Originally Posted by TreeFiter
I think one of the reasons moguls are so "difficult" for people is that the vast majority of skiers don't understand what is really going on when they see a good mogul skier. For that matter, they don't know the difference between a guy that can barely hold it together, but manage to still look cool and the guy that is in total control at every turn. To the untrained eye they look similar. Upper body facing down the hill, knees going up and down, zipper line straight down the fall line.
Personally, I feel that the key to good skiing of any sort begins with control. If you can't control your speed or your direction, you are just holding on hoping that nothing bad happens. The same applies to moguls. If you can't adjust your line or change your speed at all times, you are out of control, and should the right situation arrive (someone cuts you off, bare spots, ice, etc.) you won't be able to avoid a potentially dangerous obstacle.
A good bump skier will maintain good control. If you aren't in control, you are just pretending. In order to look like Jonny Moseley and be in control, you need to master a whole bunch of skills and then start out slow and build up to the Olympic pace. I don't see too many people try to ski GS turns through the bumps, but its a crucial stepping stone on the way to skiing that zipper line we all love.
I also see a lot of people that don't believe in carving in the bumps. To be clear, I'm not talking about carving in the sense that you will leave behind railroad tracks, but more in the sense of a continuum between a pure carve and sliding turns. (Keep in mind that a typical SL racing ski has a carving radius of 16 meters, which means it will take 104 feet to complete one C shaped turn if carved perfectly) The vast majority of carved turns involve some sliding, but they all involve proper edge engagement and steering from the tips of the skis rather than drifting the tails around. Carving will smooth out your line and add fluidity to your bump skiing, which in turn will reduce the felt impact on your joints. This goes hand in hand with maintaining contact with the snow, as your edges can't carve if they aren't touching the snow.
I think that people don't think carving works in the bumps because the pros don't look like they are carving, but what they fail to realize is that the pros are capable of carving extremely quick and crisp turns, which is what makes them pros, and the rest of us just enthusiasts.
Going back to what I said earlier about "the guy that can barely hold it together, but still look cool", what we typically see is a guy skipping off of each bump like a little ramp that launches them towards the next bump. They turn their feet in the air and slam into the next bump while trying to absorb the impact with their knees and prepare to bounce to the next bump creating a Z turn shape. This looks pretty cool, but if you are in the air, you have ABSOLUTELY NO CONTROL until you crash into the next bump, not to mention the beating your knees are taking.
On the other hand there is "the guy in total control of every turn" who keeps his feet in contact with the ground, maintaining the ability to engage his edge to reduce speed or turn at any point in time. He maintains relatively equal pressure with his feet throughout the turn by absorbing and extending, keeping his shins in contact with the front of his boots and driving his tips down the back side of the bump. He is rolling on and off of his edges to initiate turns and tends to maintain a 3 dimensional S turn shape.
It is important to remember where moguls come from. They are the result of skiers making turns. When enough of them turn in the same spot, a rut develops. When this happens in hundreds of spots on a trail, we see a collection of ruts (troughs) and mounds (moguls). So if these ruts are formed by people making turns, why wouldn't it make sense to try to make those same turns through them?. For that matter, why would it make sense to start hopping and bouncing?
When we see a good mogul skier, on the surface it might look like they are bouncing along but in reality they are making controlled turns, maintaining contact with the snow, and carving their turns. They are just doing it with such ease and so fast that its hard to see the detail.