By Dan Egan
Explore Big Sky Contributor
Changes in our ski technique are necessary when it comes to tip pressure and speed control, especially with the introduction of early rising – or rockered – tips and reverse camber. Shaped skis allow us to edge early in the turn and decelerate through edge pressure and turn initiation. To accomplish this you need to create pressure on the edge early in the arc and this is initiated through pressuring the tip.
How does new ski design affect this? With the advent of shaped skis, we saw shorter skis introduced to the market. Now skis are getting longer again, because with the early rising tip we need more ski in front of the binding for grip.
You’ll notice with early rising ski tips that the camber underfoot is where the entire grip takes place. The early rising tip is easier to initiate into the turn because it’s pre-bent in the direction of the arc. But it still requires us to pressure the front of the ski and that’s why skis are getting longer again.
The secret to creating tip pressure is to pull up on your heels to create downward pressure on the tips. For shaped skis you need a bit more upward pull from the heels to create that same downward pressure. On today’s early rise skis I can adjust the amount of upward heel pull, and ski with slightly less tip pressure.
With the new reverse camber and early rise skis, the sweet – or balance – spot on hardpack snow is smaller. In deeper snow, the sweet spot is larger because the softer snow supports the arc of the ski. If you adjust your balance points on these newer skis, you’ll grow to love them.
Solid ski technique still remains the same – tip pressure is the key to controlling your speed.
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 Feb. 26-28, March 5-7 and March 12-14. Find more ski tips from Dan Egan at skiclinics.com/education/skitips.