Back-Pedal/Smack-Pedal: Call it whatever you want. I think one of the issues with this thread is the lack of experience a lot of skiers on this forum have with skiing cross-rut (or trench) with authority, on small, big, steep or mellow mogul runs. Here is what’s possible when you ski like cvj and Nails –
Imagine this: You see a skier coming down a fairly steep groomed slope. He is skiing right along the edge of the run – the snow is very firm – and all of sudden you notice he is headed directly for a snow-gun created ridge; a finger ridge protruding far out onto the run. It is 15” high, a wall of almost solid ice, an immovable object, and this guy is headed right at it making QCT turns, while carrying good speed down the hill. He must not see it; it’s in the shadows after all.
Then it happens - he takes a direct hit as his skis slam right in to the steep-sided ridge and remember he is traveling pretty fast. This can not end well, or will it?
Surprisingly, this guy skis right into the ridge tips first, goes up and over, never missing a beat, skis never leaving the ground. His QCT turns continue on without interruption. A seemingly impossible move until the skier shows his face - its cvj, the reigning king of cross-rut technique.
Watching this move described above will give most a new perspective on what is possible in cross-rut skiing. Learn this technique and a skier will never again view dead-end walls, deep ruts, and big piles of snow as the enemy in the moguls. To this end, I think Bob B’s videos on this thread are well done and show some nice skiing, but little to no actual cross-rut skiing with pace. Do yourself a favor - go out and practice skiing across the rut and up and over while turning. Start small. Great fun.
Which brings me back to Back-Pedal by Bob Barnes: First, I think Bob has done a fantastic job of attaching a name to and describing the body/ski/terrain interaction that happens when skis contact the front side of mogul. But, I would like to clarify that none of the devotees of the SVMM have ever thought about it as a back-pedal move. We do not consciously try to pull our feet back under us at this point. Instead, as the impact begins at the tip of the skis we are focused on driving the upper body forward, led by reaching out toward the next pole plant. This is coordinated with a “quick touch” fore-aft movement in order to get the right pressure on the ski tips going up the front of the mogul and using this modulation (if you will) to keep the skis on the snow as one descends the front side turning again on the open white space (read post #111 & 120 by cvj for more detail).
Bob, I will admit it has been some time since I have read this thread in its entirety, but my feeling is that at least some skiers on this forum represent the back-pedal as a move the skier should be consciously trying to initiate or think about. True or false? I am trying to get a clear view of why there is so much conversation about a movement that is not consciously created by a specific effort on the skier’s part; that being to pull their feet back at the point of impact. For me, talking about back-pedaling adds an element of confusion to the learning process. Is this something you talk about when trying to help skiers improve their mogul technique?
Getting back to the cross-rut discussion, the vast majority of skiers (99%) never learn this move because they fear the move; running directly into the front side of a mogul after skiing cross-rut. These takes a lot of practice, but once a skier learns to go cross-rut effectively (remember the story at the beginning of this post) you will never want to go back. It becomes as smooth as Keith Stone.
Please don’t take my comments as a proclamation of “my way or the highway”. I agree there are a lot of different ways to ski moguls, but I simply believe (after trying every method I have come across) that the cvj way works the best for me when skiing recreationally on random moguls - the key being the cross-rut element. However, variety is the spice……..right?
BWPA: I think learning the cross-rut tech would really help you. I know you could improve your skill set when I read comments from you professing that the secret to skiing big trenches is to keep a low edge angle (post #4 here) and then you go on to say it is not possible to ski cross-rut; “if the trenches are omni-present you can not ski alternate lines..” (also on your post #4). P.S. You can ski cross-rut in big trenches without it being jarring. One thing that helps us ski moguls effectively is keeping a higher edge angle, giving us the ability to finesse speed control to a much greater degree than is possible with a low edge angle checking method.
I am not saying we ski cross-rut every turn, but having this skill developed to a higher level adds a fantastic tool to the bag. For me, it is the most rewarding mogul turn there is. Doing this effectively returns so much control back to the skier. Time slows down, control goes way up, I feel a sensation of weightlessness/floating, and the fun meter rings the bell. Combine the SVMM cross-rut technique with skiing on the connecting ridges, the tops, the big white open spaces, the sides, and the occasional rut and I have the formula for great mogul skiing on natural runs all while using the QCT turn.
BWPA: A good start for you would be to drop by SV and see skiers actually doing this effectively on expert runs covered by naturally occurring moguls. Just my opinion.
After I learned to stay out of the rut I stopped seeing it. When I do not see it, I do not ski it, and an added bonus is I hit a lot less rocks and roots when the snow is scarce. Not being distracted by junk in the rut, helps me focus on the fun. Staying out of the rut also means I will be skiing softer snow most of the time.
Blah, Blah, Blah, I just can’t help myself when I start typing, but the good news for everyone here is I rarely chime in. Thanks for reading this in its entirety.