Portillo Pro: How to Catch Air
Ski Portillo’s Resident Mountain Manager, Michael Rogan, has been living the endless winter for more than a decade, chasing skiing on either side of the equator. When Rogan is skiing in North America he juggles a number of renowned roles — from US Ski Team fundamentals skills development coach and PSIA-AASI Alpine Team member to Director of Instruction at Ski Magazine. Then, as things heat up in North America, Rogan heads south to Ski Portillo where he works as Mountain Manager.
Michael Rogan has logged more time clicked into his ski bindings and perfecting the art and technique of skiing than an entire week’s worth of Ski Portillo pasajeros can collectively dream of. So, we are going tapping into Rogan’s ski experience and going to run a recurring column in which Ski Portillo’s Michael Rogan passes along world-class ski advice. “Portillo Pro” will covering everything from catching air and ski turn shapes to how to ski moguls and insider tips on how to win a ski race. Stay tuned…
In the first installation of Portillo Pro, Michael Rogan teaches how to catch air on skis.
Ski Portillo boasts an endless array of rocks and cliffs to jump off while skiing. You can arc turns from the top of Roca Jack in Portillo to the bottom and link up as many airs as you want during the descent. Portillo is a freeride mecca because of the airtime big-mountain skiers can log during a week in the Andes.
“No one ever got hurt in the air, right?” asks Michael Rogan. It’s the landings where things can go wrong. “But, with practice and planning, your landings will go just fine.”
Want to start getting air when skiing in Portillo? Here are three things to remember when catching air, practice each one and you will be stomping landings in no time…
“Every jump consists of three parts: takeoff, airtime, and landing,” advises Rogan. “Depending on the complexity of your jump, you can put a little or a lot of thought into each part. Planning keeps you and everyone around you safe.”
Portillo Pro: How to Catch Air
Takeoff: The goal here is to make sure you are prepared for what you are about to do. Pay attention to your speed, expected trajectory, takeoff angle, and expected flight distance. Make a mistake in your calculations here and it’s “Jerry of the Day” time. Takeoffs that look smooth, balanced, and controlled usually meet with success. Remember the P’s: Prior planning prevents poor performance.
Airtime: A skier’s composure in the air is a result of their smooth takeoff. By keeping your hands in front of you and matching your skis to the angle of the slope, you ensure a controlled flight. Airtime comes with a feeling of freedom, but don’t slack on your focus. Engage your core muscles to maintain balance as the ground drops away.
Landing: Don’t drop the ball before you cross the goal line. Spot your landing well before you get there. Judge the snow so that if you decelerate you are prepared. If you can think about landing precisely on your feet and not randomly somewhere on the length of your skis you should ski away with grace and style. Landing too far forward on your ski tips is never good. Landing too far back on your tails can test the resolve of your knees.
“Very few people get hurt in the air, so logic would say that we should spend more time there,” says Rogan. “It’s the takeoffs and landings that get us in trouble. Get them wrong and snow never felt so hard. Get them right and you can experience the miracle of flight, if just for a moment.”
These tips original appeared in Ski Magazine, CLICK HERE to read the article.