Great Britain’s national body for ski instructors, the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI), made a public statement of their support for the EU at the industry’s annual World Interski 2019 conference staged at Pamporovo, Bulgaria this week.
In Great Britain’s spectacular showcase, a demonstration of high-speed synchronised skiing, a team of twelve world-class instructors ended their run by unfurling a European Union flag together with the Union Jack.
“In front of one thousand delegates from 33 countries the act made a clear statement on the position held by the majority of Britain’s qualified snowsports instructors with regard to Brexit. The response from the crowd was emphatic, we’re with you and you are part of our global community,” a statement from BASI, the British Association of Snowsports Instructors.
Currently BASI has 6,300 British trained instructors working in 38 countries around the world – the vast majority in the European Union.
“Brexit has certainly thrown a spanner in the works for this profession and as this winter season draws to a close, many British instructors working in Europe’s ski resorts now face uncertainty for the next winter season,” the BASI statement continued.
The team’s flag gesture was not lost on World Interski’s Secretary General, Peter Mall, from Austria who commented publicly at the daily briefing meeting;
“I’d like to thank Great Britain for flying the European flag during your demo last night. Your support for Europe is much appreciated”.
Peter Mall’s sentiment was reflected by a round of applause from the assembled delegations.
Brexit poses problems not only for British ski instructors in the world of snowsports. A number of international delegates from other EU nations shared their personal concerns for their instructor recruitment programmes in a post-Brexit world. Large numbers of ski schools across Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland recruit ski and snowboard instructing staff from BASI, the organisation reports.
One ski school director from Austria, currently employs 7 BASI qualified British instructors and his school teaches 3000 British school children every winter, he has no idea if he is going to be able to continue to employ British instructors within his operation. Many ski school directors at the conference echoed these anxieties.
Great Britain’s delegation at World Interski is led by BASI Chairman, James Lister who said;
“The vast majority of British snowsports instructors are in favour of remaining within the EU. The future European working rights of many of our members remains unclear at the moment and makes planning for the future difficult for both British instructors and the ski schools who employ them in the European Alps. Brexit continues to create uncertainty for all British instructors who currently earn their livelihoods on the slopes of Europe.”
“Britain is highly respected in the international world of snowsports, we punch well above our weight for a non- Alpine nation and BASI will continue to work bilaterally with EU countries to clarify and secure the future working rights for British instructors for the benefit of BASI members and the European ski schools who want to employ them,” Mr Lister added.
Interski was first staged in Arlberg (Austria) in 1951 and every 4 years it organises the biggest snowsport congress in the world.
The World Interski congress exists for the specific purpose of sharing knowledge and understanding of snowsport teaching methodologies and techniques among Interski’s affiliated nations.
In the beginning, it was made up of only alpine countries, today it is made up of nearly 40 nations, including Great Britain, represented by BASI. Britain’s first appearance at World Interski 1971 in Garmisch Partenkirchen and it has been represented by BASI ever since.