By Dan Egan SKICLINICS.COM
In the last few years, ski design has changed again with the introduction of early-rising tips (aka rocker) and reverse camber. This brings with it changes in ski technique when it comes to tip pressure and speed control.
Shaped skis allow us to edge early in the turn and decelerate using edge pressure and turn initiation. To accomplish this, you need to create pressure on the edge early in the arc. This is all initiated through pressuring the tip.
With the advent of shaped skis, shorter boards were introduced on the market. Now skis are getting longer again, because with early-rising tips, we need more ski in front of the binding to grip with.
What you notice with rocker ski tips is that the camber underfoot is where the entire grip takes place. Rocker tips are easier to initiate into the turn because they are pre-bent in the direction of the arc, but they still require us to pressure the front of the ski.
The secret to creating tip pressure is pulling 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” tip pressure.
Older skiers will recognize this movement, as it’s similar to the way we used to ski old, straight skis. On today’s early-rise ski, that also initiates the turn a bit easier, but you can adjust the amount of “up” heel pull and ski with slightly less tip pressure.
With the new reverse-camber and early-rise skis, the sweet (or balanced) spot on hard pack snow is smaller, while in softer, deeper snow, the sweet spot is larger because the softer snow supports the ski’s arc.
If you adjust your balance points, you’ll grow to love these newer skis. 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. Find more ski tips from Dan Egan at skiclinics.com/education/skitips.