From Moguls World Champion Patrick Deneen (light tan hoodie and, later, all black) and other competitors skiing the zipper line to top instructors skiing very large and irregular natural bumps and variable terrain, the principles of absorption remain the same.
(whether in a line or out of a line or whatever)
by Blake Saunders
I’ll start with a basic explanation and then add my own conclusions about absorption after the first paragraph/part.
The way to absorb moguls is to bring your knees up towards your chest as your feet hit them. On the uphill side of the moguls, your feet need to be slightly out in front of you so that your skis can point up the mogul then on the downhill side of the mogul your skis need to point down the mogul, which means your feet need to be curled back towards your butt as you straighten your legs. In between moguls your skis point level (parallel to the steepness of the ground under the moguls) and down the hill while your body is straight… and on top of the mogul your skis should reach a point where they are also level and parallel to the steepness of the ground under the moguls and your body is low, bent at the knees. --The motion of your legs will be like you’re pedaling a bicycle backwards.
If you keep your legs directly under you while you absorb, instead of doing a more circular motion like pedaling a bike, then what happens is that the resistance of the ski (the stiffness of it) knocks your weight back on the uphill side of the mogul (then possibly also forward on the downhill side). Your skis will also not stay on the snow if you don’t point them up the fronts and down the backs of moguls, unless they are as flexible as a well cooked noodle.
It’s really important to bend at your knees and NOT at your hips. As your butt gets lower while you absorb, you should not bend the angle of your back forward any more than you have to. In other words, don’t let your shoulders move forward any more than you have to. So how much do you have to? --The minimum amount necessary in order to not have your weight too far back. The lower you need to absorb, the farther forward the angle of your back will have to go in order to not have your weight too far back, but always move your back forward the minimum amount necessary. Absorb mainly with your knees. If you have the angle of your back more forward than it has to be, then you will not be able to absorb well. Your upper body will get in the way of the motion of your legs.
Your weight needs to be centered, NOT forward like most people say. If you are forward, you will smack your ski tips and your feet into the moguls and you will not be balanced or smooth. You should also not be too far back with your weight. Being too far back or forward also messes up the angles of your body. You have to be centered.
How low you need to absorb is determined by the size of the mogul. The amount your feet should be brought up should be equal to the size of the mogul. A lot of mogul skiers have their skis come off of the ground between moguls. This can happen for three reasons. Either the mogul skier is absorbing too slowly (he is bringing his feet up too slowly for the speed he is skiing at) or his timing is off, or he is not absorbing deep enough. The cause of this bouncing could also be all three reasons (bad timing, slow absorption and shallow absorption together). The faster you ski, the faster you will need to bring your feet up on the uphill sides of moguls and the faster you’ll have to push them down on the downhill side in order to not come off the ground. It’s best to stay on the ground so that you can be smoother. All mogul skiers try to stay on the ground, but it’s not easy at high speeds. You should never jump onto moguls. The motion of your absorption should be more like pulling up your feet instead of squatting down or lowering your butt. Imagine hanging from your arms on a pull-up bar and pulling your knees up, instead of doing squats. At high speeds you pull your feet up and let the mogul pass under you. Your legs straighten when the mogul has passed and is no longer under you. At lower speeds it’s a little more like lowering your butt, at higher speeds it’s more like pulling your feet up.
Try to hit the moguls as lightly as possible. Try to not make any noise when you hit them. Most skiers can’t do it quietly, but it’s good to try.
Always do what feels natural and balanced, and keep your hands in front of you.