Twenty-five years ago this winter Dan Egan — the younger half of the legendary Egan Brothers, extreme skiers extraordinaire — made photographic history when he and Dean Decas jumped from the aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain for promotional purposes.
Don’t try this at home, kids. They’re professionals.
These days, Egan tends to keep his skis a little more grounded.
Yes, he finds it a challenge to stay away from the mogul fields and usually sneaks in a few runs in the bumps a day. And he still loves the steeps. Within reason.
“What I’m missing, I guess, is the reckless abandon,” Egan says with a laugh from the office of Degan Media, his production and marketing company based in Campton, N.H.
Dan was among the featured skiers in a dozen of Warren Miller’s iconic skiing movies and he his brother John, now based at Sugarbush in Vermont, are among those who worked on the new “Ski Bum: The Warren Miller Story,” a documentary about the moviemaker who died in January 2018 at the age of 93.
Winter is coming and, as always, Dan Egan is thinking skiing and planning out his winter adventures and his camps and clinics (www.skiclinics.com) and we figure he’s a fine place to start for what we like to call this “New (Snow) Year Resolutions” story.
Who needs New Year’s resolutions when you can have ski and snowboarding resolutions? The latter are generally a heck of a lot more fun: And not nearly as likely to be broken within a week or two.
These are this year’s snow resolutions for some of New England’s most avid skiers.
What are yours?
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“Being a mogul addict, I can’t stay out of them and I have to find a way to be more efficient there. After four surgeries over the career, I still find myself looking for the smooth way through them. More importantly, I do so much coaching in my camps and clinics that I really try to find ways to help others break through what I call their negative thinking. That really brings me into the now and into the center and how to do it myself and communicate to others. It’s a focus on how do we free ourselves from the critical mind and how do we hone into the judgment-free ski zone where ability isn’t the goal, but efficiency and fun are the goal. Every year that becomes a challenge as I get older and one step further away from my best self as an athlete. . . . On what I call the morning glide, the first three or four runs, don’t start judging the day. It’s cold. It’s icy. Free the mind and see the scenery or pay more attention to who you’re with. Each year it’s a wide path for myself. Maybe instead of skiing seven runs in the bumps, it’s three. . . . It’s a rare day that I would jump. But if the conditions are right and I’m feeling it, I might drop off a cornice and take what in my mind is big air. I’m not dropping cliffs, but I’m still coaching and helping others do it. I’m still drawn to it.”
Dan Egan is a member of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame and his latest book, “30 Years in a White Haze” is due out next fall.
“My resolution is to ski. I’m pregnant and due in March so to get out at all this year is my goal. It’s my second child and I got out about a month after having my son. I’m due in early March so I’m hopeful to get out in April, but the weather then can be kind of iffy. The window is pretty short, but I want to be on a top of a mountain smiling and skiing in April.”
Sarah Wojcik is founder of www.allmountainmamas.com, a website that features blog entries with a focus on family skiing, and is associate editor of Ski Area Management magazine.
“As a general rule, I try to ski as many areas in Vermont as I can each year. With busy schedules and having to be at the State House a lot and other things, it’s not as easy as it sounds to get around to everybody. As a little different take on that, there are several areas I’ve been to but have never skied. I don’t know if I can get to all of them this year, but I’d like to get to a few of them at least. I’ve never skied the front side of Magic Mountain and I need to get there. And there are community areas like Cochran’s — that is known for teaching kids and is owned by an Olympic family. They have a great Friday night community dinner and I plan to get there. There’s Northeast Slopes in Corinth with a couple of rope tows and the Lyndon Outing Club. There’s Ski Quechee and the Hard’Ack community area up north in St. Albans. They’re all great for kids growing up around those areas and they do get overlooked sometimes in the grand scheme of things.”
Molly Mahar, a lifelong skier who got her start at Wachusett Mountain in Massachusetts, is the president of Ski Vermont.
“This year is going to be a very different year for me. I’m not going to be working full time at Nashoba Valley and I’m excited about traveling and covering the World Pro Ski Tour for CBS Sports. The first stop is Vail and I can be there a couple of days early and a couple of days later and I can go out and explore and have a little fun. Now I can spend a little more time at each destination and will be able to play with some of my friends around the country. I’m real excited about that and spending a little time at Telluride and other stops. As for other resolutions, I and many others are very concerned about the environment and what happens to skiing and snowboarding if we don’t pay more attention to the consequences of it. I want to spend more time focusing on ways to get people aware of that. We don’t want to lose our snow. It’s too much fun to get out and play in it. I also think it’s great to get folks repurposing their ski gear. Give to a friend, sell it at swaps. Anything we can do to help be a little more green. If I get one more, it would be try to go to a new place to ski. I’ve been to a lot of places, but there are still some I’d love to go and haven’t. I’d like to explore Canada. I’ve never been to Revelstoke. Or Angel Fire in New Mexico. I’ve tried over the years to make it to some of the smaller ski areas. I’m a huge fan of feeder areas. We as an industry don’t survive without them.”
Pam Fletcher is 1988 Olympian and nine-year member of the US Ski Team who won a World Cup downhill and six national titles and grew up skiing at the family’s Nashoba Valley ski area in Westford, Mass.
“I attempted to learn to ski in my early twenties and the person who was quote, ‘teaching me’ took me to the top of Sugarloaf and said, ‘You can make your way down.’ It didn’t happen and I vowed I’d never ski again. It was terrifying. . . . But then I took a lesson at Mt. Abram in January of 2018 and progressed very quickly. My resolution for this year is to actually learn to properly carve a turn. I was able to carve out west. The mountains are so large you’re forced to do it. But I can’t actually carve my skis. I would like to learn to do that. I’m going to go back to Mt. Abram and see if the guy who originally taught me to ski — his name was Ed — is there. If he’s still teaching, I’ll get a private lesson. If not I’ll take a lesson from someone else. . . . Now that it’s getting colder, I can’t wait to get back out there.”
Kate Tilas, a water resource engineer for the city of Portland, is a late comer to the sport and turning 30 this year and now seriously hooked on skiing.
“Definitely my goal in general is to get out and ski a lot more than I have in the last few years. Things have been so busy, I haven’t been able to spend as much time at our member ski areas as I’d like. If I accomplish one thing this winter, I want to ski at all of our alpine members and get in a few days of cross country. I’ve tried cross country in the past, but haven’t done it on a regular basis. I’d like to pick it up and do more of it as part of a fitness routine.”
Jessyca Keeler is executive director Ski New Hampshire association
“I ski for three reasons: fun, fitness, and friendship. They’re the same three reasons I bring to mountain biking. I do a lot of mountain biking, even though I’m 81. Those are primary ingredients in our FlyinRyan Foundation work. Our primary message to competitors is to go back to your roots and ski for the reasons you came to it: for love, joy, passion, and respect. Ski with what I call a clean mind when you’re coming down the mountain. One of our core values is to improve behavior on the slopes. Not all, but some people don’t behave as well as they should. Some people bump into each other. It’s a little perilous out there. . . . I’m a powderhound. I still feel like skiing steeps in deep powder. My goal is to get buried in the snow five or six times a winter. Do a turn with enough snow coming up in your face that you’re not able to see for a little bit. You have to have the right conditions for that to happen. You have to have enough powder and it has to be steep enough so you can get the speed. And it’s always a goal to lay down a track and look back and see the signature you put on a hill.”
Peter Hawks is founder of the FlyinRyan Foundation, which promotes the values and passions of his son, extreme skier Ryan Hawks, who died after a skiing accident during competition at the age of 25 in 2011.
“My goal this winter is to do more recreational skate skiing. I started doing more skating on cross country skis and it’s pretty painful at the start and it’s a lot of work and a lot of sweat, but I’ve finally got to the point where I can enjoy it a little bit. My resolution is to skate ski 10 kilometers at a time on a regular basis this winter. I got to that point last year and it was enjoyable. I do it on groomed trails. Pineland Farms is pretty close to here.”
Greg Sweetser, executive director of Ski Maine, is lifelong skier who has spent his entire professional career in the ski industry.
“I have four resolutions for this year. 1) After having lived in N.H. for 28 years and skiing every single alpine and many cross country areas (tough job, but someone had to do it), it’s time to explore some Maine skiing out of my new home in Ogunquit. 2) More night skiing. Get out of work on time and take some night runs at Gunstock, which I think is the closest area with night skiing near me. 3) Train for the season! Gone are the days when I could train on the job, and with age, those overused joints from many years of outdoor sports need a little more tender care. The cardio is there, but I’ll be hitting the gym to get my lower body in shape. 4) Last and most fun! Invite different friends to come with me — time to tell them to stop with all the excuses and let’s take a few runs and drink some craft beers. The social side is what we’re on all this for, am I right?”
Alice Pearce, former executive director of Ski New Hampshire and NH Made, is current executive director of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce.
“I had skied as a little kid and had gotten away from it and it was a resolution that got me back into the sport. I was going through a divorce and that January my resolution was that instead of being depressed I was going take January on and own it and I started skiing again and was really happy. It’s been life-changing and terrific. My resolution for this year is to get my money’s worth from my Epic pass. I’ve never bought a pass before and I bought it because I’m going to be traveling some out West and I wanted to take advantage of the pass. I’ll ski on it at Sunapee, Wildcat, and Attitash, too.”
Robert Hoppler, cross country and track and field coach at the University of New Hampshire, skis any chance he gets, either alpine or cross country, on trails groomed or not.