Last week we sat down with Eva Thoren, joint owner and manager of Trysilguidene, the largest ski school in Norway. We spoke with her about her ideas behind the ski school, and why we think Scandinavia is the best place to learn to ski in Europe.
Eva Thoren is an exceptionally busy lady, having taken over Trysilguidene from her brother some 15 winters ago she jointly runs one of the largest ski schools in Scandinavia. Coincidentally I bumped into Eva’s brother on a ski lift a couple of days before I met Eva for the interview. They share the same eyes, which reflect their passion for this work whether they’re surrounded by the glistening snow of Norway’s premiere ski resort, or the cosy busy-ness of Eva’s office.
It is this passion, I believe, that has shaped Trysilguidene into the largest ski school in Norway and one of the most respected ski schools in Scandinavia. It’s a passion that she ensures she shares with her ski instructors, who all support her values of being driven, engaging, empathetic and honest, 4 qualities she thinks are necessary in instructors alongside the obvious: passion for skiing. Once she has found instructors who share the values of Trysilguidene, Eva believes it takes 5 years for them to become fully educated, and so one of her most important goals is to keep those highly trained and passionate instructors working for Trysilguidene. It obviously works for both her staff and customers; holidaymakers keep coming back and some of the instructors have worked at Trysilguidene for more than 15 years.
Skiing in your language
Most of the ski instructors I’ve met in Norway over the years speak at least 3 languages, often more. I spoke to one Danish instructor in Trysil who casually counted off on her fingers the languages she spoke and then deliberated German because she wasn’t good enough to teach skiing in German. This is a far cry from the French ski schools of my youth (and not so youth) when the ESF instructors were ex-professional skiers who found their way into instructing because of lack of other options in the region, and who were about as interested in teaching children as I was in skiing by the end of my holiday. Unfortunately, conversations with guests of all ages tell me this is still often the case. Fortunately, I now get to see guests' faces when they meet their Scandinavian instructors and are greeted in flawless English, with smiles and engaging chat as they get down to the children’s level to introduce themselves. Or when they return at the end of the lesson and find the children in a snowball fight with said instructor; laughing and truly enjoying their holiday after a fantastic morning’s skiing.
A Trysilguidene instructor teaches skiing in Trysil having passed the rigorous
training and vetting process to teach for the world class ski school.
Not by accident
This work ethic is not by accident, after explaining to me her 4 values by which she selects instructors, Eva shows me the reams of paper on her desk that are laid out from arranging the instructors for the following week’s lesson. The paperwork details everyone who is enrolled in classes, their special requests, language, skiing ability and more. Alongside it is similar information for the instructors so that she can ensure that everyone has the instructor that they are most suited to, and vis-versa. It’s this attention to detail that ensures a high quality experience for guests and that keeps instructors passionate about their job; “I think we’re small enough to be able to really get into every person who works here and develop their qualities. And I think if you have a really big ski school you’re not able to do that, and if you have a small ski school, maybe you don’t have the necessary tools, the knowledge and so on, to do that.”
The Goldilocks Zone
The balance between large and small isn’t the only place where Trysilguidene are ‘just right.’ That Trysilguidene set up in Trysil is no coincidence, “we didn’t get what we wanted [in our previous ski school, so] we were looking and saw that [in Trysil] we have a mountain that is really something.” It was the same qualities of great skiing, great snow and great location that Eva’s brother saw in Trysil 25 years ago which have turned Trysil into the largest ski resort in Norway. “Trysil has a little of everything, so everybody can find what they need” Eva explained when I asked her why Trysil was so popular. It certainly helps that it is only two hours from Oslo airport and that it has two ski-in/ski-out Radisson Blu hotels, not to mention one of the best ski schools in Scandinavia.
The best ski school in Europe?
There is a reason we’re so passionate about promoting skiing in Scandinavia, and that’s because we think it’s the best. We think it has the best ski schools, the best resorts, the best skiing, the best for families, the best for couples, the best for off piste… you get the idea. We’re a bit busy to run a full research project on this and would rather spend our budget making skiing in Scandinavia known to more people, but we think what our past guests have said is all the proof we need:
“The ski schools were fantastic for both our children (aged 6 and 3). Both Erika and Oscar were brilliant ski instructors who made the lessons fun and both [children] are keen to come again, which is so important!” Mrs S
“Instructors were amazing and [the class size] ratios were really good! My daughter’s confidence and enjoyment of skiing came on leaps and bounds!” Mrs K
Of course, Trysil is not alone in Scandinavia in providing exceptional ski instruction. Scandinavians have a different outlook on life and tourism to their counterparts in the European Alps and that shines through across the ski resorts of Norway, Sweden and Finland. Generally speaking, the Scandinavians are proud of their nature, their winter sports and they are happy to share the experience, happier still to inspire others to enjoy the outdoors as they do. That outlook really shines through in the ski lessons here, and whether you join us in Trysil or prefer to venture to the resorts of Lapland you’ll be sure to find fantastic ski schools that will inspire you no matter your age or ability.
Trysil is our flagship resort in Norway and the home of our exclusive ski schools, developed with the joint expertise of skiNorway and Trysilguidene, leading the way in inspiring people of all ages to love skiing. For more information and to book you next skiing holiday contact skiNorway on 0207 199 6010 or by email.