Technique Guide (Circa 2007)

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Technique Guide (Circa 2007)

Postby skinnyskis » Mon May 19, 2014 10:00 pm

Buried here in the forum pages are the first 7 sections of the technique guide from 2007 (I still use it as a reference). I thought reposting it may be of benefit to those new to the forum.
BushMogulMaster wrote:
Technique Section 1: Before You Hit the Bumps: Basic Stance (and Techniques) http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=290
Technique Section 2:Your Eyes: Always One Step Ahead (of Your Feet) http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=291
Technique Section 3: Quiet Upper Body http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=292
Technique Section 4: Short Radius Turns http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=293
Technique Section 5: Picking a Line http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=299
Technique Section 6: Shin Pressure, Stand Tall, Hips Forward http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=300
Technique Section 7: Beginning Absorption and Extension http://forums.mogulskiing.net/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=301
Technique Section 8: Where to Aim on the Bump
Technique Section 9: Absorption and Extension Revisited
Technique Section 10: Arm Position and Pole Plants
Technique Section 11: Speed Control
Technique Section 12: Aggressive, Athletic Skiing
Technique Section 13: What To Do In a Bind
Technique Section 14: Forget Everything You Just Read!!! (well, sort of)
Technique Section 15: Don’t Forget the Groomers
Technique Section 16: Gear
Technique Section 17: More Info (and how to get to the next level)


BushMogulMaster wrote:
1. Before You Hit The Bumps: Basic Stance and Techniques

Before you decide to go gung-ho in the zipper-line, there are some technique and posture ideas with which you should become comfortable.

First of all, you should at least be a solid intermediate skier on groomed terrain before venturing too seriously into the bump fields. It’s for your own safety, I promise!

You should immediately get to know the appropriate mogul skiing native posture. This is the basic stance you will use in all of your skiing, in or out of the bumps. Speaking of which, it should be made known that if you are serious about skiing moguls, until you’ve mastered the techniques involved, you should take a break from carving and racing style skiing. You will need to ski the flats the same way you ski the bumps.

In the native stance, you should be what folks in the mogul world call “stacked.” This means that your feet, knees, and shoulders should make a line, and should all be stacked on top of each other. If you do this correctly, you should feel your shins putting solid pressure on your boot tongues (be sure to maintain this pressure while skiing). You need to become comfortable with this position… it is absolutely crucial to your success in the bumps. In fact, I would go so far as to say you need to be intimate with it. It needs to become second nature. Catch my drift? Skiing in a stacked posture will help to keep your skis under your body, and keep them from shooting out in front of you.

Drills:

The best way to become comfortable with this stacked stance is to practice it on the groomers for hours. If you are a 20+ day/season skier, devote 3 or more days to just practicing on intermediate and single-diamond groomed runs, always trying to keep yourself in this stacked posture. Try to make medium radius turns using solely knee angulation (do not drop your hips or shoulders toward the snow as you would in a typical alpine turn). Hint: it’s okay to slide a little bit when making these turns!

As you become more comfortable with those turns, begin progressing toward quicker short radius turns using the same technique as the medium radius turns (short radius turns will be discussed in detail in section 4).

If you only have several days each season to ski, then learning to ski moguls could prove quite a challenging task. However, do not fret! You’ll do yourself a big favor if you be certain to master this stance on the flats before even setting ski in the bumps, even if it all of your ski days in one season. Once you have the posture down, you will be able to improve in the bumps much more quickly. Remember, if you don’t have many days each season to ski, don’t rush it and don’t get frustrated if it takes a while to get to your desired level. If you take your time and learn it properly, you’ll have much more fun (not to mention look much better) in the end. If you rush things, you’ll get hurt.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
2. Your Eyes: Always One Step Ahead of Your Feet

A common problem amongst many recreational (and even some professional) mogul skiers is their eyes. When you’re in a bump field, you should always look at least 3-4 bumps ahead of you at all times. Your head and your eyes should always be up, looking ahead, not down. Think about it: if you’re only looking down at the bump beneath you, then how are you going to be able to prepare for what lies ahead? That’s right… you can’t. Half the battle in skiing moguls well is being prepared for the upcoming bumps (or other obstacles). If you are looking ahead 3 or 4 moguls, you will be able to plan (subconsciously, sometimes) what to do when you actually get to that bump. You will be able to ski a much smoother run, and you will be ready for whatever is ahead. If there’s a stray ski pole in your line, you’ll have time to switch lines to avoid disaster. If someone ahead of you has fallen, you will be able to adjust before plowing him over. If you line is irregular, you won’t be surprised when you run into a bump that isn’t where you wanted it to be.

Looking ahead is pivotal to skiing a safe and fluid mogul run. At first, you may feel uncomfortable not looking at what is underneath you. But logic and reason must point out that, since you’ve already seen the bump (because you looked at it a couple of bumps ago), you already know what’s there. You also may feel like your feet won’t know what to do unless you’re carefully studying what’s beneath them. Nonsense! Your feet, legs, boots, and skis can do a lot more on their own than you’d like to believe!

Drills:

Head to a relatively easy intermediate groomed run. Pick a reasonable portion of the trail to ski without stopping. Find an object at the end of that portion to focus on. It could be a tree, a snowmaking hydrant, a sign, a lift tower, whatever (as long as it is stationary, of course). As you ski that portion of the trail, keep your eyes on that object and ski in your stacked stance making short-radius turns.

Do this until you become very comfortable with the idea of looking ahead instead of down.

Then, take this same idea and apply it in a low-pitch bump field, preferably one that is half groomed/half bumps so that you can safely bail out if necessary. Start out just looking one bump ahead. Then, as you become used to that, move on to 2, 3, 4. If you can get comfortable looking 5+ bumps ahead, then more power to you! It will certainly work to your advantage!

BushMogulMaster wrote:
3. Quiet Upper Body

To be successful in the bumps, and to look like a fluid bump skier, you need to have what is referred to as a quiet upper body. This means that your lower body (you skis, boots, knees, legs, hips, etc.) need to be doing all of the movement and the work, and your upper body needs to remain as still as possible. Yes… your arms will be moving a little bit for pole plants, but we’ll cover that technique later.

As you progress down a bump line, you will be turning your skis, absorbing the shock, moving up and down, maybe taking a little jump here and there. But as long as you are in the bumps, you should try to keep everything above your hips as quiet as possible. Your shoulders must always remain square down the fall line. This sets your entire body in the mode of skiing the fall line smoothly and properly. If you watch the pros on TV, you’ll notice that they’re flying through the bumps, turning and absorbing faster than the speed of light. But through it all, their upper bodies remain nice and still, and directed straight down the fall line.

Any excess movement in the upper body can cause trouble in the bumps. It can move your CG (center of gravity) and cause you to lose your balance. It can also dampen the effectiveness of absorption and extension, and it just plain looks sloppy. A quiet upper body = success in the bumps.

This all works hand in hand with the previous section. Keeping your upper body still will help you to keep your head up, and looking down the fall line. Vice-versa, looking ahead a few bumps and keeping your focus down the fall line will also help you to keep your upper body still.

Drills:

As with the topics covered earlier, the place to practice is on the groomers. Schuss yourself to a medium-pitch intermediate trail. Keeping your eyes focused ahead of you and down the fall line, make quick short-radius turns. Pay close attention to keeping your upper body still, and not turning your shoulders with your skis. A good way to hone this skill is to pick an object like you did in the last section, and focus on it again. This time, instead of just looking at it and skiing toward it, pick your arms up (at a 90 degree angle at your elbows) parallel to one another, one on either side of your eyes. Try to ski down to that object, keeping it between your arms at all times. Be sure to make you turns like to always do, but remember to keep your upper body still enough to keep that object between your arms. Hint: it might be helpful to do this without poles. But if you do take your poles, use your pole straps and let them hang from your thumbs to keep the sharp tips pointed toward the ground, and not out toward the poor skiers in front of you!

BushMogulMaster wrote:
4. Short Radius Turns

Short radius turns are crucial to bump skiing for two main reasons: first, because the turns you will make in the bumps are short radius, since 95% of the bumps you will encounter are relatively close together (certainly closer than would allow for a slalom or a carved turn… which are sins in the bumps anyway). Secondly, because the short radius turn on the groomers allows for the closest imitation of actually being in the bumps, which gives you the opportunity to practice bump skiing techniques on the flats.

To make these short radius turns on the groomers, you need to ski in your stacked mogul skiing stance, and keep your upper body quiet like we discussed in the previous section. As you start down the run, you will make quick turns by angling your knees and edging once your skis have rotated sufficiently across the fall line. Absorb with your legs after edging, during your transition between turns (more on absorption and extension in section 7). Roll your knees around to the next turn and extend. Repeat for your next turn. Edging should be as constant as possible from foot-to-foot and turn-to-turn. The edge-to-edge transition should be as smooth as possible, as though a constant flowing motion from one turn to the next.

Every short-radius turn must involve solid edging. It is, however, okay to slide a little bit. In fact, depending on the snow conditions, it may be impossible to avoid sliding. This is okay, as long as you are edging as best as possible.

You can vary your speed by adjusting when and how hard you edge. Making extremely short radius turns setting your edges when your skis are barely across the fall line will allow you to take a more direct line and ski more quickly. Waiting for you skis to become more perpendicular to the fall line and edging harder will help you to keep your speed down a little.

It is important to note that with each turn you make, your movement needs to shift your weight to the downhill ski. In the bumps and groomers alike, you will want to make sure your weight is predominantly on the downhill ski.

Drills:

The best way to practice is to simply do it. Lots. Vary your speed and your edge set. Perhaps start with a larger radius turn, and little-by-little tighten the radius until you are making tons of tiny check turns. Then work your way back to a slightly wider radius. Do this until you are more than comfortable with making short-radius turns.

As you practice, it is key to remember to keep you eyes up and you upper body still.

The most effective method to rehearse keeping your weight on the downhill ski is to spend some time on the groomers doing wedge turns like you did when you first learned to ski. If you’re not familiar with these turns, place your skis in the snowplow (/ \) position. Begin going down the trail. To turn left, keep your left ski straight and turn your right ski left, putting your weight on the downhill (right) ski ( | \). Do the opposite for your right turn ( / |). As you turn, you should feel a pinch near your hip. These wedge turns will make weighting your downhill ski second-nature.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
5. Picking a Line

One of the most common questions aspiring bump skiers always ask is: “Where do I ski in the bump field? How do I pick my line?” Well, the most obvious answer would be, “ski down the fall line!” Of course, that’s not very helpful when you’re a new mogul skier trying to make a logical choice as to how to ski a particular bump field.

As you come to the beginning of a bump trail, take a few seconds to survey the moguls, looking for possible hazards such as ice, bare spots, fallen skiers, etc. Pick a part of the trail to ski that is free of any such dangers. If you are skiing seeded bumps (moguls built by snowcats or other mogul-building techniques) then your line will be right there in front of you. Also, in ideal conditions on a natural bump run with only expert bumpers skiing the trail, the lines will be obvious and straight down the fall line. However, 99% of the natural bumps you will encounter will not be in straight lines, and will include some irregularities and some funny bump locations.

On natural mogul runs, the most important concept for you to understand is that you CANNOT (note the all-caps bold) allow the troughs (ruts between the bumps) or bump alignment to dictate your line. As mogul skiers, our soul interest and intent is to ski the fall line as straight as possible. Therefore, when you choose a line, choose one that is as regular as possible, but as you ski it, simply absorb through the irregularities (more on this later) and stay in your line straight down the trail. Sometimes you will encounter troughs so deep that you feel like they’ll suck you right in. You have two options: ski through it, or make a hop turn over it onto your next bump. What you do not want to do (as much as possible) is leave your line to avoid an irregular bump or a deep trough. This makes for choppy, disconnected mogul skiing, and you often have to stop to regain composure and pick your line again.

Line selection is one of those concepts that you’ll become comfortable with as you ski more and more moguls. As you master the techniques discussed in this technique guide, you’ll begin to realize that you’re not even “picking” a line anymore, so much as just skiing the zipper line without having to think about it.

One issue that arises for many mogul skiers is that they spend too much time dwelling over choosing their line. Some go to the extent of planning out each of their first dozen or two turns. This is not good. The biggest issue here is that, if you plan out your first, say, 15 turns and you miss the 7th planned turn, you’re completely flustered, out of your line, and out of rhythm. The other problem here is that, if you’re planning your turns based on where the bumps are, you’re letting the terrain dictate your line instead of vice-versa.

Another instinct that many bump skiers have is to stop and pick a new line each time they come to a new precipice. Many trails (such as Sugarbush’s Tumbler) include a series of several precipices and flatter sections. If you stop each time you get to the top of a new headwall, you are again chopping up your skiing and just making it more complicated by trying to pick a new line. Keep following the fall line… you’ll be fine! Now, if you have to stop because of a dangerous trail condition or you really need a break and your heart rate is through the roof and you can barely catch your breath………. by all means, do so! Otherwise, there’s no reason to stop. Keep nailing the fall line and making other people jealous!

There are no specific drills for this idea. The only way to get better at line selection is to ski more bumps.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
6. Shin Pressure, Stand Tall, Hips Forward!

Each of these things should happen naturally when skiing moguls with the correct stacked posture. That said, however, they are important enough to warrant their own section. Standing tall with your hips forward ensuring constant pressure on the tongue of your boot are the things that will allow you to ski the fall line in control and smoothly, looking like a pro.

Let’s take them in the above order, just for the sake of my obsessive-compulsive organization satisfaction: Shin Pressure. What mogul skiers mean when they talk about shin pressure is a constant pressure between your shin and the tongue of your boots. This doesn’t mean to push as hard as you can. Just maintain contact/pressure 100% of the time, in or out of the bumps. This helps to keep you stacked, and keeps your knees in the correct position to comfortably absorb and extend. The minute you feel that you’ve lost pressure to the tongues, do whatever you need to in order to reestablish that pressure.

By “stand tall,” I mean that you should make sure that, while maintaining shin pressure, you keep you back straight while you ski. If you ski with your back hunched over or arched backwards or you begin to crouch, you’re putting yourself at risk to hurt your back or neck, and you are also losing your balance and moving your CG, thus leaving your stacked posture. You are no longer able to properly control your speed, and it’s difficult to absorb and extend. This is not too difficult a concept, but try to be conscious of whether your back is straight or hunched over.

One problem that many mogul skiers must overcome is getting their hips too far back and ending up in the back seat. This causes your skis to shoot out in front of you, and you lose control. It also gives you the urge to crouch. The best way to get your hips forward is to think of them leading you down the hill. Now, you don’t want to end up with your hips way out in front of you, but it’s the train of thought that you need to get into. Thrust your hips forward and try to keep them there so that your butt doesn’t end up over your tails. There are several analogies I could use related to keeping hips forward, but because this website is for all ages of mogul skiers, I think we’ll keep it clean! Feel free to drop me an email if you need some additional analogies!


Drills:

As with most of the topics discussed previously, the place to get used to this is on the groomers. Pick a short section of a medium-pitch intermediate trail, and ski making short radius turns while being conscious the who time of ensuring constant shin pressure, standing tall, and driving your hips forward. You need to do this as long as it takes until it’s second nature and simply part of the way you ski. You should do it enough that you no longer have to think about it… to the point that if you ever lose shin pressure, or start to crouch, or feel your hips moving backward, you can immediately compensate and fix the problem without any real thought or effort.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
7. Beginning Absorption and Extension

Absorption and Extension (A&E) refers to the shock absorber-like motion in which the mogul skier absorbs the moguls and then extends his legs toward the next mogul, and repeating the process continuously for the entire run. It is an integral part of a correctly executed mogul turn. A&E seems to be the most talked about component of good mogul skiing. Unfortunately, many people stress A&E so much that they forget all of the other equally important parts of the sport. If you skipped to this section because you think A&E is all you need to learn, forget it. Believe me, you’ll be doing yourself a HUGE favor if you go back and read through the first 6 sections first. Without the foundation that those sections lay, A&E is worthless. Really. I’m serious.

A&E is one of the most noticed features of mogul skiers. Many people easily associate it with mogul skiing from watching the pros and seeing their knees work like shock absorbers. Most people think that they will never be able to do that. Well, you can. As important as A&E is, it’s not any more difficult than any of the other techniques you’ll practice in the bumps. If you do it enough, you’ll become proficient.

The reason we absorb and extend is because it maintains a quiet upper body, it reduces jarring and injury, it allows us to ski the fall line, and it looks smooth. It also saves our knees. Most people believe that mogul skiing is bad for your knees. WRONG! Although there is always inherent risk of knee injury in any type of skiing, mogul skiing is no worse than alpine skiing. Because we absorb the shock of the moguls, they do not jar our knees. Frankly, skiing moguls properly is easier on your knees than going for a jog or running up a staircase.

A&E is also one of the primary means of speed control in mogul skiing. When coupled with effective edging, absorbing and extending keeps the mogul skier at a controlled speed. By varying your turn size, edging pressure, and A&E, you can vary the speed that you travel. Each time you absorb a mogul, it checks your speed. That is why mogul skiers can ski straight down the fall-line with much more control than a skier on a groomed trail could.

Most mogul skiers, even advanced mogul skiers, often misinterpret the act of absorbing. They interpret it as a pulling of the knees toward the jaw. However, this is not correct. Sitting on a chair, if you pull your knees up to your chin, where is your center of gravity? That’s right… way behind your feet. Absorbing by pulling your knees to your face will immediately throw you into the backseat, a place no mogul skier wants to be!

The correct motion for absorbing a mogul is more of a pulling motion of the heels toward the buttocks upon reaching the crest of the mogul. This keeps you stacked and balanced, and you will be ready for the next bump. As your CG moves slightly backward, your skis do as well since you are pulling your heels directly to that CG. Although there is quite a lot of obvious vertical knee motion, it is not caused by pulling the knees up, but by pulling the heels back and up. This pulling back of the heels motion also keeps the skis on the snow as much as possible, a goal of the aspiring mogul skier.

Extension is often considered far less important than absorption. However, this is also untrue. After absorbing a mogul, it is crucial that a full extension be part of you short radius mogul turn. If you want to be able to fully absorb the next mogul, the you need to fully extend.

To put this into action (as opposed to disconnected individual descriptions), here’s the general idea for skiing a series of 3 moguls: attack the first mogul (we’ll say it’s on the left side of your line) in as straight a line as possible. Absorb the mogul as soon as you reach its crest by pulling your heels toward your buttocks. After absorbing and cresting the mogul, turn your skis quickly to the left (from you feet/ankles and knee angle) and fully extend into the next mogul. As your tips come off of the snow and you begin to crest the bump, absorb as fully as possible pulling your heels to your buttocks, and make a quick right turn fully extending to the third bump. Repeat the process for absorbing the mogul, and continue your run by repeating these techniques.

This method is essentially the same no matter how you ski the moguls, although it is slightly tailored toward slower skiing as you learn the concepts. After the next section, “Aiming for the Right Spot on the Bump,” we’ll revisit A&E and discuss how you can fine-tune it to skiing straighter and faster lines.

Drills:

As much as I hate to admit it, the best way to get a feel for (and become comfortable with) A&E is to ski across the fall line on an intermediate-grade mogul run. Slowly ski across the fall line and practice absorbing each bump as you begin to crest it. Extend your skis and repeat until you’ve made it the whole ways across the trail. Continue to do this, and each time across the trail, point your skis a little more down the fall line. Soon you’ll be absorbing and extending straight down the trail!

BushMogulMaster wrote:
8. Where to Aim on the Bump

So you’ve pretty much mastered the techniques in the earlier sections and you’re starting to really feel good about the bumps. Now you want to go a little faster and look a little better. Well, part of the key to that is where you aim your tips as you approach the next bump. When skiing bumps slowly, your skis often rotate pretty far across the fall line. As you long to ski a straighter faster line, you need to adjust this.

As aspiring bumpers learning correct technique, we aim for a specific point on the bump. That point is not the top of the mogul, not the middle of the side of the mogul, but just several inches up the front corner/side of the mogul. Since the concept of “corner” is technically non-existant when discussing a round object, perhaps a drawing will help (my technical editor pointed out to me that aiming for the corner of a round mogul is like telling someone to sit in the corner of a round room!). The following depicts the same line skied by three skiers. The first is skiing slowly, the second a medium speed, and the third a fast zipperline:

To further clarify, the arrows in the photo below demonstrate what I mean when I say “corner” of the bump:

In zipperlining, we’re attempting to take as straight a path down the line as possible while still maintaining complete control. Sometimes you have to throw your skis across the fall line a little to slow down if your speed begins to get away from you. That’s okay, but always strive for this straight path. Let those skis run, and absorb whatever comes in front of you!

It is important to make a distinction between the third image and what many people consider “trough skiing.” The third image depicts a very straight line through the moguls, but your skis are always in contact with the moguls and are not “riding the troughs.” The mogul skiing technique described in these pages is not about being down in the troughs. It’s about finding the right spot on the moguls. Although the image above shows a nice straight line, this is not always what you’ll find in a mogul field. The goal is to ski your straight line, regardless of what’s ahead of you. The following image will help to clear this up:

This means that sometimes you will ski high on the moguls, sometimes low, you’ll find yourself in a trough for a second, and occasionally you might be on top of a mogul. As long as you are skiing the fall line, you’re fine. However, as the bumps allow (and always when you’re in a comp or seeded course) definitely aim for that uphill corner.

The only way to practice this is to get out there in a bump field, and point your skis for that imaginary mark a few inches up the front corner/side of the bump. This can be a gradual process. Consider starting out aiming for a point a little over halfway up the bump. Then each run, aim a little lower until you become comfortable with the speed you’ll experience aiming for the spot mentioned earlier. It will take time. Skiing moguls fast can be intimidating at first. But don’t give up. Just take your time, and be careful. You’ll get there.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
9. Absorption and Extension Revisited

Now that you’re aiming for the right spot, taking a straighter and faster path through the bumps, we can take another brief look at how to use A&E effectively.

As you ski faster, the motions involved in A&E must happen faster and automatically. In this case, you will begin absorbing before you hit the bump, and as you reach the apex (highest point) of where you’re aiming, you will fully absorb the mogul by driving your tips down over the bump and staying up on the balls of your feet (again, your heels should move up toward the buttocks). You will continue making your turn to the next bump, and fully absorb, repeating this process.

If the bumps aren’t very large, you may find that you don’t need to absorb so much. I will warn you that there is in fact such a thing as too much absorption. Fully absorb the bump, but do not force extra absorption afterward. Use that time to extend to the next bump. Remember to keep constant shin pressure, and keep your upper body as completely quiet as possible.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
10. Arm Position and Pole Plants

Another key aspect of quality mogul skiing is the positioning of your arms and your pole plants. When you’re skiing moguls, you want to keep your hands in front of you as though you are carrying a tray, about shoulder length apart. As you ski, you want your hands to keep driving you forward. Don’t let them drop to your sides or get lazy. Keep them out in front and about shoulder width apart, much like you would in your normal alpine skiing form.

Pole planting in the moguls is all about timing and a light touch. The pole should never be used as a weight support during a turn. In fact, if you are poling properly, it is simply a matter of a flick of the wrist. All the while, your arms/shoulders should remain quiet with the rest of your upper body.

Consider the picture below. My hands are out in front, my left pole plant for the current turn is almost complete (looks like a planted a bit earlier, though!), and my right hand is pushing forward, leading me into my next turn and my next plant.

The first two images below demonstrate excellent mogul poling. Brian Seastead (left) and Aaron Peets (middle) are holding their hands in front, reaching forward leading into the next bump, and are planting on the downhill side of the mogul. The image on the right is me executing horrible mogul poling! My hands are too close in to my chest, and I planted on the uphill side of the mogul. Read on to see why this is incorrect.

As you ski the moguls, your pole plants should be on the backside (downhill side) of each mogul. Patience truly is a virtue when discussing mogul poling. You don’t want to plant on the face (front) of the mogul. This will get you off balance, pull your arms behind you as you absorb and advance toward the next bump, and thus will create problems with your turn timing. You don’t want to plant on the top of the mogul, because this will force you to reach up and will also pull your arm behind you (see right image above). You want to aim for a spot around the center of the downhill side of the bump. Many bump skiers (even good ones) have trouble waiting for the right moment to pole plant. It is very important that you be ever patient and wait for the moment when you can effortlessly plant on that downhill side. This will act, then, as your pivot point for the next turn and allow you to plant with a very light touch and a simple wrist movement. Again... do not lean your weight into your pole plant. It is not a speed controller.

The images below demonstrate proper pole plant placement. The image on the left shows the (beautiful) line being skied. The red dots in the photo on the right show approximately where the pole plants should happen.
I have no specific drills to offer. However, just practice by skiing slowly enough at first to really make sure that pole plant happens just at the right time and on the right spot. Patience is key. Slowly increase your speed as you get used to this poling. Soon it will become second nature like many of the other mogul skiing concepts. Practice makes perfect.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
11. Speed Control

Speed control already has been mentioned briefly in individual sections. Controlling your speed in the bumps is a twofold: you must use A&E and turn shape/edging.

As you absorb a mogul, your speed naturally dissipates through the absorption process. The deeper you absorb, the more your speed is controlled. We generally do not consciously use A&E alone to keep speed down. However, as you ski bumps properly and use A&E correctly, it will help you control your speed without even thinking about it! Consider: as you come to a mogul, the more pressure you apply to it in your absorption, the more it will keep your speed down.

The more voluntary method of controlling speed is adjusting the radius and strength of edging. The more you allow your skis to turn across the fall line (the further you complete your arc), the more your speed will dissipate. Also, the harder you edge, the more speed you’ll bleed.

Assuming good conditions and a decent line, you shouldn’t need to adjust your turns much to keep your speed down. You should be able to zipperline straight down the fall line. However, there are issues that arise when skiing bumps, and it’s important to know how to slow down while continuing to ski bumps properly.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
12. Aggressive, Athletic Skiing

One key to skiing bumps well is being aggressive and athletic about your skiing. This doesn’t mean that you have to ski really fast. This means you need to be willing to push yourself and to ski hard and ski with passion, not being afraid of what’s ahead of you.

When you’re in a bump line, being over-cautious and over-conservative about your skiing will get you into much less desirable situations than skiing aggressively. You need to be skiing with a purpose, doing everything to the very best of your ability. You must be unafraid to try running your skis a little straighter or taking the occasional jump off of a bump. You need to always push on down the fall line, and not be afraid to absorb whatever happens to be in your path (as long as it doesn’t pose a danger, of course). Timidity will not get you far in the bumps. Be aggressive, be strong, be athletic. If you combine this with the techniques discussed previously, there’s absolutely no reason for you to fail at becoming a great mogul skier.

Something to keep in mind, though: don’t be crazy. Aggressive skiing does not mean skiing so fast you’re out of control. That’s not at all what aggressive skiing is. Skiing too fast is incredibly dangerous, not only to you, but to everyone around you. Heaven forbid you should dent a lift tower with your head. It costs the ski area a lot to remove that dent and repaint it, not to mention the associated risk management expenses (<-- note the sarcasm, please)! In all seriousness, control is the most important aspect of skiing moguls. If you aren’t in control, then you’re not skiing properly or safely. So be aggressive, go after that line, don’t be afraid of a little speed, but always maintain control.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
13. What To Do In a Bind

As with any sport, it’s rather common to find yourself in a bit of a bind. Some of the binds we get into in the bumps are quite interesting. It’s important to know how to correct the issue, and - if possible - stay in your line and keep moving.

One of the most common problems mogul skiers face is getting into the back seat or losing balance. In both of these situations, the key is to keep pushing forward. Don’t bail and don’t try to slow down when your CG is over your tails. You’ll just fall. If it’s a really serious situation and you need to stop immediately, by all means fall. Off course, it doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t look good. Our goal as mogul skiers is to press on as much as possible, as long as we can maintain or regain proper posture. So if you find yourself getting in the back seat over your tails, or losing your balance, really push your hips and your hands forward as much as you can. Just keep pushing, pushing, pushing and reaching forward. Before you know it, you’ll find that you’re regaining balance and control, and you’re still in the same line looking like a pro.

If your speed gets so far out of control that you can no longer reduce it with the techniques discussed in section eleven, then you need to try to take a couple of turns farther across the fall line around several bumps to bleed that excess speed. If you cannot do this safely and in control, then you need to do your best to create a safe, controlled fall to your side. Do not try to continue skiing if you cannot get your speed under control. Someone will undoubtedly get hurt. Do what you need to do to stop. Once you’ve stopped, take a moment and consider the cause of the excess speed gain. See if you can put the earlier techniques to work to try to avoid finding yourself in a similar situation again. One thing you don’t want to do to stop is lean back on your tails while turning. This will actually make it worse, and your skis will shoot out in front of you and you’ll land hard on your backside. Not good.

The final bind we’ll discuss in detail is losing your line. Sometimes when we get out of control or see a nasty looking obstacle, we either intentionally bail out of our line or end up out of it by accident. If you can regain your control, then try to keep going in another line without stopping. As mentioned earlier, press forward. If the issue throws you around and you’re not in solid control, it’s okay to stop and find a new line. However, if you happen to be competing and skiing a course, then you really don’t want to get out of your line. You’ll definitely lose points or be DQed. If it does happen, do your best to press on in control and just finish your run as well as you possibly can. It’s not the end of the world!

There are, of course, infinite ways to get in tough situations. The general rule of thumb is this: if you are in control or can safely regain control, push everything forward. If you are out of control and cannot regain control, you need to stop and determine why you lost control and make an adjustment based on this finding.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
14. Forget Everything You Just Read!!! (well, sort of)

The message of this section is short and simple, but well deserving of it’s own page.

Now that you’ve consumed all of this information about how to ski bumps, you’re going to want to work on everything at the same time. You’re going to get to the top of a bump run and have so much going though your head that you will not be able to ski well. Too many skiers try to focus on too much as once. So as you work on these techniques, take it slow and work on one thing at a time. Don’t think about everything else – just master what you‘re working on. As you do this, the techniques become second nature so that as you work on the next technique, you no longer even have to think about the previous one, it’s automatic.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to work on and think about everything at once. Take one thing at a time until it’s all second nature, and before you know it, you’re rippin’ lines you never thought you’d be able to ski!

BushMogulMaster wrote:
15. Don’t Forget the Groomers

Another short but unbelievably important section. This is what I personally have the most trouble with.

As fun as it is to spend all day in the bumps, if you really want to improve your mogul skiing, you need to split your time fairly evenly between bumps and groomers. Most of the techniques you’ll apply in the bumps should be practiced on the groomers. So when you’re out skiing, try to take several runs on the groomers drilling the techniques from earlier sections, and then go apply what you learned on the groomers into the bumps. That’s the only way to really learn to ski bumps properly. Even the pros spend way more time on the groomers than you’d ever guess. It’s just the way you have to learn and practice!

BushMogulMaster wrote:
16. Gear

While you can technically ski a bump line on any skis in any boots with any poles, you may be making your life much more difficult. In order to maximize your mogul skiing ability and to shorten the learning curve, you will do yourself a huge favour by investing in appropriate gear. If you are really serious about skiing moguls, you don’t have much choice.

As far as skis are concerned, it would be best to buy a mogul specific skis. These are skis that generally do not have much sidecut, are fairly narrow under foot, and are a soft to medium-stiff ski. They are constructed for optimal mogul skiing performance. Current and recent mogul skis include: Hart F17 (preferred ski of seven US Mogul Team members and hundreds of other pros), K2 Mamba, K2 Cabrawler, Volkl Rebellion, Volkl Dragonslayer, Volkl Wall, Dynastar Twister, Salomon 1080 Mogul, Rossignol Scratch Mogul, Rossignol Radical Mogul, Fischer Lunar, Head Supermogul, and Head Mad Trix Mogul. You can find more details and reviews of many of these skis in the equipment reviews section of this website. You can generally find a brand new pair of solid comp-level mogul skis in the $250 to $900 price range. It’s well worth the price, I assure you. Once you try them, you’ll never go back!

For Boots, mogul skiers generally want a medium-stiffness boot. They need to be soft enough to aid in absorption and not cause shin bang, while being stiff enough to provide 1:1 reaction from your feet to your skis. There are too many good boots to begin listing them. I would strongly recommend visiting a boot professional so that you can be sized properly. Be sure to tell the fitter that you want a boot for aggressive mogul skiing, and that you want a medium-stiffness boot. If the fitter knows anything about mogul skiing and sizes your boot properly, you’ll be golden.

Poles for mogul skiing need to be quite a bit shorter than those for carving and other alpine skiing forms. As a general rule, you can size the same way you would for a regular alpine pole (holding poles upside down beneath the baskets, looking for a pole size that gives a 90 degree angle at the elbow), and subtract 3-5 inches. For example, at 5’-10” I ski with 46” pole for other forms of alpine skiing. However, in the bumps, I ski a 42” pole. The reasoning behind this is relatively obvious: skiing groomers, you’re planting on a surface at the same elevation as your skis. In the bumps, you’re planting on the backside (downhill side) of the bumps, which are higher than your feet. If your poles are too long, then you’ll have to reach up and your hands will be pulled backward and get behind you. Just remember to look for a pole several inches shorter than you’d otherwise buy for skiing corduroy.

Just a brief comment about bindings: avoid any binding with a lifter (including a demo track). We want to stay as close to the snow as possible in the bumps, and lifters do not help us out at all. Be sure to purchase a lightweight, solid performance binding, and have it mounted and tested professionally. The most revered binding among the mogul community seems to be the 2005 Look P12. Unfortunately, those are hard to come by anymore. However, the new Look PX12 seems to do well. Any high quality non-lifted binding will likely suit you fine in the bumps.

BushMogulMaster wrote:
17. More Info (and how to get to the next level)

Now that you’ve read this, you may think you have all the tools to become a pro. Well, kind of. If you really want to get to the pro level and pursue serious mogul skiing, you should consider a couple of other sources of information. While you have now learned most of the technical details and concepts, you need be able to put them into practice. It helps hugely to have some coaching from the pros. The best way to do this is to attend a mogul camp. The two most popular and successful mogul camps are Mogul Logic, run by Chuck Martin and David Babic (current US Freestyle “A” team member), and the Momentum Mogul and Freeride camps. You can visit them at http://www.mogullogic.com and http://www.momentumcamps.com respectively. These camps give you the opportunity to have your skiing analyzed by the pros and coaches so that they can help you get to the next level. They work with you on the groomers, in the bumps, and in the jumps. The summer camps at Whistler/Blackcomb include trampoline and water ramp training for aerials, as well as some of the greatest quality mogul courses you’ll find. I can’t stress enough how important these camps are if you really want to get better. As great as reading about technique is, it just doesn’t have quite the same impact as working with an actual pro/coach.

You could also join a mogul team or do a season-long mogul camp at a local ski area, if there’s one available. However, a word of caution: research the coaches and make sure that they are legit and will teach proper skiing. If they have a solid mogul program, then great! Go for it!

I would strongly advise against taking a private mogul lesson from a ski school unless the instructor is either a former pro or an actual mogul coach. Learning the methods taught by professional instruction organizations and most professional ski instructors will not satisfy you if you want to ski moguls properly. Some areas do have quality mogul instructors, but unfortunately, they are in the minority. If you want mogul instruction, find a pro who teaches or attend a camp.

There are also some other great written resources that, along with this guide, will help you learn mogul skiing on your own, or that will supplement what you learn at camps or on teams. These include:

“Everything the Instructors Never Told You About Mogul Skiing” by Dan DiPiro. This is an excellent starter to mogul skiing, and complements many of the concepts in this guide. The style is slightly dated in comparison with today’s WC techniques, but is still effective nonetheless. DiPiro was a high ranking competitive mogul skier in the ‘80s, and has a lot of experience to back up his writing.

“Newschool: Skiing’s Next Generation” by David Babic and Gerhard and Armin Blochi. This is a fantastic introduction to aerials and other freestyle skiing techniques. This is a great resource if you want to learn to do aerials in the bumps.

Good luck! See you in the bumps!
Last edited by skinnyskis on Wed May 28, 2014 2:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Technique Guide (Circa 2007)

Postby BushMogulMaster » Thu May 22, 2014 2:06 pm

Working on a new version of the full guide. Details will be forthcoming.
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Re: Technique Guide (Circa 2007)

Postby skinnyskis » Wed May 28, 2014 2:50 pm

Thank You for all you have done, and are doing :)
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