enjoyed and benefited from the freedom LSIA Examiners gave us while we practiced and worked on our skiing fundamentals and struggled to perfect Basic Turn demonstrations. I finally realized how to properly use my feet in skiing. I wish I had felt and known that before, it would have helped my skiing and maybe my progress in racing. I am not saying, that all of this is some magic pill, that will make you ski better immediately or become the best teacher there is, but if you find the place where your personal philosophy of life and skis matches, it definitely motivates you to learn and move forward.
That’s what LSIA is for me!
Our week in Sölden with LSIA reminded me of my times in ski racing – especially with the discussions about skiing technique, teaching and learning during the evenings, which was so interesting that sometimes we kept discussing until late!
Great experiences come with great company involved and gives you motivation for future work, self-confidence and projects! I am looking forward to join LSIA to gain further education and qualification as a ski instructor. I especially cannot wait to experience thrilling Level 3 Freeride / Avalanche Module.