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“Anyway, I took your camp I think three years ago - maybe four. Just so you have some background - I taught myself to xc ski in 1972 when I moved here from Montana and realized the relatively pathetic state of downhill skiing (I learned to ski on "the hill" which was Bridger Bowl - 2000' vertical with constant powder. I never saw anyone sharpen their edges until I moved here). I taught the first Jackrabbit league in the city in Kanata, and was the city coordinator for the Kanata Jackrabbit league the following year. That year I got my CANSI Level 1 instructor's ticket. During that time, I met Jackrabbit Johannson twice, and was completely inspired by him. I skied the final Gatineau 55 (on 220cm wood skis with 3-pin bindings) in 7hrs and 20 minutes after having skied through the pine tar - the sun was going down as I crossed the finish line -I had no idea how far 55km was. Two years later I did the Keski 50km classic in 6hr and 6 minutes, then laid out for several years, then did the 25 a few years later in an embarassing 3 hours (shame! shame!). I had taken several one-on-one personal lessons over that time, and a couple of club sessions with the Nortel ski club, trying to learn to skate and to improve my classic. As you can tell, I am not a serious racer. I ski because I love everything about xc skiing. The year I took your camp, I was in my late 50's, still couldn't skate for more than 15 or 20 strides at a time without going over my AT, and was getting discouraged about ever skating the Keski 50 in under 4 hours, which is my partial goal in my long-term plan to ski at least 10km in my 100th year. I didn't quite know what to expect from your camp. I knew about the two of you, and that you were both world class skiers, but I didn't know how well you would be able to transfer that knowledge, and I didn't know about the quality of the people you'd have assisting you. I crave, and consequently seek out, high quality and excellence. Your camp provided both. It was the best thing that I have done, ever, to improve my skiing ability. You guys were excellent instructors - patient, only gave us one thing at a time to work on, gave us mantras and visualizations which I still use ("Open the hips!" "Present the heel!" and my fave from Dan Mallett, who told us that the little tassel on our caps was for the ski gods to grab onto and pull on, in order to help us extend our glide when we were on one ski!). Your approach was hard to describe, but far more gestalt than sequential and hierarchical. I came away from the camp knowing how to ski with my body, not my brain. I experienced the zone (and have several times since). You were well organized, had more world class instructors than I knew lived around here (who also knew how to teach), but most of all, I had a great time. The camp was pivotal in my skiing career - it helped me to ski better and enjoy it more than any other (compact) experience I've had. The first Keski I did after your camp, I trained like crazy, and took two hours off my personal best (!) when I skied 42km classic in 3hrs 40min. I can't say that all of it was due to your camp, but I don't think I would have been able to do the training without having done your camp. So, you two have made a significant contribution to my life! No wonder I'm a big fan. I still can't skate up the hill from P8 to the bottom of Penguin without stopping, nor up the Pink's Lake hill, but I'm working on it. I'm looking forward to your camp this season. In 2005, I will skate the Keski in under 4 hours. Thanks very much for all you have done, with the camps, the videos, the DVDs, and with your accessibility. You improve the quality of life here. Best regards.” - Tim
|“My first encounter with the xczone ski camps was as a novice trying to master the intricacies of skate skiing. Over the course of two days, we were slowly transformed from akward, inefficient machines into a group of athletes who could begin to feel the fluidity and force behind true technique. This was accomplished with precise instruction, specific drills and excellent snow conditions. Dave McMahon and Lise Meloche have been wonderful ambassadors for the sport of XC skiing. Their camps will appeal to a range of athletes, from both the novice to the competitive skiier. Their dedication and love of the sport shines through not only in their technical knowledge, which is second to none, but also in warmth and enthusiasm." - Suzanne R., Triathlete, Osteopath, Physiotherapist.
"Thank you for the incredible day on the camp. I can honestly that it was one of the finest days of instruction I have ever received, and will be sure to pass on to everyone I run into. Your patience, understanding of the technique, enthusiasm, and attention to detail was superb, and it showed in the results by the end of the day with the majority of skiers. Compared to downhill skiing I used to teach, you have a far tougher task at hand with X-Country. I only congratulate those who surpass my expectations, like you both did ! Dave staying me until dark is just a small example of that. Thanks again" Grant - a rookie but loving the Clean Oxygen Fed Sport!!