The 2016 Denali Summit was a HUGE success, thank you to everyone who made the trip! For the first time, the Summit was held at the world famous Trophy Lakes in Charleston, SC. Even though we had unseasonably cold weather, everyone got to ski 2-3 sets a day for the 3 day event, in part thanks to the newly installed hot tub.
The Summit is an event where Denali skiers can come to learn about GUT and improve their technique. This is a "clinic" unlike any other, where almost as much time is spent learning off the water as on. The Summit this year was structured like this:
Day 1: 2 hours in the lakefront conference room covering the concepts of COM, how to move on the ski, and efficiency. We started by going over the "Moving with Efficiency" GUT article, and then built from there discussing how to use your knees and ankles to balance on the ski, how to move along the fall line, loading the rope and not the ski, and treating the pull as a controlled fall to build acceleration. After that everyone got to ski 2-3 sets while we rode in the boat and coached these concepts.
Day 2: 2 hours in the same conference room covering course geometry and how to ski with the boat, using its power to our advantage. This was spent mostly working on gate timing, because when you can do this right on the gate, it happens quite naturally throughout the rest of the course. Again everyone got to ski 2-3 sets. It became clear to everyone (I hope) that when your gate timing is right, you can stop worrying so much about your turns. Once you are swinging in unison with the boat, the wide/early skier path happens on its own, and turns are an afterthought.
Day 3: 2 hours again. We spent some time discussing how boot setups can effect your ability to move efficiently on the ski, and what to do to modify or correct it. Then we went through and answered everyone's questions about what we had been working on the previous 2 days. Again everyone skied, and EVERYONE looked noticeably better than they did on day 1! It was really cool to see the progression.
Below are some images of Caldwell on his gate that really help to show what we worked on. We spent a lot of time on the gate pullout as well to help people learn to get high on the boat (not shown here). In these images, though, we can see how gradual the move on the gate should be. By leading the ski with his body, and allowing the boat to advance ahead of him down the lake, Adam is able to create incredible speed by the first wake, with minimal load.
By the end of the weekend, everyone was able to do a version of this, and it was obvious through the rest of the pass that if the timing is right on the gate, your turns are both easier, and less important. You can literally have 6 bad turns and still run the pass early when your gate swing is right.
We are planning to do more Summit events in 2017, so keep an eye out for an announcement about the schedule!
Also thanks to Brian Wisherd for putting together this video!