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How quickly can a bump lesson, make you somewhat proficient? [A Beginner Zone thread]

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
I'm an intermediate skier. I think if you saw me skiing a groomer you might think I'm better than I really am. I can ski easy trees with soft snow. I've skied a foot+ of non-blower, fairly heavy snow and the chop that followed with success, and prefer to ski off of the courdoroy with one exception.. (2 actually, not very comfortable with super steep stuff)

What I'm not comfortable with is bumps. I can negotiate them, but very awkwardly.

I've averaged 10-13 days on snow per year for the last 5 years(when I started). My days out west are precious (not to mention expensive), and I'm really anguished about spending the majority of my ski days trying to figure out bump skiing.

I don't want to learn bump skiing because I think it looks fun, it doesn't to me, but I want to be able to go wherever the hell I want to.

So I guess my question is, will it even be possible for to learn bumps at all? Can a good instructor give me the tools in one or two lessons to be able to progress and be able to manage them? Or do I need to dedicate an entire week?

Just curious.
post #2 of 34

ski them in corn as much as possible. IMO that's the fastest route to proficiency.

post #3 of 34
Thread Starter 
Yeah, soft is better.

But me stumbling upon corn is probably less likely than a pow day.
Edited by WC68 - 3/14/16 at 5:24am
post #4 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

I'm an intermediate skier. I think if you saw me skiing a groomer you might think I'm better than I really am. I can ski easy trees with soft snow. I've skied a foot+ of non-blower, fairly heavy snow and the chop that followed with success, and prefer to ski off of the courdoroy with one exception.. (2 actually, not very comfortable with super steep stuff)

What I'm not comfortable with is bumps. I can negotiate them, but very awkwardly.

I've averaged 10-13 days on snow per year for the last 5 years(when I started). My days out west are precious (not to mention expensive), and I'm really anguished about spending the majority of my ski days trying to figure out bump skiing.

I don't want to learn bump skiing because I think it looks fun, it doesn't to me, but I want to be able to go wherever the hell I want to.

So I guess my question is, will it even be possible for to learn bumps at all? Can a good instructor give me the tools in one or two lessons to be able to progress and be able to manage them? Or do I need to dedicate an entire week?

Just curious.


Completely agree that the reason to learn to ski bumps in general, not zipper line style, is to be able to enjoy skiing complex ungroomed terrain when on a trip out west.  I started to work on bumps several years ago once I figured out that the reason to ski trees is because that's where the powder can be found 2-3 days after a storm.  Much easier to learn to deal with 3D snow on bumps with no trees in the way, and then move on to learning how to be comfortable in trees.

 

I started to ski bumps about five years ago when I started taking trips with ski buddies who were better skiers and liked bumps.  Not super hard bumps, but more soft bumps on terrain that wasn't too steep.  I could get down bumped up runs but was definitely not comfortable.  What really helped was when I started taking lessons at Massanutten after knee rehab in 2012 (not a skiing injury).  After working on fundamentals for a season (3 lessons), I had a couple lessons the next season on the seeded bumps on Paradice and the big ungroomed humps on MacAttack.  That gave me the starting point for how to practice when I was out west.  After that I had a few semi-private lessons with a friend or two during trips out west.  All of my lessons were with very experienced PSIA Level 3 instructors (20+ years of experience).  I've averaged 20 days skiing at Massanutten plus 30 days skiing out west the last three years.  End result is that I went from a Level 7 to Level 8 (of 9) skier.  I skied bumps in the northeast and out west on much harder terrain last season than I even imagine I would ski when I started skiing more as an older adult taking advantage of being retired.

 

Obviously, it's a lot harder to improve technique skiing only 10-15 days a season.  However, if you invest the time and money in a lesson from an experience instructor at the beginning of a ski vacation, and invest a little time each day practicing, I do think improvement is possible.  Note that what you need to practice may not be what you expect.

 

Did you catch the discussion last spring about intermediate adults in the flatlands who want to get to the next level?

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/137287/how-does-an-intermediate-adult-skier-in-the-flatlands-get-to-the-next-level-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #5 of 34
A couple of days with a good instructor should get you on the right path. Once you have the basics, you will have to put in some mileage to become more comfortable and proficient.

Get a recommendation for a specific instructor at the resort where you are skiing so you can maximize your lesson. Being able to ski bumps will open a whole new world of skiing and make your 10-15 days a year, much more fun.
post #6 of 34

This is a good question, that I also have, so thanks for asking @WC68. Sounds like I'm maybe a bit behind you in terms of level, but I'm starting to think about skiing bumps. The extent of my bump skiing has mostly been the occasional short bump pitch - say 5 or 6 turns, and it's over; So I shop for those turns, and do a lot of traversing.

 

I did get a bit of instruction for a few turns on really nice soft bumps in Aspen earlier this season (with quite a few falls), but I wouldn't know what to expect from an actual bump lesson.

 

And I'm curious if anyone could list what you should be able to do before thinking about really learning to ski bumps. I suspect that my edging and rotational skills, and my short radius turn skills, are not really good enough yet.

post #7 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

A couple of days with a good instructor should get you on the right path. Once you have the basics, you will have to put in some mileage to become more comfortable and proficient.

Get a recommendation for a specific instructor at the resort where you are skiing so you can maximize your lesson. Being able to ski bumps will open a whole new world of skiing and make your 10-15 days a year, much more fun.

Thumbs Up

 

Look at Mogul Camp ski weeks as well.  In the end there is no substitute for mileage/experience/practice.  To ski bumps effectively it really needs to be down to instinct and muscle memory.  I'm usually looking 3-4 turns ahead and not even consciously thinking about the turn I am currently making when I ski bumps fast.  Usually, immediately following a lesson and while learning folks are trying to think through every part of every motion in the current turn trying to remember exactly what the instructor/coach is telling them.  You've got to be able to do it without thinking about it to blast through them at higher levels.

post #8 of 34

The OP is a father who lives in the flatlands who doesn't get a chance to do solo trips out west.  So I think part of the question is whether taking a lesson during a family ski vacation is worthwhile.

post #9 of 34

if you live back East, the best days to experience corn like snow in Winter is to ski in the rain. Simply put a slicker on and go at it. Nobody else will be out there, and the snow is fantastic. AFTER the rain is when it freezes up and the skiing is horrible again.

 

One more tip. When I was learning how to ski moguls, I used to stand at the top and plan my route. All was great until it wasn't!

 

What I mean is, as a novice mogul skier, you will be off your planned "best route" sooner than later, and all bets are off. In my case, I'd freeze up, stop, plan a new route, and do it all over again.

 

When I stopped planning a route, and just slowed down a little, and learned to make snap-quick decisions ON THE FLY, and learned how to negotiate those decisions quickly to recover, that is when my mogul skiing really took off.

 

Mogul skiing is all about experience, and knowing what to do when "x" happens. That you figure out by doing it a few hundred times.

 

Good luck!

post #10 of 34
I have particpated in many bump lessons. You can flail around by yourself for a long time with no inprovement. A focused lesson can give you some parameters to work on yourself and the lessons are well worth it.
post #11 of 34
Thread Starter 
Thanks Marz..you don't miss much. Taking a whole week for a camp is really not in the cards, although I highly recommend that, as I've done that as a beginner and it was what got me to realize I could actually enjoy skiing. I know there are some 3-4 day bump camps, that's in the realm of possibility in the future but I'm thinking more like next week!
I also think i need more narrow, shorter skis if I were to take a bump focused lesson, which is not a problem
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

The OP is a father who lives in the flatlands who doesn't get a chance to do solo trips out west.  So I think part of the question is whether taking a lesson during a family ski vacation is worthwhile.
post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

Thanks Marz..you don't miss much. Taking a whole week for a camp is really not in the cards, although I highly recommend that, as I've done that as a beginner and it was what got me to realize I could actually enjoy skiing. I know there are some 3-4 day bump camps, that's in the realm of possibility in the future but I'm thinking more like next week!
I also think i need more narrow, shorter skis if I were to take a bump focused lesson, which is not a problem
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

The OP is a father who lives in the flatlands who doesn't get a chance to do solo trips out west.  So I think part of the question is whether taking a lesson during a family ski vacation is worthwhile.


When was the last time you had a lesson?  Where?  Was it on green or blue terrain?  Don't really need answers but here's what I'm thinking . . . if you haven't had a lesson from an experienced instructor (10+ years) then it's well worth taking one.  Can't remember where you are going, but out west my sense is that group lessons mid-week that can end up pretty useful for Level 6/7 skiers who are interested in improving fundamentals.  At least that was the experience a friend had at Alta.  Until I got help with fundamentals, really learning how to be comfortable with short turns on steep groomers and dealing with bumps without needing to think too hard wasn't happening.

 

The first private lesson I took out west was at Bridger.  I got a recommendation for a Level 3 instructor well beforehand.  I did the lesson at Bridger partially because the price was reasonable.  I went to Bridger before spending a week at Big Sky with friends.  What that instructor did in the first five minutes was identify a fundamental flaw.  It was a 90-min lesson.  I learned a few drills that were directly relevant to improving, as well as how to practice even on cat tracks.  My week at Big Sky was much more fun as a result.  Obviously, I didn't suddenly improve in a day.  But my new awareness made a difference even during that week.

 

For future planning, you might consider taking the family to Taos so that you could do a Taos Ski Week.  That's what I'm thinking seriously about doing next season.  Have a couple friends who are also interested in getting better on bumps.

post #13 of 34

Don't & Do's in bumps:

 

Don't:

Lean back toward the hill for that false sense of security.

Twist your body around toward the hill.

Sit back on your heels.

 

Do:

Angulate--bend in the body so your head & shoulders are downhill and your hips are balancing you back up hill.

Counter--so you always face down the hill.

Stay balanced on the balls of your feet.

Both feet close together.

Ski straight across some easy bumps keeping your body even and pulling your feet up for each bump and push them down for each valley.   Learn absorption this way.

As your skis slide over the lip of a bump, pull both feet strongly back toward you so your ski tips go down to the snow.  Rule of thumb--if your ski tips are in the air, you have no control.

Be ready to make the next turn by the time your skis are pointing down the fall line.

Reach way down the hill with your pole, ready to plant any time you see your next turn.

Look two or three bumps down the hill to plan your route.  Don't try to plan an entire line; plan the next bump or two or three.

Sideslip down the bump, going slowly forward, to scrub off speed.  Stay balanced on the balls of your feet.

 

One or two lessons can be a huge help, depending on how athletic you are and how much you need the help.

post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
 

Don't & Do's in bumps:

 

Don't:

Lean back toward the hill for that false sense of security.

Twist your body around toward the hill.

Sit back on your heels.

 

Do:

Angulate--bend in the body so your head & shoulders are downhill and your hips are balancing you back up hill.

Counter--so you always face down the hill.

Stay balanced on the balls of your feet.

Both feet close together.

Ski straight across some easy bumps keeping your body even and pulling your feet up for each bump and push them down for each valley.   Learn absorption this way.

As your skis slide over the lip of a bump, pull both feet strongly back toward you so your ski tips go down to the snow.  Rule of thumb--if your ski tips are in the air, you have no control.

Be ready to make the next turn by the time your skis are pointing down the fall line.

Reach way down the hill with your pole, ready to plant any time you see your next turn.

Look two or three bumps down the hill to plan your route.  Don't try to plan an entire line; plan the next bump or two or three.

Sideslip down the bump, going slowly forward, to scrub off speed.  Stay balanced on the balls of your feet.

 

One or two lessons can be a huge help, depending on how athletic you are and how much you need the help.

While all the tips above are familiar and useful, the ones that I bolded were the basics that I worked on with my Massanutten coach.  The first couple lessons, we spent more time skiing across the humps on MakAttack or the Paradice bumps than skiing down the fall line.

 

Getting better at absorption going across bumps is also very useful when taking traverses leading to ungroomed black terrain out west.  For example, the Saddle Traverse or Ballroom or the High T at Alta.

post #15 of 34
All the words on the internet can't replace having someone show you how, watch you do and give you feedback.
post #16 of 34
Thread Starter 
Last lesson was 2 years ago.

We are going to Telluride.

I plan on taking at least three days of group lessons if not more because the deal they have is hard to beat. I made another post on here about it.
post #17 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

Last lesson was 2 years ago.

We are going to Telluride.

I plan on taking at least three days of group lessons if not more because the deal they have is hard to beat. I made another post on here about it.

Aah, found the thread.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/145255/going-to-telluride-in-march-ski-school-question

 

Quote:
It's called "Mountain Adventure". It's a group lesson that lasts from 11:15 to 3:45.
If you sign up for three days, it's $470 for lesson, full day lift tickets and rentals. I don't rent but my wife does. It's around $405 for lesson and lifts.

That certainly sounds like a good idea, assuming the logistics work for the rest of the family.  That's clearly set up to handle intermediate/advanced skiers who want to be able to explore more terrain with confidence.  If you do it, going for 3 days is better, even if you have to leave a little early on one of the days.

 

How many ski days will you have total?  Reason I ask is that I find it best to schedule a lesson on Day 2 instead of Day 1.  That gives me a day to adjust to the altitude, as well as get some time at a big mountain to get into the flow of skiing for more than 3 minutes at a time on a short groomer in the Mid-Atlantic.

 

post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 
6 days.

I plan on skiing day 1. Trying to get the wife to wait a day to aclimate to the altitude. Kid will probably be in ski school day one as well.

Lifts are so expensive, and I haven't found any sort of discounted tickets, so the 3 day lesson is appealing.
post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

6 days.

I plan on skiing day 1. Trying to get the wife to wait a day to aclimate to the altitude. Kid will probably be in ski school day one as well.

Lifts are so expensive, and I haven't found any sort of discounted tickets, so the 3 day lesson is appealing.


In that case, can't think of a downside for the 3-day lesson package starting on Day 2 for you and wife.

 

As for Day 1, if wife wants to ski then perhaps the investment in the lift ticket is worth it even if she is done for the day mid-afternoon?  Mileage counts as she continues to improve, even if only on green/blue groomers.

post #20 of 34

Agree with MarzNC.  I've seen OP ski.  They're already more than "slightly proficient" at most terrain we have around here.  Having access to good bump terrain and good instructors to work with will help them get to higher levels.. then practicing what they learn will get them to higher levels with a little work beyond..

post #21 of 34

I just wanted to chime in - I don't have too much to add in terms of technique - but just wanted to share some advice from my instructor from whom I took a bumps lesson the other day. I'm an advanced skier, mostly blacks here in the Canadian Rockies. I have really tried to progress to access more difficult terrain this season. I'm quite used to skiing on ungroomed terrain (blues and even greens can be ungroomed here), but not after it starts to get really bumped out. Skiing on any ungroomed terrain, especially without bumps formed was, for me, a really good way to get used to more uneven terrain, get used to the feeling of going over and around snow. Chop especially can be instructive I find when you are first learning to tackle anything more than groomed. 

 

So, I decided I was ready to take a bumps lesson about 10 days ago at Lake Louise. The first thing my instructor did was have me work on turns on blue and black groomers, and then we went into some short small bump runs and some short larger bump runs. One thing that he said that stuck with me was that the key to getting down bumps is becoming a good reader of terrain. That means, not focusing on where your skis are at the moment, but looking down the hill and picking out where I want to go (especially at the beginning, when you are still progressing slowly down the bump run). I think looking ahead is hard to do, but, I've noticed it gets easier with practice. And if you have skied ungroomed terrain before, this feeling will be familiar. The other thing he mentioned, that was really useful for me, was that there was not 'one way' to ski bumps. There are multiple ways you can ski bumps - you can sometimes traverse and go over them (the exercise @marznc mentioned about absorbing and going over was one we worked on quite a bit, and very useful), sometimes you can plant your pole on top of them and go around them, sometimes you can turn on top of them and slide down the backside to shed speed etc... Getting down the bump run, he mentioned, should also be about figuring out which way to ski bumps at a particular time, on particular terrain. I shouldn't be looking to ski all bumps in the same way necessarily. That comment was really helpful to me because it made me think about the variety of techniques that are available to me to get down the run. And then the goal was to pick whatever seemed best in the moment. I think, after the fundamental techniques (great ones mentioned above), it seems to be about practice, and, for me, it has been about learning to read the terrain and using a technique that will work best for me. I went out on Sunday and spent most of the afternoon doing bump runs. Lots of soft small bumps and some larger big ones. I fell a lot, but really felt that I was starting to understand more about how to use a variety of turns/techniques to get down a bump run. Out west, soft bumps are fairly easy to come by. Once you've taken a lesson ask a snowhost/snowfriend if they can recommend any shorter runs with small bumps, or soft bumps. I also have found snowhosts/snowfriends to be a wealth of knowledge about how to progress through different terrain. I am sure they will be able to give great suggestions about where to practice those new skills from lessons. I have definitely learned that skiing bumps is not going to happen overnight, but will take some lessons and lots of practice. 

post #22 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

Last lesson was 2 years ago.

We are going to Telluride.

I plan on taking at least three days of group lessons if not more because the deal they have is hard to beat. I made another post on here about it.

Double check their website. They block out most of March for the inexpensive adult group lessons (the 9 am Max 4 ones) due to Spring Breakers. They had them last year, but this year they are unavailable.

post #23 of 34
Thread Starter 
I have, the morning max 4 is blacked out but I don't see anything mentioned with this particular deal.
post #24 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Agree with MarzNC.  I've seen OP ski.  They're already more than "slightly proficient" at most terrain we have around here.  Having access to good bump terrain and good instructors to work with will help them get to higher levels.. then practicing what they learn will get them to higher levels with a little work beyond..

Hah, yes, Crgildart has seen me ski. I've hopefully improved since then!
post #25 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post


Hah, yes, Crgildart has seen me ski. I've hopefully improved since then!

Yes, we remember you dropping a kid off at the resort day care 2-3 years ago.  That kid probably rips now too!

post #26 of 34

100% agree with the advice to (surprise!) get a bump-focused intermediate lesson.

 

With an instructor whose teaching is oriented toward an intermediate looking to advance in bumps, you'll get the kind of tactical advice that will help you understand the bumps (it's largely a mental game), and translate your flat surface movements to a bump scenario. At their core, the movements are pretty similar to skiing effectively on flat surfaces. I won't try to give technical advice...but I'll mention that it helps me to have a mindset that the bumps help you turn and are there for your enjoyment and creativity.

 

Side story:

My first "instruction" on bump technique came from a competitive mogul skier...big mistake! She was so beyond my skill level, and I had nowhere near the technical foundation to make sense of what she was telling me to do. So basically I took away the ability to pivot back and forth really fast and smash through bumps, as it looked to me at the the time like that's how bumps were skied. I could make it down, but wasn't really in control, and I didn't particularly enjoy it. Classic case of the bumps exposing technique problems I wasn't aware of: it wasn't until my flat surface edge control and carving skills took off that I had a bumps breakthrough - in hindsight this makes perfect sense.


Edited by LiveJazz - 3/17/16 at 7:49am
post #27 of 34
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Yes, we remember you dropping a kid off at the resort day care 2-3 years ago.  That kid probably rips now too!

Crgildart, hah, I forgot I had little C with me that day. I wouldn't say she's a ripper she gets half,the days I do, and has yet to ski in NC. And actually I think the last time I skied in NC was with you and your boy. I really wanted to hit up Sugar this year (and last) to check out the new 6pack and Gunthers, but when I'm home, we have a lot going on. This years bizarre weather didn't help.

I've never actually skied with my kid, but that's my big goal this year. She did really good at steamboat last year, and she's tough. I got a call from ski school to come down to check on her due to a fall. Went all the way back down, she was in the kids center playing, came out to see me with two fat lips and scratches on her face. I asked if she wanted to leave and she said no, and she went back on the snow....that delayed her, but she finally got on the real,chairlift our last day and was doing really good, and was LOVING IT. I'm hoping she picks up where she left off.

Our condo at Tride is literally at the bottom of the bunny hill, so I'm hoping we can get some runs in.

I'm really scared to get her on a real slope anywhere in NC. Just too dangerous. Maybe easy street at sugar, but we haven't had a chance.

Sorry to derail my own thread?
post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

Yes, we remember you dropping a kid off at the resort day care 2-3 years ago.  That kid probably rips now too!

Crgildart, hah, I forgot I had little C with me that day. I wouldn't say she's a ripper she gets half,the days I do, and has yet to ski in NC. And actually I think the last time I skied in NC was with you and your boy. I really wanted to hit up Sugar this year (and last) to check out the new 6pack and Gunthers, but when I'm home, we have a lot going on. This years bizarre weather didn't help.

I've never actually skied with my kid, but that's my big goal this year. She did really good at steamboat last year, and she's tough. I got a call from ski school to come down to check on her due to a fall. Went all the way back down, she was in the kids center playing, came out to see me with two fat lips and scratches on her face. I asked if she wanted to leave and she said no, and she went back on the snow....that delayed her, but she finally got on the real,chairlift our last day and was doing really good, and was LOVING IT. I'm hoping she picks up where she left off.

Our condo at Tride is literally at the bottom of the bunny hill, so I'm hoping we can get some runs in.

I'm really scared to get her on a real slope anywhere in NC. Just too dangerous. Maybe easy street at sugar, but we haven't had a chance.

Sorry to derail my own thread?


It's your thread. :)  You'll be surprised how much more she is capable of having grown up another year.  The difference between ages 4, 5, 6, and 7 is amazing.

 

That brings up another reason to get in the lessons for bumps now when the kid is still doing full-day ski school.  Once she is ready to ski with you on blues after perhaps a half-day at ski school, then you'll want to spend time skiing with her.  That adds another complication for a parent who wants to improve but doesn't get many ski days at a big mountain.  One reason I started thinking about taking lessons was that by the time my daughter was 11, she was Level 7/8 at Alta during spring break trips.  I knew that if I didn't step it up, then there was no way I could keep up skiing with her.  Of course, the fact that I and my non-skiing husband were both retired made it easier to get in an extra trip out west without her.

post #29 of 34
Thread Starter 
Hah,
Nothing would make me more happy than for my kid be able to blow me away on the ski hill. I pretty sure that will happen, if she continues to enjoy it.

I'm not,pressuring her at all, and I think I'll let her do another adventure type program that Tride has in the middle of our week just to change things up for her. She also really excited about the kids night out program they have, which we are also excited about having some date nights out. I'm really lucky my wonderful daughter is adventurous and likes doing things like that.

I'm an older father, but it's a joy having a 5yo help keep me young. Hell, I want to learn to jump off shit anyway, and she's motivation for me to keep getting better.
post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by WC68 View Post

Hah,
Nothing would make me more happy than for my kid be able to blow me away on the ski hill. I pretty sure that will happen, if she continues to enjoy it.

I'm not,pressuring her at all, and I think I'll let her do another adventure type program that Tride has in the middle of our week just to change things up for her. She also really excited about the kids night out program they have, which we are also excited about having some date nights out. I'm really lucky my wonderful daughter is adventurous and likes doing things like that.

I'm an older father, but it's a joy having a 5yo help keep me young. Hell, I want to learn to jump off shit anyway, and she's motivation for me to keep getting better.


Older?  I was 50 when I started my daughter on skis when she was age 4.  Also the adventurous type and she loved ski school being an only child.  I ski far better now than 10 years ago.  Still plan to improve in the next 5-10 years.  I had older parents who were active and alert well into their 90s.  So I'm not planning on slowing down any time soon.

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