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Learning icy bumps for people who suck at bumps

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I just read about 200 posts on learning bumps and skimmed another 50 before giving up.  Some of it was helpful, a lot of it was informative, and half of it was entertaining bickering.  I got some solid advice about attitude, approach, and dedication to bump learning, and I think I'm willing.  There was a good deal of techno-babble that forced me to google and youtube, and I learned some high level terminology.  Unfortunately most of it descended into bickering between really high level skiers who were debating the best way for the best skiers to ski any moguls anywhere. 

 

I think I have a good line on what I'm going to try the next time I find some "easy" moguls (which in my mind are smallish and soft).  Unfortunately, I have very limited access to powder, so does anyone have any good tips on how to approach rock hard ice bumps?  Or should I just wait to learn on easy bumps and, once I master those, transfer my new skills to the harder stuff?

post #2 of 11

"Rock hard ice bumps" makes me think you live here in New England?  smile.gif

 

Nobody is going to confuse me with being a great bump skier, but I do like skiing bumps.  When I was first learning bump skiing, and was faced with the prospect of most local bump runs being somewhat "firm", my practice was short-radius retraction turns (i.e., practice finding the virtual bump) down groomers.

 

That is, I think bumps are virtually impossible unless you know how to absorb the pressure coming from the hill.  There is a "virtual bump" on groomers (search that term for various discussions on it).  Learn to manage that, and then you can take those skills into bump runs where the difficulty level is going to go up significantly.

 

 

post #3 of 11

Rock hard ice bumps, that's New England for you.  Learning bumps from scratch on these things can be done, but remember that most people posting about learning bumps on this forum assume you are learning on soft snow bumps. 

 

First you need to learn to do pivot slips on beginner-intermediate terrain with hard snow.  A pivot slip is series of linked side-slips straight down the slope.  Your skis don't travel left or right at all.  That's the hard part.

 

Face the bottom of the slope with your upper body, shoulders, hips, arms all facing straight downhill.  Keep it that way.  Swivel your skis left (they must stay parallel) and slide down a bit, then swivel your skis right and slide down, then left, then right.  Your goal is smooth travel, no stopping, no pausing, no turning your upper body, no traveling leftie-rightie at all, just a smooth travel straight down the hill with those skis point all the way to the left then all the way to the right.  It's difficult, but well worth the effort.  Once your body figures out how to do this you will be ready for those icy bumps.

 

Search pivot slips here on Epic; there's a great video loop showing a guy doing it for Rocky Mountain PSIA.

 

Once you can do pivot slips well on a beginner slope, take it to the easiest icy bump field you can find.  Your goal is to pivot-slip your way down the field, up and over a sequential line of bumps.  Start on top of a bump.  Swivel your skis left, slip down into the rut, swivel them right and slip up the next bump. Pause, admire what you just did.  Now do it again, down and up, all the way down the line of bumps.  Seek to not travel left or right, but just go up and over the bumps, pivot slipping all the way.  This process will keep your speed way down.  

 

Do not try to ski a line that flows through the ruts left and right.  That's a sure fail on ice.  

 

Do the same run over and over, just like you did when you were learning pivot slips.  Seek speed as your confidence and accuracy increases.  You'll naturally figure out how to begin traveling a little left-right through the field as you get some mileage doing this.  

 

Once you can get up the speed, you can take it to uglier bumps.  Just go slow at first.  

 

I speak from New England experience; this works.  I learned on ice bumps. 

post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muaddib View Post

I just read about 200 posts on learning bumps and skimmed another 50 before giving up.  Some of it was helpful, a lot of it was informative, and half of it was entertaining bickering.  I got some solid advice about attitude, approach, and dedication to bump learning, and I think I'm willing.  There was a good deal of techno-babble that forced me to google and youtube, and I learned some high level terminology.  Unfortunately most of it descended into bickering between really high level skiers who were debating the best way for the best skiers to ski any moguls anywhere. 

 

I think I have a good line on what I'm going to try the next time I find some "easy" moguls (which in my mind are smallish and soft).  Unfortunately, I have very limited access to powder, so does anyone have any good tips on how to approach rock hard ice bumps?  Or should I just wait to learn on easy bumps and, once I master those, transfer my new skills to the harder stuff?


well there are some options. First where do you ski? does it have any south facing slope/warm temps? slush bumps are super easy to learn on and can happen time of year on eastern/midwestern bump runs. I would start there.

 

with that said ice bumps might be the only thing you have. They require great skills and tons of patience and some athleticism. The deal is bump skiing is just good skiing and the better at skiing you are the better you can ski bumps. On ice you want to cut into and not smear it. Pivot slips are a great way to gain some confidence but for me skiing ice bumps or any bumps I strive to cut the surface and actually turn over pivoting it is alot soft on the body as well as pivoting down a bump run can be quite jarring. 

 

If you have any video of your skiing that would be a start.

 

 

 

post #5 of 11

It sometimes depends on how you learn best. You could take the 'lets learn to drive in a big empty parking lot' approach OR 'lets wing it and jump onto a major highway straight away, when it's raining and at night!'. The latter is pretty much similiar to learning how to ski bumps on huge rock hard icy bumps. Then again, if that's all you have...

post #6 of 11

There are mental aspects to bump skiing that are only loosely connected to the technique issues.

I think LiquidFeet's method of learning to go dead slow through anything has a lot of value.  Not that you should continue to ski that way, but knowing you can gives a lot of confidence.

 

I realized this when I happened to be skiing with a L1 who was working very hard on bump practice.

He was doing the traverse across two bumps and then turn thing, and it was driving me crazy watching.

So I tried to show him something (don't remember exactly what) and he objected "Yeah, but you ski a lot faster than I do.

So I went though the next pitch, pausing on the crest of a few moguls to say something.

 

Only a one time thing, so it probably didn't make any impression.  Oh well, given how dedicated he was, I'm sure he's a good bumper now regardless.

 

The other thing I've tried to get people to do addresses the confidence issue from the other side.  Find real small bumps, bumplets really, above a smooth section or runout.  Get fairly close to the end.  And just go.  Don't even try to ski em -- just survive.  The point is to show your subconscious that getting thrown around a little in the bumps is not all that bad.  Gives you more leeway when you go back to actually learning.

post #7 of 11

I've been told start near the end of the mogul field, try on the last one or two moguls and work your way up. Its less intimidating

and less chance getting stuck in the middle of a mogul field. Hope this helps.

post #8 of 11

As mentioned, try pivot slips but in the bumps. IMO, this is the best way for people to get  center on their skis and to control their edges. Then you can start working in the absorbtion and extension. Then start pointing the tips more downward and more north/south.

 

I do this in the beginning of the day just to warmup for these reason and to get a feel for the morning snow. But that's just me. Hmm... I wonder whats the over/under on post count before this becomes a piss war?

 

 The vid below shows this, starting around 6:30.

 

 

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by jack97 View Post

. Hmm... I wonder whats the over/under on post count before this becomes a piss war?

 

 

 



It won't be long.  OP, maybe post your question at mogulskiing.net where the piss warriors are banned. 

 

Regarding the question, I agree with the post about pivot slips and will only add that since the bumbs tend to push you into the backseat, keep your weight on the downhill ski when slipping down into the rut.  This is the point where many beginners lean on their uphill ski and get thrown backwards on their way up the next bump.  If you fall backwards you've allowed yourself to get backseated.  If you fall forwards, you're doing it right and are ready to work on the next step.

 

post #10 of 11
Quote:Originally Posted by Abox View Post....

Regarding the question, I agree with the post about pivot slips and will only add that since the bumbs tend to push you into the backseat, keep your weight on the downhill ski when slipping down into the rut.  This is the point where many beginners lean on their uphill ski and get thrown backwards on their way up the next bump.  If you fall backwards you've allowed yourself to get backseated.  If you fall forwards, you're doing it right and are ready to work on the next step.

icon14.gif Yep!

 

Take your time and get good at scraping your way down the downhill wall of one ice bump at a time.  Your weight will be on the downhill ski.  You can work on keeping both skis parallel as you slip/scrape (it will be loud) your way down.  I found it actually easier to do this first thing in the morning on the nastiest biggest most unrhythmical ice bumps on the hill last spring, and it did my bump skiing a world of good.  No one else was stupid enough to ski there, so I could creep along as slowly as I wanted without being seen.  It was a natural progression to seek more fluidity and speed once my stability grew.  Fun, actually.  

 

There are better ways to learn bumps, but you'd have better luck using those progressions on soft snow.  Best of luck learning bump skiing on the ice.

 

post #11 of 11

I don't recommend attempting to do anything but trying to survive really gnarly ice bumps just long enough to traverse to a more forgiving part of the mountain ...

 

Until you first:

 

Learn to handle yourself on ice with some degree of competence..

 

Learn to handle yourself in refrozen crud with some degree of confidence..

 

AND

 

Learn to handle yourself in more forgiving bumps with actual proficiency.

 

I'd say the ice and crud skills are a tad more important than the bump skills when it comes to negotiating ice bumps. 

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