Ski Tips w/ Dan Egan

Plant your pole in Gravity – By Dan Egan

Pole planting initiates the skies body motion down the hill.  The problem is many skiers pole plants are in the direction of across the hill or in the direction of their ski tips. The pole should be planted at right angles to your feet.

Ultimately you want the tip of the pole to be pointing in the direction of your path.  And here is why, when the tip of your pole travels down the fall line several things happen. One, our shoulder will create a counter angle to your skis, two your hips will move towards your hands, three your skis will release in the fall line and four your eyes will look down the fall line.

At my camps around the world we dig a bit deeper into this concept and explore the these four points.

 

Dan rips powder at Kicking Horse.

Dan rips powder at Kicking Horse.

1) When you reach down hill with your pole plant your shoulders will do two things, they will square off to the fall line and move out and over your feet.  This will give you more speed control.

2) Now you will be ready for the transition of the turn and if you move your hips and core towards your down hill pole in the fall line you will move your body out and over your feet and set you up for a smoother transition.

3) What you will discover in these movements is the skis will now release and flow into the fall line and travel out and away from your body which will set you up for a smooth round turn with your upper body moving through the center of the arc.  This will ultimately give you more control and use less energy.

4) The added bonus is that when you plant your pole in the direction of the fall line your eyes will also look down the hill rather than across the hill and this will allow you to flow into your turns with greater confidence.

So you see that planting your pole in gravity or down the fall line will set up a chain reactions that will make you more efficient, use less energy and make your skiing more dynamic.

The key is to resist the temptation to swing the tip of the pole in the direction of the tip of the ski.  This will move your body across the hill rather then down the hill and the result will be that your body will move around the arc rather than through the arc.  Plus once your eyes are focused down the hill you will notice that you will be less intimidated by obstacles in your path.

All Grip, No Slip Skiing – By Dan Egan

“All Grip, No Slip Skiing” is as much of a state of mind as it is proper body position.  The edges on our skis are designed to grip, cut and hold on the slope.  They are sharp and should be used as a tool for fine-tuning your experience on the mountain.

At my “All Terrain Skiing” camps at Kilington, Big Sky, Val D Isere France I encourage skiers to “Stand against the Mountain”. What does this mean?  It means lean out and away from the slope, which can be a bit scary but remember your skies are designed for this.  As you lean out and away from the slope move your body to the inside of the turn and allow your skis to move out and away from your body. This will provide proper body position in the not only the arc of the turn but also in the transition because your feet will move under your hips keeping you in balance and moving you forward towards the next turn.

Unfortunately too many advanced and expert skiers use their edges as a last ditch effort to slow down, which produces the ski to skid and or chatter. So many times skiers in my clinics will feel their edges for the first time and think they did something wrong because the feeling was so different from their normal sliding or skiing turn.

Dan Egan and Dan Herby rip big sky

Dan Egan and Dan Herby rip big sky

The reason you want to stand against the mountain is that edge grip provides skiers the confidence to arc their skis on steep and firm conditions. Skiing requires the skier to be proactive in movement and the faster the more you have to anticipate your movements.  A ski racer once told me that, “Ski Technique can be summed up this way, keep your body moving forward, down the hill and fight to keep up with your skis.”

So where does this leave the skier who does not want to ski as fast as a ski racer?  The answer remains the same, move your body forward and over your feet for “All Grip, No Slip Skiing.”  Speed control is in the grip and the grip is in proper body position.  The better position, the better the grip and the better the grip the more control you’ll have.

How to Ski a Powder Run on Skis – By Dan Egan

Remember – Its Position Not Strength, this is What Works in Powder

I find that many recreational skiers, especially in the East, have a problem skiing powder. After all, we don’t get linear feet of the stuff all that often. Most recreational skiers make two basic mistakes when skiing powder, first they over turn their skis and two they lean back. This combination creates frustration and a cry for more grooming. Remember these simple tips on the next powder day…

Ski the slope in sections; always know where you are going to stop before you start to ski. This will give you a goal. It doesn’t matter if its two turns or five turns away. Don’t over turn your skis; let the friction of the snow slow you down. Stand tall between turns, this will move your hips over your feet and allow you stay in a balanced position. Skiing the slope in sections is a powerful technique because if you can make three great turns and stop and repeat that again and again you’ll have a great over all run and not be worn out from the falls that occur on the fourth and fifth turn! Plus this will build confidence that will eventually allow you to ski longer sections.

Great position in South America

Great position in South America

Not over turning your skis is very important in deep snow. Remember the friction of the snow will slow your skis down and if you allow this to happen you will notice that the turn initiation will become much easier and you’ll have more energy to ski consistently in the section of slope you have chosen to ski. And finally standing tall between turns will provide you with an athletic stance that will take the pressure off of your thighs and allow your position to turn the skis rather than your strength. And the result will be that you’ll be able to stop at the location you originally selected at the top of your section of the slope.

Remember, powder skiing is the ultimate experience on skis and if you approach it in this manner you can begin to unlock the magic that awaits you when you ski powder with position and not strength. –

Dan Egan ‘87’ runs ski camps at Killington Resort, Big Sky Montana and Val D Isere France. Contact Dan at Info@skiclinics.com or check out the schedule at www.skiclinics.com

Powder Magazine names Dan Egan one of the “Top Skiers of All Time.” Dan Egan established his reputation as one of the premier adventure skiers in the world and appeared in 12 Warren Miller Ski films. Egan leads and participates in adventure travel trips ranging from the Alps to the Arctic.

Upper Body Position – By Dan Egan

By creating proper upper body position, your lower body can create the angles needed for solid ski technique. If the upper body is positioned over the feet, with hands and shoulders slightly in front of the feet, your feet will then follow your body downhill, creating the proper lower body position for edge pressure. A very pronounced proper upper body stance will provide many benefits including less fatigue and more control over a variety of terrain.

Many skiers are skiing in a neutral stance, or slightly aft of center, with shoulders over their heels. This is compounded when hands drop or linger behind between turns. To correct this, keep your arms extended and reach for each pole plant. As you plant your pole to initiate the next turn, move your hip to your hand. This keeps your upper body over your feet and by doing this between turns, your upper body will realign its self between turns.

Ski with Dan this winter
Dan facing down hill

Dan facing down hill

Remember skis are designed to accelerate. If you carve a turn correctly your feet will jet out in front of your body. When you don’t realign your body over your feet, your speed will increase with each turn and your only defense will be to skid your tails at the end of the turn to keep any sense of control. However, if you focus on your pole plants and reach your hands down the hill and snap your hip to your hands as you initiate the next turn ( again, I don’t think this is clear) you will find that your speed will become consistent while you gain more control and confidence. Then you can ski more diverse terrain such as steeper trails and a variety of conditions.

Proper Upper Body is the key to good skiing. The realignment of the upper body I am suggesting will allow the lower body to find its natural position, remain in balance, and this will allow you to create edge angle as your carve your skis.

Tip Pressure in the New World of Ski Design – By Dan Egan

Recently, ski design has changed again with the introduction of early rising tips (rocker) and reverse camber. So what changes are necessary in our ski technique when it comes to tip pressure and speed control? Shaped skis allow us to edge early in the turn and decelerate through edge pressure and turn initiation. And to accomplish this you need to create pressure on the edge early in the arc. This is all initiated through pressuring the tip.

Now how do new ski designs affect this?  With the advent of shape skis, we saw shorter skis introduced on the market. Now skis are getting longer again. Why? The is answer is skis are getting longer again because with the early rising tip we need more ski in front of the binding to grip with.

What you notice with early rising ski tips is that the camber under the foot is where the entire grip takes place. The early rising tip is easier to initiate into the turn because it is pre bent in the direction of the arc. But it still requires us to pressure the front of the ski and that is why skis are getting longer again.

The secret to creating tip pressure is to pull up on your heels to create down pressure” on the tips. For shaped skis you need a bit more “up” pull from the heels to create the “down pressure on the tips. Older skiers will recognize this movement as it is similar to the why we use to ski the old, straight skis. On today’s early rise ski, that initiates the turn a bit easier, I can adjust the amount of “up” heel pull and ski with slightly less tip pressure.

Dan Egan, pressuring the tips in bumps

Dan Egan, pressuring the tips in bumps

With the new reverse camber and early rise skis, the sweet (or balance) spot on hard pack snow is smaller and in softer deeper snow the sweet spot is larger because the softer snow supports the arc of the ski. With these newer skis, if you adjust your balance points you’ll grow to love them. Solid ski technique still remains the same; tip pressure is the key to controlling your speed.

You go where you look! – So look where you want to go! – View Tip

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Move from a solid stance to gain balance and control – View Tip

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