By Dan Egan EBS Contributor
Visualization is a great tool to kick off the ski season. I use it all the time to reinforce both the physical and emotional side of skiing.
One of the biggest benefits of the visual exercise is it allows for flawless skiing, which in turn will allow you to break through bad habits and poor body positions that may have plagued you in the past. Also, if used correctly you can change any fear-based patterns into positive emotions that will greatly enhance your future skiing experience.
The idea is to reprogram the connection between your mind and body. To accomplish this, allow yourself to be completely engulfed emotionally and physically in the setting of your vision.
First, set the stage for the location. Where are you skiing? What’s the temperature of the day? How are you dressed? And what equipment are you skiing on?
Equally important, what are you seeing? Are you there on a freshly groomed trail or shredding fresh tracks in powder? Answering these questions will anchor the vision.
Then embrace the emotions generated within the vision. How are you feeling standing on your skis in this place? What emotions are swelling up within you as you anticipate your descent? Answering these questions provides an emotional attachment to the vision, which will reinforce the exercise.
Now think about why you ski and then state the purpose for this vision, use a phrase such as: I want to ski the ultimate run with the goal to improve my ski skills. I’m going to make long smooth turns with dynamic body movements throughout the arc and feel light and free in the transitions.
When you’re ready to push off down the mountain, take a deep breath, exhale and go.
Once you’re in motion, feel the wind in your face, sense the snow under your skis, balance yourself over your feet and tip your skis into the first turn. Now sink into the arc and as the skis build up pressure to carve, drive and bend your knees to the inside of the turn and pressure the front of your ski boots with your shins.
Feel the arc of the ski generating power and precision as it rips through the snow. Absorb the ski flexing as it vibrates over the terrain and brace for the acceleration generated in the last third of the turn.
Then actively move your body down the hill and over your skis, floating through the transition and into the next turn.
While this is happening, embrace the emotions of the moment, are you excited, relaxed and joyful, or are you intense, focused and determined?
This has worked for me since I was a young skier and today when I partake in this exercise, I start by looking around the snow-covered peaks and then allow the visions of tracks and turns to flood my mind.
As the images of my skiing start to take shape in my mind, I feel a deep inner satisfaction that results in a broad wide smile.
In these visualizations I embark on a journey that delivers the emotions of the moment, a mixture of anticipation, excitement and joy that can only be felt when skiing, especially after a long off-season.
As I visualize these ski runs, I allow my body to sway, my hands start to mimic the angle of the skis and duplicate the arc of the turn. Feeling the momentum build both emotionally and physically, I start to duplicate my movements and adjust my breathing in anticipation of a long, powerful run.
I see myself as the skier that rips through it. Even as I write this, I’m smiling, enjoying the experience of skiing and enjoying how the mental vision of the ultimate skiing daydream will find its way into reality one day on the slopes.
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 Big Sky, where he’ll be teaching Dec. 16-17, Feb. 22-24, March 1-2 and March 8-10, as well as throughout the season (contact Big Sky Mountain Sports for availability). To find more information on Dan Egan camps and clinics go to skiclinics.com.