By Dan Egan EBS Contributor
Skiers looking to control their speed should rise up between turns. This will move your hips over your feet and your feet under your hips, which will result in applying pressure on the front of the ski at the start of the new turn. By pressuring the front of the ski, while placing it on edge, the ski will flex and absorb energy, and this will control speed as you enter the next turn.
In photo one, professional freeskier Clara Greb completes a turn and initiates the next one by reaching with her downhill pole. By initiating with the pole she has a created a timing and rhythm for the next turn. Notice the edge pressure illustrated by the plum of snow caused by the edged ski as well as the hip angle.
It’s important to notice the shovel of both skis digging into the snow. The spray of snow is initiated by both skis in the shovel or tip of the ski in front of the binding. This tip pressure is crucial for speed control. She moves into the transition prior to any over edging or chatter of the downhill ski.
In photo two, with her eyes looking ahead and her shoulders square to the hill, she starts to rise up moving her hips toward her hands while the skis move into the transition—they start to flatten with less pressure on the edges of the skis and there is no skid or spray of snow.
In the transition of the turn it is important to roll onto the new edge as one fluid motion from releasing the old edge. Short transitions equal more control. By rising the hips up the shovels of the skis will dig into the snow on the new turn, which initiates the bending of the ski in the new arcing turn.
A smooth, quick transition with high hips moving towards the tips of the skis is important and the crux of control. If skiers delay movement in the transition, there is both an increase in speed and a lack of control in the next turn.
In photo three, Greb is standing taller, her skis are in the fall line and her hips are starting to move to the inside of the new arc. Notice that the skis are starting to roll onto the new edge, her eyes have shifted to the right to look towards the inside of the new turn and her heels are under her hips.
As the skis roll onto the new edge, deceleration will start to happen as the skis bend and arc into the new turn. Notice how close the hips are to the hand—her hips moved toward the pole-planted downhill hand and as she moves up and out of the old turn, and into the new turn, the left hand pole will start to extend down the hill to initiate the new turn.
In photo four, the plume of snow equals energy loss caused by an arcing edged ski. The new downhill pole is swung out and down the hill in anticipation of the next turn, continuing the timing and the rhythm set up in the pervious turn.
Rising your hips up will allow you to remain in balance, especially in big mountain skiing. It will allow you to gain control, regulate your speed and feel more comfortable in the transitions of your turns.
Extreme skiing pioneer Dan Egan has appeared in 12 Warren Miller Ski films and countless others. He was inducted into the U.S Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in 2016. Today he teaches clinics and guides trips at locations around the world including Big Sky, where he’ll be teaching this season (contact Big Sky Mountain Sports for availability). Find more information on Dan Egan camps and clinics go to skiclinics.com.