Floating Between The Turns
Images for the Floating ski tip by Jen Bennett, Rumble Productions
Floating between turns
By Dan Egan
New England Ski Journal Contributor
The moment between turns is magical. It’s a time of detachment from what was and what will be; a feeling of weightlessness generated by the energy of the last turn mixed with a freedom of floating through time and space.
If you want to learn to float between your turns, you must digest a few key truths about skiing:
Have a game plan. Descending a snow-covered mountain requires strategy and tactics, and these take preparation, planning and execution. Pushing off the top of a run with a game plan of where you’re going will add purpose to your skiing. Once you understand your destination and why you are going there your confidence will build allowing you to arrange your body in proper skiing positions throughout the run.
Skis are designed to accelerate. The main function of turning is to change direction not slow down. Every time I tell skiers this they look at me in disbelief, but its true. Technology is built into skis to absorb and control energy, and redirect skiers across and down the slope. Once you believe this you’ll enter into a new level of freedom on the mountain.
Stand perpendicular to the mountain. Between turns, standing at right angles to the slope you’re skiing will unlock your body from the cage of apprehension. It will place you in control and place you in a position to work with gravity rather than fight it.
To slow down, plan ahead. Deceleration happens over a series of turns. If you want to slow down, remain in balance and gain control, and practice slowing down over a series of three turns. This will introduce a whole new understanding to your run.
Ski the mountain in sections. Get in the practice of saying, “I’m going to start here and end there.” Then regroup and do it again. By skiing the slope in sections, you’ll feel more relaxed and confident going from point A to point B and the quality of your skiing will reflect this newfound confidence.
Try these simple steps on terrain below your ability level, and focus your attention to what is happening between your turns. Self-evaluate to determine your level of freedom. If you start to feel a release of energy and a detachment from the slope you’ll slowly start enjoying the feeling of time and space between turns and enter into a new dimension of the sport.
Extreme skiing pioneer Dan Egan has appeared in 12 Warren Miller Ski films and countless others. Today he teaches clinics and guides trips at locations around the world including Killington VT, where he’ll be teaching Jan. 23-24, Feb. 20-31, March 19-202. Find more ski tips from Dan Egan at skiclinics.com/education/skitips.