Connect with us


Ski Tips with Dan Egan: Selective edge pressure, the key to fluidity

Avatar photo




Skiing is a dance, an art form. Injecting fluidity into your movements while gliding over, on and through snow makes the mountain your ballroom.

Fluidity adds grace and rhythm to your personal style that complements the hill with your skiing presence. I define fluidity in skiing as the ability to correct body position with minor adjustments that help you stay in control. Situational skiing is the best way for skiers to discover the dance within themselves. The result will be a more elegant, fluid style of skiing.

My drills in the All-Terrain Skiing Program are designed to help you accomplish a task or a body position that enhances efficiency. The goal is to illustrate how positioning your body or skis allows you to change direction and turn. One of the best drills for this is the Thousand Steps, which introduces the concept of selective edge pressure and how the ski can travel in an arc with our constant edge pressure. The “Selective Edge Pressure” is the idea that skis during a turn don’t need constant pressure, rather they can be edged and released multiple times while making carved turn. This drill adds fluid motion to your skiing while discovering the benefits of selective edge pressure, and will help you internalize the feeling of fluidity when turning your skis—and builds what I call “the touch”—necessary for the mastering the sport of skiing.

When doing the Thousand Step drill, focus on keeping the tips of your skis on the snow, so just lift heels and tails of your skis. PHOTO COURTESY OF DEGAN MEDIA

Small steps lead to big leaps in your skiing improvement. In the Thousand Steps drill, the small steps are designed to help you identify your Frozen Zone. The Frozen Zone is the moment of realization that you’ve lost balance and can’t move your feet. It’s when you feel locked, stiff, and unable to react. Usually, the result is a skidding ski or upper body rotation. This drill will help you identify your Frozen Zone and teach the mobility, independent leg action, and agility necessary to overcome it. Taking lots of small steps will help you in a big way. The Thousand Step drill brings together balance, upper body position, requires a powerful stance and requires an awareness with the snow that develops the touch for fluidity.

Your Frozen Zone is the point where you are unable to continue stepping. At that moment, your body is out of alignment, remember relax; take small, light steps.

Basically, we are going to make small marching steps while skiing and carving our way down the mountain. Like most drills this exercise provides self-diagnosis and instant feedback. If at any time while making small marching steps throughout your turns, you feel stuck or unable to make the steps, you are out of balance and chances are your hips are too far back behind your feet.

To start, pick out a groomed slope, beginner or intermediate, which ever you are comfortable with. Start to glide diagonally across the slope while making small quick marching steps. Focus on keeping the tips of your skis on the snow, so just lift heels and tails of your skis. Avoid making large marching steps. Now start to turn while you are stepping, attempt to step through the entire arc of the turn during the transition and into the new turn. Continue to step throughout the entire process. Make three or four turns in this fashion. Stop and repeat.

Make the adjustments needed to be able to make steps throughout each turn. If any time you feel unable to make the steps, adjust your body position especially your hips until you feel freer to move and make the steps.

Repeat this drill until your steps are smooth and effortless. Notice how the skis travel along the radius of the turn even though they do not have constant edge pressure. This selective edge pressure created by placing the ski on edge in a turn and then lifting it up as the uphill ski replaces the contact with the snow while remaining in balance is a powerful feeling. This skill will allow you to become fluid in moguls, crud, and hard pack. This drill will set you free.

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, 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 II was released this November and comes with Free App which you can download from Google and Apple App Stores. His books and worldwide ski camps are available at

Upcoming Events

february, 2023

Filter Events

No Events