Dan Egan is a pioneer of extreme sports and world-renowned for his big mountain skiing around the world. He has appeared in more than a dozen Warren Miller ski films and 20 years ago, Powder Magazine named him one of the most influential skiers of our time.
He’s in Park City this week to ski and sign copies of his new biography, “Thirty Years in a White Haze.”
Egan will be at Alps and Meters store at the St. Regis Deer Valley on Friday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. for a reading and signing of the book, which he co-wrote with friend and journalist Eric Wilbur.
Today, Dan Egan is a self-described ski bum living in Big Sky, Montana, and skiing as much as he can – which is pretty incredible, given his amount of time on skis and nearly life-ending experiences.
“That simple pleasure of gliding over, on and through snow sets me at peace,” he said.
Egan grew up in Boston, learning to ski at Blue Hills on all of its 350 vertical feet just outside of town.
He made the jump from the bunny hill to the big mountains when his older brother John got in with Warren Miller Films.
“The magic of Warren Miller films plants that seeds in your, in, you know, countless people's heads,” Egan said. “You see different locations on where to go and my older brother John moved to Sugarbush Vermont in 1976 and skied in his first Warren Miller movie in 1979.”
Warren Miller once described the Egan brothers as the “ATVs” of ski adventure.
“Growing up in East, we skied everything,” Egan said. “Right off the neighbor’s picnic table into their yard – and beyond.”
Egan learned to ride on long, skinny skis and says it’s a whole different experience compared to today’s skis.
“Back then, you know, we skied in the snow,” he said. “Today you ski on it, and skiing in the snow was a different experience. There was a lot of different movements to get the skis to move around and you couldn't just hit it with the same amount of speed the kids can do it today, because you have friction, basically. So, jumping off a cliff - you really had was a different game - it was a different gauging of speed. These days when the new schoolers asked me what my biggest trick was, I just tell them staying alive.”
Egan kept journals of his travels – to create the book of his worldwide adventures and evolution of extreme skiing.
“It's a comprehensive look at two kids from Boston who go off to ski around the world,” he said. “We followed the geopolitical landscape in the 1980s and 1990s. I had said to Warren Miller I wanted to go all over the world wherever CNN was. So, we went to the Berlin Wall, we went, we skied with the Kurds during the first Persian Gulf War, we skied a week before the war started in Yugoslavia, we skied new Romania after they murdered Ceausescu. And we were just skiing around these world events, but the book also documents the history of extreme skiing, tied in with the technology of the VHS machine and the VCR and how without that technical revolution, maybe even social media doesn't begin.
“So I always tell kids that, you know, VHS to me is what YouTube is to you.”
"Thirty Years in a White Haze," by Dan Egan and Eric Wilbur, can be purchased online at Dan Egan's website and at many major book retailers.