Had it, then lost it!!!

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Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby mitch236 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:56 am

I've been struggling with moguls since I started my journey to learn them some 7 years ago. Part of my issue is I can only ski about 5-8 days a year and another big part is fear of injury. Last season in March at Vail, it all seemed to come together for me. I felt like I was always (mostly) in a stacked position and well balanced. I was able to absorb properly (which sets up the rest of the technique for me) and it just all felt great! Even my friends who introduced me to mogul skiing back then commented that I looked good! After that week, I felt I had crossed the barrier and could now ski moguls! Then I returned to Vail over the Christmas week and it all fell apart. I was back in the back seat and skiing defensively. I didn't have one decent mogul run. I could get down the slope but I wasn't using what I consider to be the correct technique. I was always trying to slow down which puts my weight back.

My question; Is this normal for the learning curve? In spring conditions when the snow is slower, I felt more in control but in the fast conditions of December, I lost all my confidence. Please tell me I'm normal and this will pass and I will conquer moguls eventually!!! Also, I'm 58 years old so more concerned about injury than when I was young and dumb!

Thanks!
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby sunshine 50 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:39 am

Honestly it sounds like at your current ability you need to work on your technique on the groomers as much as in the bumps. It's all about muscle memory.
You can't worry about getting hurt, you ski bumps long enough it's going to happen sorry to say. I was sking Zipp lines one day and hit a rock and my leg just snapped. It happens that fast.
We were all young and dumb once now we are old and foolish :lol:
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby mitch236 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:47 am

Thanks and I do keep drilling the turns on the flats. Every day I go out, I spend the first hour or two on the flats working my turns.

That sucks about the rock!! I guess that could happen to anyone, anywhere but my fear isn't about injury in that way, it's more about losing control. On the flats, I'm always in control and therefore can just relax and ski but on the bumps when things start getting squirrely, I just seem to put my weight backwards and that makes everything worse!
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby Henri » Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:59 pm

I'm about the same age and have been trying a long time to improve in moguls, so I'd like to offer words of encouragement. With only 5-8 days a season it's hard to get good at anything, let alone something as difficult as bump skiing, so don't set your expectations too high. Being in shape helps, and gets harder with age. There is a YouTube "Bumps for Boomers Fitness Series" that you might peruse. I've been criticized by a coach for bailing out too early (fear of another ACL tear), and heard several experts say you need to struggle your way back to the front seat, since mogul skiing is a series of recoveries and you can only learn to recover by recovering. I agree with drills on flats--they've helped me considerably-- but understand that with a short vacation, you want to get into the bumps--just go for easy bumps, not too steep. If you can get in the groove there, you've succeeded, and can leave the steep ones to people who ski every day. There are lots of great instructional videos on YouTube that can provide tips and visual cues: Stephen Fearing, Janne Lahtela, Aiko Uemura, Warren Tanner, Chuck Martin, John Smart, Jean-Luc Brassard, Patrick Deneen. There's also a great tutorial dissertation by BushMogulMaster somewhere on this site. We'll never ski like these guys, but just a few turns in the groove, down the fall line, stacked, knees and feet together, hands in front, back straight, head up, absorbing and pole planting on time, is a worthy goal. Skip Vail and come to Bumpapalooza next time :P
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby sunshine 50 » Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:43 pm

Staying stacked through out your run is key.
If your losing control slow your run down so you can stay stacked the whole way. If your stacked you can be aggressive as much as you want. You can speed up or slow down. You don't have to come out of the gates guns a blazing. Like HENRI says if you get back seated fight your way back to the stacked position. Just remember it's all about having fun.
Two knees, three broke legs, titanium holding one together but I'm having the time of my life! :P
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby mitch236 » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:28 am

Thanks for all the good advice guys!! I was mainly venting because in March, with the very soft conditions providing speed control I was able to pull off the whole technique and it felt so good! I'm heading to Winter Park in February for 4 days (two will be with Chuck Martin's camp) and hopefully it will come together again. It's very frustrating to work hard to achieve a goal only to have it ripped right away from you!!! But I'm a hard worker and very driven and I don't care if I don't get it until I'm 70, I'm not going to quit!

If anyone will be around Mary Jane on February 4th or 5th and feels like turning a run or two, let me know.
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby velodoc » Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:19 am

I hear your pain...

As a fellow 58 yo, here's my take. 1) Everyone has good and bad days, related to a combination of internal factors and the snow conditions, 2) It sounds like you have a good fundamental understanding of proper technique, 3) For all athletes, age affects quickness first and this is most noticeable on steeper slopes where higher speed occurs, especially on firm snow (professional athletes refer to the game "speeding up on them" and the same applies to older skiers in challenging bumps).

What I have to do every season (and periodically throughout the season, especially on "bad" days), is find a really tight but relatively flat bump run ("baby bumps"), a run where I don't have to worry about speed control. I do laps on this run, really having fun and getting my confidence back. Once my confidence is back, then slowly increase the steepness of runs. Obviously, this is dependent on having access to a variety of bump runs with varying slope steepness. To me, it's all about confidence level at different velocities which is dependent, principally, on slope steepness.

And you probably don't look as bad as you feel.
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Re: Had it, then lost it!!!

Postby mitch236 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:24 am

Thanks for that. I know it's my lack of confidence once things speed up. I wish ski resorts would embrace mogul skiing and make beginner mogul fields where the slope is not too steep but the bumps are still big enough to use proper technique. I understand that mogul skiers for the most part are in the vast minority and so resorts don't really cater to them but I bet you would have more mogul skiers if resorts would help make them more accessible to the beginner.

I've been playing guitar for most of my life and it's a lot easier to slow a song down and play along then it is to play at full speed, and I know this is true for the bumps too. I'm not at the level where I can ski them without conscious thought and that slows me down so when the slope is fast, I can't put the pieces of the technique together fast enough to keep up. Hopefully it will come even with me skiing only 6-10 days a season!

Winter Park is coming next month for me so another chance to put this all together!!!
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