The Lithuanian Snowsports Instructors Association recently had the privilege of representing Lithuania at the prestigious INTERSKI 2023 Congress, held in Levi, Finland, from March 26 to 31, 2023. This momentous event marked a significant milestone in the organization’s journey to elevate Lithuania’s presence on the international skiing stage.
Lithuania’s Skiing Showcase
Participating in INTERSKI 2023 was a transformative experience for LSIA. It provided a platform to engage with the global skiing community, learn from renowned ski instructors, and foster connections that would lead to long-lasting collaborations. The LSIA delegation had the unique opportunity to not only present Lithuania’s skiing and snowboarding ideas and educational system during the indoor lectures and on-snow workshops but also participate in ski performances (show and demo runs) alongside representatives from other nations.
For the first time in history, Lithuania made its mark on the skiing world by demonstrating its educational system not only in indoor lectures but also through clean and thrilling ski performances on the Demo slope. Audiences were captivated by LSIA’s skills and witnessed the association’s dedication to advancing winter sports in Lithuania and worldwide.
The videos of Lithuania Demo Team can be found here – https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLulFtA6cXfOxCpahEkNYmZxM9O8xDw1uz
A Productive Endeavor
LSIA’s participation in INTERSKI 2023 proved to be highly successful and productive. The delegation returned home with invaluable experience, insights into current trends in winter sports, and a deeper understanding of teaching models employed globally. Their active involvement in seminars and interactions during the congress resulted in the inception of a promising future.
Jiri Nohejl’s Lecture: Empowering Student-Centered Snowsports Instruction
In his lecture, “Sympathy and Communication: Mirror Neuron Systems in Modern Teaching,” Jiri Nohejl explored the essence of student-centered teaching in snowsports. He delved into the pivotal role of social interaction, trust, rapport, and shared meaning in successful lessons. Nohejl’s approach, rooted in the moral philosophy traditions of the Scottish Enlightenment and modern cognitive science research on mirror neurons, highlighted the need for a “candidate-centered” educational framework to develop student-centered instructors.
The lecture emphasized the significance of imagination in bridging gaps, where sympathy, defined as harmony in action, played a central role. This harmony was closely tied to the resonance of mirror neurons, which react when actions are both performed and observed. From this perspective, snowsports instructors’ education must prioritize the cultivation of skills that promote harmonious and mutual interaction during the learning process.
Jiri Nohejl’s lecture provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of snowsports instruction, highlighting the importance of empathy, effective communication, and a student-centered approach. This presentation further enriched LSIA’s contributions to INTERSKI 2023, underlining their dedication to advancing snowsports education and empowering instructors to create meaningful and engaging learning experiences.
Ieva Urbonavičiūtė-Purkėnė: Stork Your Turn with Lithuanian Snowsports
During lecture, titled “Stork Your Turn with Lithuanian Snowsports”, Ieva Urbonavičiūtė-Purkėnė shared Lithuania’s extraordinary journey, going from having no national organization to becoming an international snowsports organization, and gaining recognition at Interski. This engaging story deeply resonated with a nation, despite its flat terrain, passionately drawn to the thrill of skiing and snowboarding. The lecture highlighted how Lithuanian passions and hobbies transformed into ambitious aspirations for careers in snowsports racing and tourism.
A crucial turning point in this transformation was the establishment of the Lithuanian Snowsports Instructors Association in 2018, symbolizing a steadfast commitment to continuous improvement. The association’s motto, “Stork Your Turn,” not only pays homage to Lithuania’s heritage but also signifies a resolute dedication to progress and excellence in the field of snowsports education. Ieva Urbonaviciute-Purkene was the first Lithuanian to conceive the idea of forming such an association in Lithuania, where none existed before. Her visionary leadership and dedication served as a driving force behind this significant initiative. Ieva’s lecture served as a powerful testament to Lithuania’s unwavering spirit and determination to excel on the global stage of winter sports.
Biomechanics and Cognition: Learning from Mistakes
The LSIA delegation led an enlightening on-snow workshop titled “Biomechanics and Cognition: Learning from Mistakes.” This collaborative effort underscored the critical role of feedback mechanisms in the learning process, allowing participants to uncover the essential elements for achieving successful improvements. There was a strong emphasis on structuring learning environments that provide pertinent and valuable feedback.
This workshop served as a testament to the LSIA’s distinctive approach to snowsports education, shining a spotlight on open-ended scenarios that act as catalysts for creativity. Such an approach empowers instructors to become highly adaptable, enabling them to efficiently guide and instruct any guest on their snowsports journey.
The workshop epitomized the association’s unwavering commitment to advancing snowsports instruction, ensuring that both learners and instructors benefit from an environment conducive to growth and excellence.
Global Recognition and Future Aspirations
The LSIA’s active participation in INTERSKI 2023 put Lithuania on the international sports map. Their dedication and commitment to promoting winter sports in Lithuania and beyond were commendable. LSIA has also made significant strides in achieving global recognition for its instructor training and education system.
A recent European Union regulation, delegated regulation (EU) 2023/865, has aligned Lithuania’s ski instructor training and education system with European standards, bringing it on par with other European countries.
Furthermore, LSIA has become a member of three prominent organizations: “Interski International,” the International Association for Schools and Universities in the Field of Skiing (IVSS/IAESS), and the International Federation of Ski Instructors (IVSI).
It’s worth noting that most of the achievements and meetings during this remarkable journey, including the successful alignment with European standards, were led by Ieva Urbonaviciute-Purkene, showcasing her invaluable contributions.
These affiliations reflect LSIA’s commitment to continuous improvement and its aspiration to be on the same level as international skiing leaders.
Their next goal is to become official members of the International Ski Instructors Association (ISIA), paving the way for LSIA-qualified instructors to be recognized and employable worldwide.
A Promising Future for Winter Sports in Lithuania
As LSIA looks to the future, the association is determined to strengthen its position as an effective organization for the promotion and popularization of skiing and winter sports in Lithuania and on a global scale. Their success at INTERSKI 2023 was just one step in their journey towards realizing this vision.
For those interested in learning more about LSIA’s activities and initiatives, LSIA official YouTube channel hosts a wealth of snow skiing and snowboarding content. Jiri Nohejl’s lecture on mirror neuron systems is available on Facebook, along with additional research material.
In closing, LSIA’s participation in INTERSKI 2023 was a resounding success that has positioned Lithuania as a noteworthy player in the world of winter sports. The association’s dedication to excellence and its commitment to furthering skiing in Lithuania and beyond serve as an inspiration to winter sports instructors everywhere. With the future looking bright, LSIA is set to continue making strides in the world of skiing and snowboarding.
[originally published in the Sport news website, sportas.info]