Originally Posted by rickg
Learning to ski bumps well is one of hardest yet most satisfyig skills that you can learn. It truly is a skill you must master if you want to consider yourself an expert all mountain skier. No bump skills, not an expert in my book.
So how does one become an expert bump skier? Well first off, lessons are important. Bumps are a skiing skill where poor skills and bad habits will bite you in the ass. It is far easier to learn good habits and proper form at the get go rather to unlearn bad habits that are holding you back. A good instructor or coach will be of immense help here.
Yes, lessons will shorten your learning curve considerably. You may find there's a lot you didn't know, and you may have to build or re-build basic skills.
Picking a line: Before starting down the mogul field, stand there lookig down the fall line and imagine how water would flow down the hill. That is your natural fall line and gives you a good starting point. You will also find that the bumps on the edges of the bump run are usually smaller than in the middle where everyonne else is skiing.
Be careful. Water will follow the fastest, smoothest line. That might not be ideal when you're just learning. And yes, the bumps on the sides are often smaller, though not always.
Poles: Touch for timing and stability, but avoid planting. Planted poles tend to grow roots, causing you to drop your hand back.
Boot fit is probably one of the most determining factors in learing to ski bumps well as it is almost impossible to learn to ski bumps if your boots are too big or too small. If they are too big, your feet will be moving around too much making it very difficult to turn quick enough for the next bump. You will constantly find yourself in the backseat with boots too big. You will be muscling yourself around and exhausting yourself in a short period of time. If your boots are too small, then your toes will be constantly smashed into the end of the toe box with every bump hit, causing pain.
Boot fit is a Big Deal. Unfortunately, boots that are comfortable in the shop are usually too big. When the boots are too big, you feel yourself move in them, so you tighten the buckles. Then you tighten them some more. You're still moving in the boots because they don't fit right, but now they're starting to hurt because you've attempted to stop the movement by overbuckling. A smaller boot that fits correctly is ultimately far more comfortable and allows you to ski better.
Also, if a boot is too large, shin bang is common.
If you don't already have them, you should at least consider custom footbeds. They will greatly help you maintain accurate balance.
In bumps, balance is everything. If you're always behind your feet, you will always feel rushed for every turn. You'll feel like your feet are never quick enough. If your balance is accurate (and make no mistake - sometimes in bumps, you will be behind your feet, but the bumps can also help you catch up), the bumps almost feel like they're coming at you slowly, giving you plenty of time for your next turn.
Finally, there is no short cut to skiing bumps well. It is practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.
True, with this caveat: If what you're practicing is ineffective, then you'll just get very good at doing something ineffective. Make sure you're practicing the moves that really work.
Learn flat ski techniques. Every bump has a place on it where tip and tail pressures are light and you can pivot easily. Use that spot and then smear down the other side. Too much edge just makes things go faster and straighter. Bumps can be done with "carvier" turns, but only by those with lots of skill.
Learn retraction turns. Very useful in both bumps and powder. Develop a true 3D range of motion. You probably don't have much range of motion. Most people don't.
Think about guiding the tips down the hill, not pushing the tails up.
Ski them s-l-o-w-l-y. If you can't, that's a hint. You're probably in the back seat, using too much edge, turning late and not finishing. It all adds up to too much speed.