Written by Callum Moore
Sometimes when concentrating on the exams BASI has laid out in front of us, it is easy to forget there is more to skiing than impressing the men and women in blue. Continued Professional Development helps to keep us thinking about skiing in a different way, whilst also putting us in the shoes of our clients, if only for a few hours.
With this in mind I took the opportunity to ski with Ben Cavet, Number 2 Moguls skier in the world, for a morning during a clinic provided by Avoriaz Alpine Ski School. The session was aimed towards instructors and seasonaires wanting to improve their bumps. Along with Ben, Mark McKellar was on hand to give an instructors point of view.
The session started on piste working through the warm up drills and routine Ben goes through before competitions, but this also enabled us to practice the specific nuances of moguls technique. Specifically aiming to improve rotational disassociation between our upper and lower body whilst keeping a relatively flat ski. Deflection in moguls only adds to throwing you off balance and away from the fall line decent most of us are aiming towards. The culmination of these drills was a combination of braquage and compression turns with a fast edge change but elongated skid at the end of the turn. Tricky to explain and even more tricky to master.
Taking this technique into the bumps proved a challenge for all of us. But with practice and continued input from Ben and Mark everyone within the group was able to ski a fall line decent with consistent speed. Moving on from control we started to explore the line used in completion bumps.
Moguls are scored 60% on technique, 20% jumps and 20% time. Whilst the time makes up only a fifth of the overall score, skiing the bumps fast whist making them look easy obviously increases the technique score. Therefore, we started to explore ways of “making the bumps smaller” whist skiing through a “narrow slot” towards the inside of the bumps. Effectively this involves a direct line skipping between the shoulder of consecutive bumps, not trying to drop into the bottom of the trough and staying to the side of a bump. This is obviously much easier when they are neatly machined into place, but still achievable when you find a natural rut line. Needless to say this is where Ben excelled and the rest of us needed practice.
As with any elite sport the equipment becomes more and more specialist. Instantly noticeable were Ben’s small poles, he also explained how the skis he uses in competitions have a very stiff tail but soft nose with hardly any side cut. More interesting was how even though his Rossignol skis come with a race quality base, he instantly takes sandpaper to them to slow them down. Speed in bumps it turns out isn’t down to wax and edge files.
Overall the session, led by Mark and Ben, was enlightening with regards to bumps technique as well as challenging for all involved. It is always good to learn from and talk to the people that are pushing the different aspects of our sport. Whilst we might never teach such a high end lesson to any of our usual clients, nor will we probably teach the fasted way round some gates, it is always good to challenge ourselves with our own skiing and put us safely back in the learner’s shoes for a while.
Pictures and Video Edit by George Treble