The Phantom Pub

The Phantom drill is a very effective drill for tipping and aligning the stance fore-aft, balancing on the outside ski, and a lot of other good side effects. It really is at the root of any great ski turn, as it teaches clean turns, with a definite release, transfer and engagement. This is one of the drills you simply can't do too much of!

Make sure you incorporate this drill into your ski warmup routine this winter season... it is part of mine!

The phantom drill

It is about a specific turn sequence, executed at fairly low speeds, on a green/blue slope. Medium-wide turns to allow sufficient time for perfect execution.

ON SNOW! drill-phantom  

Here is the turning sequence, while going on a traverse across the slope. All the focus during this drill is on the inside ski, the ankle, and boot:

  • lift the tail of the soon to be inside ski, keeping the tip on snow, without pressure
  • pull back this inside foot, to keep boots even (i.e. don't shuffle it forward)
  • bring the inside boot close to the soon to be outside boot
  • tip the lifted inside ski into the new turn, to start the turn, from the ankle
  • keep tipping the ski, to increase the angles of the turn
  • keep it back throughout the turn and constantly tipping
  • as the turn ends, place both skis on snow for the transition and repeat on the other side

The proper execution of this drill is critical. Every element above must be present, as they all work together. The balance should be established on the new outside ski very early in the new turn, to be able to lift the new inside foot and do the drill correctly.

Progress to lift the old outside ski off the snow earlier and earlier, until you transfer weight to the new outside ski while it is still on the old edges and then tip it through flat and onto the new edges.


Here's a phantom drill intro:

You don't really have to lift much, just off the snow, maybe a couple of inches at the boot (lift the tail more than the tip). Focus on tipping the inside ski from the foot/ankle (using inversion) - since the inside ski and boot is lifted free off the snow, it will be very easy to tip.

The turn will be executed exclusively on the outside ski, developing balance and proper movements.

This is a great video on it and demonstration at lower speeds:

This ski drill is called phantom because the tipping of the inside ski causes the other ski to follow tipping and the skis to turn that way. That is the "phantom move".

Here's a higher speed execution:

Here are the steps to focus on, for a good execution:

From left to right:

  1. Finishing the old turn, releasing with flexing the old outside leg
  2. Transfer balance to the new outside leg
  3. Lift the old outside leg
  4. Tip down and foot-tipping into the new turn and engagement

Bad habits

This drill is guaranteed to bring your ski racing and general skiing up in quality. Some of the bad habits addressed: Wide stance, hip dump, shuffling, weight on the inside ski, lack of balance.

Weight outside ski inside tip down tail up

Here a cousin of the phantom drill, with Mikaela Shiffrin explaining it in detail:

Tail lifts are also another name for a related drill common in race coaching. However, the phantom differs from these in one critical aspect as it adds a focus on using the light foot and ankle for tipping.

Super phantom

Some habits are really hard to break, especially the forceful transfer to the new outside ski, causing a lot of skiers to not execute the drill properly, so the "phantom" was eventually revised with am additional emphasis on the early and definite transfer to the new outside ski and named "super phantom", it should always include these elements:

  • flexing to release the old outside ski
  • transferring the balance to the new outside ski early, while it is still on the old edges

ON SNOW! drill-superphantom  

The Super Phantom is the same as the phantom, if you were doing it right.

Just add a focus on transferring the balance to the new outside ski while it's still the old inside ski and lift and tip the old outside ski


Progressions and notes

You can progress from here to executing the drill on a blue/black slope, short turns, more rhythm, stubbies, an impossible flush, etc. GS skis will require even more balance than the Slalom skis, on the outside ski.

Perfect execution is paramount, to acquire the right movement patterns, while speed is not. If you do this drill while carving on a blue run and you lack good balance and speed control, maybe do not carve it or move down to a green run!

Details and advanced versions

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This drill will be added to your season starter list when you're moving to the next topic and it is a great idea to spend some time on this at the beginning of the season, a few hours ideally. It really develops great ski control and finesse - that's what we should look to develop at the beginning of the season, to allow our skiing to evolve.

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By: Razie | 2015-07-28 .. 2022-01-01 | Tags: drill , fore-aft , tipping , balance , inside ski , season-starter , improve-skiing , essentials , blue

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By: Steve.Prince   Reply   Report   (1)   (1)

In the high speed video version the skier has already started his turn before lifting the ski and tipping and therefore not a good demo.

By: Razie   Reply   Report   (1)   (1)

Hi - you're likely thinking of the super-phantom drill, that's the one where you visibly try to lift the old outside ski before the edge change, to emphasize that the transfer occurred before the edge change

In the normal phantom, as in regular skiing, the balance is transferred to the new ski early, before the edge change, and in the turns in the high-speed video, the balance is transferred early, before the edge change, as the old outside ski is flexing and lightening. The new inside ski is even lifted at skis flat, often, indicating the balance was already transferred earlier. That's how it should be, in a good execution.

I added the video for the super-phantoms as well, the same skier - to make the difference more visible.