Ski Tips with Dan Egan: All Terrain Skiing
By Dan Egan EBS CONTRIBUTOR
It is amazing to think about releasing my first book “All-Terrain Skiing” in 1996, as the world was very different then, in both technology and in sport. It was more than a book: it was an interactive program with VHS video, weatherproof flash cards… and the book. And now I’ve updated the program and recently released “All Terrain Skiing Vol II,” complete with the ATS app and videos on my YouTube channel.
Today, with the new wider, shaped skis, we can glide right over the snow. In the straight-ski days, we plowed through the snow and needed a lot of momentum to turn the skis. What I see with the current day equipment is how skiers rely too much on the skis to do the work, and not enough on their body mechanics. This results in fatigue and lack of balance. The solution is provided in my All-Terrain Skiing II (ATS II) program, which include many of the skills and drills found originally in “All-Terrain Skiing,” plus new ones that enhance body movements in the new world of ski equipment. These body mechanics make skiers more efficient when they encounter changes in speed, terrain, conditions, and situations.
The All-Terrain Skiing IIprogram is organized into five categories: Balance, Upper Body, Power, Fluidity, and Agility, with individual drills described in each. These drills help you make body alignments while in motion, which ultimately increases your efficiency of motion and allows you to ski longer and with more control.
In this program, you’ll learn 31 ski drills designed to make you a better and more efficient skier. The goal is to develop a new awareness of your relationship to gravity in a variety of ski conditions, to dynamically orient and angulate your body to maximize your control and efficiency, and to achieve constant, fluid motion.
Skiing is not an intellectual activity; skiing is a simple physical activity based on good body position. The goal of this program is for you to become aware of every aspect of your body positioning to expand where and how you ski the mountain. The drills are designed to take your mind off performance and focus your body energy on the task at hand. By removing the projected outcome, we can zero in on how to react in each moment to the changing situations, terrain, and conditions. This will enhance our performance overall.
The program begins with Balance then progress to Upper Body, Power, Fluidity, and Agility. Each section has a series of drills which complements every other drill and builds competence. Even if some of the drills seem silly or simple at first, as you practice, you’ll see how they progressively build, as will your confidence and the courage to try high-end maneuvers outlined in the program.
By mastering the drills in this program, you will develop skills which can help you ski from powder to ice, groomed slopes to steep slopes, and beyond. The drills and skills in this program are specifically designed to create a powerful athletic ski stance for skiers of all abilities.
There are lots of “skiing gurus” and professional ski instructors who have developed specific teaching techniques to help skiers improve. Some will tell you carving is the ultimate skill. Others will say that edge angle matters. And still others focus on knees, hips, and hands. I will introduce you to a wide range of body motions and skills that simply ask you to be calm and strong, fluid and loose. Learning to do this will increase your balance as you move downhill over varying terrain.
My simple goal is to help skiers improve by concentrating first and primarily on their mental state and body:
Mind. Most skiers don’t understand the importance of being mentally prepared, as well as physically in shape, to ski. I begin with an understanding of the human mind and body, exploring desire, confidence, and will power.
Body. I’m always amazed to see skiers who arise, drink a cup of coffee, then head up the slopes and wonder why they have burning thighs by 10 a.m. Here, we focus on breathing to provide the oxygen muscles need to perform well. Our goal is to increase your efficiency.
Equipment. With today’s equipment, confusion can arise when shopping for the right boots, ski length and ski width, and other selling features. I provide some basic guidance based on simplicity, cost, and skill level.
Conditions. One thing is certain—the skier will always encounter changing (if not challenging) terrain and conditions. The All-Terrain Skiing II program teaches the progressive skiing skills needed for everything from groomed trails to deep powder.
All-Terrain Skiing II is an integrated, self-contained program for beginning, intermediate, and advanced skiers—in other words, anyone who wants to learn to ski better. The program is organized for progressive learning. At the heart of the program are the thirty-one illustrated drills described in the book, along with a downloadable version, of my ATS II app, which you can install on your phone for ready reference and practice on the ski slopes.
Lessons are identified with international trail marking symbols: green circle for beginners, blue square for intermediate, and black diamond for expert. They are also categorized by color—red for Balance, mauve for Upper Body, green for Power, blue for Fluidity, and gray for Agility—to help you organize your lessons for quick access. The symbols and color-coding appear at the top of each page, and continuously in the ATS II app. At the end of the book, as well as throughout, are articles that complement and expand on the concepts, drills, and skills in the program.
In my Ski Tips columns this year I write and share on the topics, skills and drills out lined in All-Terrain Skiing IIprogram to help expand your on snow experience this winter.
Extreme skiing pioneer, Dan Egan coaches and guides at Big Sky Resort during the winter. His 2022/23 steeps camps at Big Sky Resort run Dec. 17-18, Jan 11-13, March 1-3, and March 8-10. His book, “Thirty Years in a White Haze” was released 2021 and his newest book “All-Terrain Skiing” was released Nov. 5, 2022, his books and worldwide ski camps are available at www.Dan-Egan.com