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Cliniced with Stu Campbell and Dave Merriam today.

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I just have to tell you guys I had an awesome day of skiing today. As a Ski School newbie, I managed to get myself included in a clinic that we've been doing Mon.-Wed. Today, we started the day skiing with Dave, and then swapped him at lunch for Stu. Both of them were just awesome skiers and instructors (and I mean that in the way that the Death Star is an awesome weapon of intergalactic destruction). We met Dave at the Demo Center (this is at Stowe, by the way), and I jumped on his chair for the first ride up. He had said that we would be working on brecage (I don't know if that's even close to how it is spelled) so I said "what's that" everyone else there being certified PSIA types of some level or another already knew what he was talking about. So he explained what it is. Steering with the hip joint, which I have heard of on this forum, but never tried.

When we got off the lift, we went for a warm-up run, and I jumped right on Dave's six to see what his skiing is all about. After maybe two turns on the flat trail leading off of the summit, I was already thinking, "hmm... he really is that good". Just tooling along, he was leaving two perfect tracks in the snow and I could really see that he has some serious awareness of what all his parts are doing. I won't try to get technical, because I can't, but believe me, he looks good.

Anyhow, after the warm-up run it was time to break it down brecage style. I don't want to bore everyone here, so I won't go into a lot of detail. We started the first run with fully skidded brecage turns nearly side slipping. This was pretty cool, and required an awareness of your stance width. It was interesting to see how much effect widening the stance had, and also, to see how a lot of peoples perceptions of their stance was different from reality. Throughtout the session, we added an element at a time until we were skiing full speed carved turns that were steered from our hip joints. This was one of the first times that I've tried something totally different in my skiing, and what is cool about it is that I liked it and could see how it applies throughout my skiing. By the time that noon rolled around, and we had to bid Dave adieu, I had decided to make this hip thing a permanent element in my normal turn.

We then rode up to the Octagon for lunch, and afterwards we met Stu for his half of the day. His topic was "The shape of things to come", or something like that. Basically, talking about turn shape as well as shaped skis, and how to teach people coming from straight skis. Stu did a warm-up run too, and while I can't describe his skiing too well, it was immediately apparent that it was quite different from Dave's. I was still feeling my brecage action, and loving the run. At the bottom, we did a little boot work. We stood on one foot, and tried to apply constant rotational force to our one foot. This proved to be impossible. When we got back to the top, Stu had us start by doing totally skidded, but round turns for a little while, thus dispelling the myth that a shaped ski must be on edge and cannot be skiied flat. He then had us ski on the middle of the ski as well as the slow part (the tip), and the fast part (the tail). As we added element upon element, it soon appeared to me that everything we were doing was the exact opposite of what we had been doing all morning, and we were still making big, ripping, carved turns that felt good . In fact, one of the final elements that we added or at least talked about and I added, was to push the outer ski forward during the turn (this instead of pulling the inside ski back). Even though the outer ski didn't really get ahead of the inside ski, the move made the tips more parallel than they would otherwise have been... and it felt cool. Once I had added this move though, it was clear... all brecage was gone. To get the outside ski forward, the hip had to go too. In fact during one run, we bombed past Dave and he jokingly yelled to me "open that stance".

All in all, it was really cool, my Ah-ha moments were discovering those brecage based turns, and feeling that little acceleration as I pushed that tip out (not too much though, or I felt like I was putting myself in the backseat). It was really cool to ski in two completely opposite ways and be able to make great turns both ways. I quess these two styles can fight it out within me for dominance. By the same token though, Stu says he will be talking about brecage tomorrow... we'll see how that goes.
post #2 of 6
BRAQUAGE: Simultaneous rotation of each leg independently, each using the other as a base of support or fulcrum.

That's the definition from Bob Barnes's "The Complete Encyclopedia of Skiing", Epic. Should be in your ski library.

Nice report of your very special day. That's the kind of thing you can encounter while clinicing with PSIA D-Team members past or present. Most divisions offer some such access as part of the education credit required for maintaining certification.
post #3 of 6

I agree with Kneale, a very interesting and enlightening report.

Sometimes when I ski, I do what I call "shuffel turns." To initiate a turn I will push my uphill ski forward and at the same time pull my down hill ski back. Another way of putting it, I alternate rythmetically pushing forward and pulling back my feet. This action, seems to initiate a crossover, and the edge changes seeem to take care of themselves.

Just another variation of makings turns, to keep life interesting and have some more fun.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Kneale, isn't the Encyclopedia still out of print? I went looking for it this fall to no avail. I figured I would hear about it being re-released here.
post #5 of 6
epic- I think you can get a copy here. I am skiing with Bob this morning and will check with him. Yes, the fourth edition is still in the works.
post #6 of 6
Don't ya just love a good clinic. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img] My last SSD called it skiing from 1(brauquage) to 10(pure carve). 1 to 10 and everything in between is what we(I) want to help our students, and ourselves, find. Sounds like one I would have really enjoyed. :
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Cliniced with Stu Campbell and Dave Merriam today.