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Getting across the trench in big moguls

post #1 of 168
Thread Starter 

I am continuing to try to get better in moguls, and in the absence of snow at present have been (re)reading mogul-related threads on this forum. My question is about getting across the trench in big moguls when one is not skiing the zipper line.

In the recent "Best way to learn bumps" thread, a couple of people paraphrased Bob Barnes as saying that you should let yourself go straight down the back side of the bump and use the front face of the next bump to slow yourself down ( http://www.epicski.com/t/103262/best-way-to-learn-bumps/300#post_1360317 ). Other people (e.g., tdk6) also recommend turning on the tops of the moguls and going across the zipper line rather than down it (for example, the blue line in the 6th image of this thread from 2009: http://www.epicski.com/t/89620/bumps-and-line-selection-ski-bumps-like-a-pro ).

However, in big moguls the troughs are sometimes huge and steeply walled, so it seems very difficult to go across the trough. When the trough looks like a "\/" rather than a "U" it seems like it would be impossible to go down and back up without smashing into the uphill face. My tendency is therefore to do whatever is necessary to scrub speed and turn my skis more or less parallel to the trench, nearly side-slipping into it, sometimes rather brutally, and then to ski along the trench up onto the top of the next mogul for the next turn-slide-slam. The end result is not very elegant. Is it really possible to ski down and back up steep-walled, icy trenches? Or is there a different approach in those circumstances?

Perhaps this Bob Barnes post from 2006 in the "back-pedaling" thread touches on the answer, suggesting you need to have your weight farther back than the balls of your feet and be able to lift the tips when they hit the next mogul ( http://www.epicski.com/t/43973/best-bump-technique-backpedaling#post_551801 ). However, I still think this will get increasingly difficult as the moguls get larger.

Thanks,
Jeff

P.S. Some of the other threads degraded into argumentation about details of turn mechanics and about whether somebody's method is better than another's -- I hope that won't happen here. There is little about choosing a line in big moguls. Most of the videos posted in the recent "Best Way to Learn" thread showed skiing in fairly moderate moguls, or even people doing quick turns on groomed runs. Most of the skiers shown in moguls were going rather fast and either in or close to the zipper line. I am not ready to zipper-line big moguls at high speed. Instead, I want to be able to control my speed and make it down the run elegantly instead of feeling knocked around.
 

post #2 of 168

Natural moguls often end up this way.

 

Two tactical options:

  1) Turn sooner, ie on the good snow on the backside of the mogul, before the trench

  2) Turn later, ie take a wider approach, turning on the face of the "next" mogul, after the trench

 

Your skis and absorption can help:  if you go in stiff-legged,  skis sideways, in anticipation of the slam

you have removed much of your ability to absorb 

post #3 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2010 View Post

I am continuing to try to get better in moguls, and in the absence of snow at present have been (re)reading mogul-related threads on this forum. My question is about getting across the trench in big moguls when one is not skiing the zipper line.

In the recent "Best way to learn bumps" thread, a couple of people paraphrased Bob Barnes as saying that you should let yourself go straight down the back side of the bump and use the front face of the next bump to slow yourself down ( http://www.epicski.com/t/103262/best-way-to-learn-bumps/300#post_1360317 ). Other people (e.g., tdk6) also recommend turning on the tops of the moguls and going across the zipper line rather than down it (for example, the blue line in the 6th image of this thread from 2009: http://www.epicski.com/t/89620/bumps-and-line-selection-ski-bumps-like-a-pro ).

However, in big moguls the troughs are sometimes huge and steeply walled, so it seems very difficult to go across the trough. When the trough looks like a "\/" rather than a "U" it seems like it would be impossible to go down and back up without smashing into the uphill face. My tendency is therefore to do whatever is necessary to scrub speed and turn my skis more or less parallel to the trench, nearly side-slipping into it, sometimes rather brutally, and then to ski along the trench up onto the top of the next mogul for the next turn-slide-slam. The end result is not very elegant. Is it really possible to ski down and back up steep-walled, icy trenches? Or is there a different approach in those circumstances?

Perhaps this Bob Barnes post from 2006 in the "back-pedaling" thread touches on the answer, suggesting you need to have your weight farther back than the balls of your feet and be able to lift the tips when they hit the next mogul ( http://www.epicski.com/t/43973/best-bump-technique-backpedaling#post_551801 ). However, I still think this will get increasingly difficult as the moguls get larger.

Thanks,
Jeff

P.S. Some of the other threads degraded into argumentation about details of turn mechanics and about whether somebody's method is better than another's -- I hope that won't happen here. There is little about choosing a line in big moguls. Most of the videos posted in the recent "Best Way to Learn" thread showed skiing in fairly moderate moguls, or even people doing quick turns on groomed runs. Most of the skiers shown in moguls were going rather fast and either in or close to the zipper line. I am not ready to zipper-line big moguls at high speed. Instead, I want to be able to control my speed and make it down the run elegantly instead of feeling knocked around.
 



if the trenches are omin present you can not ski alternate lines. You can round out the zipper line but you can not ski across the ruts with out it being 'jarring" . All of this "Technical line" stuff sounds great on the forums to people who do not know how to actually ski in put stuff like this into practice.

 

Learning how to stay on low edge angle and you cna ski zipper lines as slow or as fast you want.

post #4 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by docbrad66 View Post

Natural moguls often end up this way.

 

Two tactical options:

  1) Turn sooner, ie on the good snow on the backside of the mogul, before the trench

  2) Turn later, ie take a wider approach, turning on the face of the "next" mogul, after the trench

 

Your skis and absorption can help:  if you go in stiff-legged,  skis sideways, in anticipation of the slam

you have removed much of your ability to absorb 


This, and my strategy is generally #2. The trenches/dropoffs are usually most dramatic directly on the backside of the mogul. So, I try to smooth it out by skirting the worst of the trench and entering from the side - basically following the rut and scrubbing speed where the line allows, usually while rounding the outside of a bump, before entering (as opposed to dropping into) the trench. I think of it as a conservative and "extra-wide" version of the technical line. You work with what you get when the bumps are nasty. Trying to follow the zipperline on steep bumps with 2' dropoffs is a great way to throw out your back, no matter how good you are at absorbtion.

 

Also, in these kind of bumps, I think the best piece of advice is to be patient. Sure, you can bash down the trenches, but what fun is that? If you actively focus on taking it easy and smoothing the line, you'll probably start doing the above naturally. 

 

But as BushwacherinPA said, if the bumps are nasty enough, no amount of skirting and smoothing will completely remove the jarring impacts, but you can definitely feel a difference when you focus on letting your skis take a wide path of least resistance. 

 


Edited by LiveJazz - 9/20/11 at 9:03am
post #5 of 168

One tactic to use is called bridging. As you drive down the backside, don't drive all the way to the bottom of the "trench", only drive the skis to about the pitch of the slope you are skiing on. This allows the ski to bridge across to the face of the next bump, with the tips hitting the bump first. Works best with longer skis in tighter bumps, with some speed.

 

 

Also a good tactic to use back east when in between  the bumps gets icy, to get to the softer snow that has been pushed up higher on the bump.

post #6 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by joemammoth View Post

One tactic to use is called bridging. As you drive down the backside, don't drive all the way to the bottom of the "trench", only drive the skis to about the pitch of the slope you are skiing on. This allows the ski to bridge across to the face of the next bump, with the tips hitting the bump first. Works best with longer skis in tighter bumps, with some speed.

 

 

Also a good tactic to use back east when in between  the bumps gets icy, to get to the softer snow that has been pushed up higher on the bump.



JM,

 

Not sure I'm following this tip.  Are you saying that as your skis head down a bump you basically 'wheely' up the tips onto the face of the next bump?  

 

I'm glad the OP brought this up--the deep and nasty troughs are really the hardest part of bump skiing.  I need a shot of someone skiing 'the technical line' or 'back pedaling' Rumble at Sugarbush by late February, or Mad River, or the Red and Black lines at Magic where the 'never groomed' narrow slopes produce the toughest, steepest sided moguls anywhere.

 

Joe's tip sounds intriguing, but I'm not sure I under stand it.

post #7 of 168

No, nothing so drastic as a wheelie.  Its a subtle movement, done mostly with the toes. 

 

When you initiate driving down the backside, I teach people to initiate this with the toes/ball of the foot.  There is more to this, but I don't want to get carried away.  So as you are driving, you release some of the pressure in the toe box of the boot and pull up a bit into the top of the toe bow of the boot. This will change the inclination of the ski as it travels down the back of the bump, allowing the skier to make adjustments to engage the next bump higher on the face.

 

It is a very small movement that can have a big impact on the tactics of your mogul skiing.  It allows a more direct path through the bumps, and takes a lot of the impact out of big bumps.

 

I have a youtube clip from this summer at Mammoth.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRNfXgzvqOs. If you look at about 16 seconds through 18 seconds, you can see my skis don't go all the way down into the troughs, they level out and engage across the trough.  You can also see my path goes accoss alot of the trough.  These are big bumps 3-4 feet maybe more, 30 degree ish pitch.

 

Admittedly soft spring conditions, but as I said can be used in firmer conditions to get to some of the softer snow pushed up by skiers skiing lower in the trough. Some people call this cross trough as well.

 

 

post #8 of 168

Consider the source; i'm not an uber mogul masher, but perhaps this can give you another tool in the box...

 

If it's just the occasional V shaped trough you want to avoid, you can just skip over it altogether, that is jump from the top/back of one mogul to the front/downside of the next jumping right over the nasty thing.

 

This is not as horrifying as it sounds. You can practice it in smaller bumps by going accross the fall-line absorbing the bumps as is proper and then when you spot a trough you want to try to leap, pop off the just at the top of one mogul and aim for just the other side of the top of the next one. It sounds as though it will be jarring, hard or scary but in fact it isn't and is kinda fun. If you practice it going accross the fall-line at first, it takes some of the Yikes factor out.

 

Now, perhaps this is too elementary for you and if so, my apologies for butting in, but if not, enjoy!

post #9 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post

if the trenches are omin present you can not ski alternate lines. You can round out the zipper line but you can not ski across the ruts with out it being 'jarring" . All of this "Technical line" stuff sounds great on the forums to people who do not know how to actually ski in put stuff like this into practice.

 

Learning how to stay on low edge angle and you cna ski zipper lines as slow or as fast you want.

OK, thanks for the warning about not being able to avoid the zipper line to some extent.

 

What do you mean by "low edge angle" -- do you mean don't carve too strongly, and allow yourself to pivot or skid as needed?


 

 

post #10 of 168
Thread Starter 

Thanks to others for their advice as well--I will review later when I have a bit more time. Additional suggestions welcomed.

post #11 of 168

Don't go across the trench, turn.  

 

Watch people who having troubles in the bumps and how many of them are trying to traverse and shop for their turns.  Lots of ways to get into trouble going across bumps: hill hugging on the uphill ski, weight back stiff ankles, just to mention a couple.

 

Now watch a more advanced skier in the bumps; they pretty much don't traverse, they are turning.  A skier is never in a better position to start a turn than at the end of a turn, flick your pole and go the other way.  Don't over think it, it's not rocket surgery.

 

Ski any shape turn you want but just keep turning.  Try skiing short radius turns on a groomer and get comfortable with the concept, sooner or later you will encounter some little bumps and you will hardly notice them (except it was easier to turn).  Find tracks you like and try to ski in them.  Shadow another skier (at a reasonable distance).  Take a lesson.

 

Just turn.  Going across the hill is over rated, the fun is just below you.

post #12 of 168



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Don't go across the trench, turn.  

 

Watch people who having troubles in the bumps and how many of them are trying to traverse and shop for their turns.  Lots of ways to get into trouble going across bumps: hill hugging on the uphill ski, weight back stiff ankles, just to mention a couple.

 

Now watch a more advanced skier in the bumps; they pretty much don't traverse, they are turning.  A skier is never in a better position to start a turn than at the end of a turn, flick your pole and go the other way.  Don't over think it, it's not rocket surgery.

 

Ski any shape turn you want but just keep turning.  Try skiing short radius turns on a groomer and get comfortable with the concept, sooner or later you will encounter some little bumps and you will hardly notice them (except it was easier to turn).  Find tracks you like and try to ski in them.  Shadow another skier (at a reasonable distance).  Take a lesson.

 

Just turn.  Going across the hill is over rated, the fun is just below you.



I find that a good drill for this on a wide bump run is to stay near one side and imagine a close tree line on the other side, leaving a narrow field to navigate.  Any time you feel yourself getting forced into either the real tree line or the imaginary one, stop, redirect back to your line, and continue.

 

post #13 of 168

good topic- bridging was taught to me my Rick aka vailskipro and its a very useful tool.  Not that I can ski bumps, more like surviing them at this point but I do also subscribe to Mom's tactic, you can almost always traverse a Bears tooth (that's what I call them) and find a better line but that's not really where I want to be.


Edited by Finndog - 9/22/11 at 6:26am
post #14 of 168

This is exactly what skiing over the tops is all about. The idea here is to get up on to the big white spot on the back of the mogul where the skier may make turns like they do on the groomed. Making your own turns & dictating to terrain where and when the skier will turn. To get on to the top of the mogul and blow up the front side of the mogul to get a face shot the skier must 1st plant there pole on the top of the mogul before the skier gets there,lead with your poles as the skier will go where there hand goes. Skiers think it is impossible to ski through the up side of the mogul it is not. When skiers hit the mogul tip 1st rather than with the side of the ski the skis will absorb a lot of shock that the body would have to absorb when hitting the mogul with the side of the ski. In this case the skier takes a beating. When hitting 1st with the tip of the ski the skier feels less shock and the skis take a beating.

 

Compress as you hit the front side of the mogul to help control speed along with turn shape or hard edge set to stop the turn, where the skier wants to stop or use a blocking pole plant with the pole flick. Committing  to the fall line is key.

 

It can be done. Skiers who think it is it not possible are not taking a short radius carved turn to the moguls. They are sliding into and out of the mogul top or back side it is all slide and hit.

 

Once the skier fells this sensation of skiing over the tops & making there own turns they will never go back to the zipper line glory hole is way over rated.

 

Ski all the lines and don't get stuck in a rut or zipper line. Learn some new moves as turns in the moguls have not progressed in years. IMO

post #15 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post

Don't go across the trench, turn.  

 

Watch people who having troubles in the bumps and how many of them are trying to traverse and shop for their turns.

I am not trying to traverse. Rather, I am trying to understand what people like those referenced in my initial post have said about choosing a line that is not the zipper line, and therefore requires crossing the zipper line (i.e., going across the trough).

post #16 of 168

^^ nice, One thing I know already is there isnt one way to ski bumps,,,, for the most part I can follow a ridge but when it gets very steep, the ridges are not as apparent.

post #17 of 168

A lot of the mogul video's are not moguls at all but only a depression in the snow of skiers who all turned in the same spot= Zipper line. Look at these moguls in the start of video. They big and random with no zipper line to follow. Most the video's on epic are nothing but a trough where the skiers all made the same turns where the rut showed them to make there turns.

 

Watch the skiers hands and how the skis hit the mogul or on the groomed it is all the same. The tips of the skis hit the up side of the mogul and the skier extends on the back side reaching with the tips of the skis 1st.

 

post #18 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post

When skiers hit the mogul tip 1st rather than with the side of the ski the skis will absorb a lot of shock that the body would have to absorb when hitting the mogul with the side of the ski. In this case the skier takes a beating. When hitting 1st with the tip of the ski the skier feels less shock and the skis take a beating.

My concern is that this approach -- which for me personally is still only theoretical as I haven't tried it -- will fail when the troughs get deep and steep. If my ski tip hits the next mogul and the angle between them is not too great (small mogul), I can imagine that the tip will bend and the ski will go up. When the mogul face is steeper and the ski tip hits more vertically, it seems the tip will stop or the skis will get diverted sideways, leading to the rest of me hitting the mogul and taking a beating! Perhaps the suggestions by Joemammoth (get the tips up) and Mom (jump over the gap) need to be used especially in larger moguls.

 


 

 

post #19 of 168
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post

 Look at these moguls in the start of video.


Thanks--the part from time=7sec to 14 sec was helpful.

 

(CVJ, if you want people to understand your method better you need more video clips from an aerial point of view like that 7-second clip -- longer clips, and repeated in super slow mo, then semi-slow, then full speed again. Only an overhead shot shows what people are really doing with respect to the zipper line. The parts that show people from the front are less instructive. The parts that show quick turns on groomed are not at all helpful, and frankly I feel they do your cause a disservice by being so preponderant. Please note that I'm not debating the merits of your method -- in fact, I am trying to understand it better because I feel that one needs mastery of multiple techniques. My constructive feedback here is only about the pedagogical approach.)

 

post #20 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff2010 View Post

P.S. Some of the other threads degraded into argumentation about details of turn mechanics and about whether somebody's method is better than another's -- I hope that won't happen here.
 


 

Try posting your question on mogulskiing.net as well.  The folks there will have some good advice and unlikely the thread will degrade into an argument.

post #21 of 168

Just to be clear, i wasn't advocating traversing (shopping for turns) as a tactic for mogul skiing, I never do that rolleyes.gif.... but rather as a way to first practice jumping over the gap because it's less intimidating to start.

post #22 of 168

I think a lot of new mogul skiers can't really see the easy line through the bumps.  They try skiing around the bumps and end up in the trenches, where they need advanced skills for speed control.  They don't see that often the easiest thing is to ski over the tops and around the trenches.  Sometimes that's not possible, but often you can ski round turns from the top of one bump to the top of the next without going into the rut.  If the moguls are so carved out that ruts completely surround the bumps, that's probably not the best spot for your first mogul experience.

Once you are comfortable skiing the easy line around the trenches, you can work on pressure control by absorbing the bump and getting speed control by extending on the back of the bump.  When you own those skills you are ready to look for other steeper, more direct lines.

Jumping across the trenches?  That works, but the conventional advice is to learn to maintain contact with the snow.  Jumping is an advanced skill that few mogul beginners can learn before they are comfortable skiing easier lines through the bumps.

 

BK

post #23 of 168

We tend to get a few of these nasty troughs out here in the Mid Atlantic. My first coaching point for someone like Jeff is looking ahead to spot the trouble spots. If you can see moguls in groups where the turns can be "automatic" ending in trouble spots, you can plan for dealing with the trouble while making automatic turns, and then spot the next group while dealing with the trouble spot. Next we talk tactics for trouble spots. My favorite thing to do with trenches is to make turns along the spine that forms the trench, throwing in extra control turns (where the trench would otherwise force you to speed up if you were stuck in the rut). You can't do that if you don't plan ahead. Otherwise, you have 4 basic options when approaching a tip eating monster wall of a trench: over, above, below or U turn. Over is the hop over it approach already discussed, but you usually need some speed and a good launching point (this is usually only an option for more advanced mogul skiers). Above is the bail out route turning up hill to go around the trench. You may come to a stop. This is a good choice for less skilled skiers. Below is the bail out route downhill. You may gain some excess speed and need to skid to scrub off some of it after the trench or get your feet out ahead of you to allow more absorption room on the bump after the trench. U turn is a good option for intermediate bumpers who can spot the trench two turns ahead and make the u turn on the bump before the trench. A variation of this is twisting your skis 90 degrees to hit flat on the trench wall and bounce back off the side of the wall. That's a bit trickier.

 

If you have a "bag of tricks" for dealing with mogul "problems", you can choose a trick and even have a backup plan while you are approaching the problem. If you can see groups of moguls that don't require thinking about making turns, then you'll have to time to use your bag of tricks on the problems.

post #24 of 168

I still ALWAYS do that biggrin.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom View Post

Just to be clear, i wasn't advocating traversing (shopping for turns) as a tactic for mogul skiing, I never do that rolleyes.gif.... but rather as a way to first practice jumping over the gap because it's less intimidating to start.



 

post #25 of 168
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great suggestions!
post #26 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abox View Post




 

Try posting your question on mogulskiing.net as well.  The folks there will have some good advice and unlikely the thread will degrade into an argument.

Generic or Bump specific tech is what they teach from the 90's. Skiing is skiing and the better your basics the better you ski any where.

 

Jeff 2010 You would be surprised if your hands and upper body lead using the pole flick your skis will come over the biggest of the moguls. The technique works better as the runs get harder or the moguls are the nasty of the nasty.

 

Jumping over the trough is slow and has impact when the skis hit the snow again. Try to get the skis down tip 1st as soon as the skis crest the top of the mogul and make all your moves down hill. With  no moves backwards.
 

 

post #27 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvj View Post



Generic or Bump specific tech is what they teach from the 90's. Skiing is skiing and the better your basics the better you ski any where.

 

Jeff 2010 You would be surprised if your hands and upper body lead using the pole flick your skis will come over the biggest of the moguls. The technique works better as the runs get harder or the moguls are the nasty of the nasty.

 

Jumping over the trough is slow and has impact when the skis hit the snow again. Try to get the skis down tip 1st as soon as the skis crest the top of the mogul and make all your moves down hill. With  no moves backwards.
 

 




CVJ,

 

What are the keys to a good pole flick? What do you guys do (the drills) to acquire those skills..and is there video demonstrating these drills?

 

Should the tips go down at an angle or are you looking to go straight into the next mogul?

post #28 of 168

DRILLS DRILLS DRILLS..... What no skiing?     here's one,  take 3/4" bit,  place securely into drill, place at fore head...... biggrin.gif

 

  

post #29 of 168

Best way to get through moguls is to smear you turns. At first don't go too fast. Make sure to have a solid defensive pole plant, or plant your pole on the back side of the upcoming mogul and turn around. 

 

Here are a couple links to some PSIA D-Team members giving short instructional videos on bumps. 

 

http://www.thesnowpros.org/index.php/PSIA-AASI/video-gallery/bumping-with-michael-rogan

 

http://www.thesnowpros.org/index.php/PSIA-AASI/video-gallery/skiing-the-bumps

post #30 of 168

Those are good videos for what they are, but those are beautiful moguls - round, rhythmic, well-spaced bumps covered with soft snow.  There is some good discussion of methods earlier in this thread, but I have never seen a video tip on "how to deal with ugly bumps."  I would like to.

 

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