The Power of Pinky

Private Lessons


Years ago, olympian andy mill told me to forget all the coach’s chatter and just chase the best skier on the mountain. His theory was, you could improve quickly by trying to mimic one or two movements of a faster guy. I still chase better skiers whenever I can, and last season I pursued The Herminator (Hermann Maier, below) in Beaver Creek, Colorado.

I was amazed at his power from turn to turn, and I noted his wide, foot-parallel stance. After trying to follow his turns, I learned that I needed to apply more pressure to my inside ski to turn with the strength of Hermann.

To achieve this power, I widened my stance to full shoulder width at the initiation of the turn. Next, I rolled both skis on edge simultaneously. I imagined rolling and driving the pinky toe of my inside foot into the hill. I learned to be patient and wait for the skis to grab, then I pushed my knees forward and drove my shins against my boot tongues throughout the entire length of the turn. Immediately, I could maintain a more consistent, powerful arc through the end of the turn. Now, on every run, I think of rolling and driving my pinky toe into the hill.

Once you have mastered this technique on groomers, move into the crud or try high-speed turns in the powder. The same principles apply, and you will find your balance and confidence increase with every turn.

Chris Anthony is a former World Cup competitor and has been featured in 13 Warren Miller films. He lives in Vail, Colorado.