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Efficiency in Moguls - Page 2

post #31 of 57
Rusty, that's an interesting observation about the hand always above the elbow. I'll have to pay special attention to this this winter.
post #32 of 57
Great bump skiers never allow their hand to get lower than their elbow. Another way to think about it is that their arm remains flexed and their elbow never falls behind their spine.
I agree with this, and think the last instruction is better than its variation--to keep the elbows ahead of the torso, which just isn't natural. Also, hands held very much higher than the elbow also aren't natural. Un-natural instructions are seldom kept.

*Maybe this is a good time to remind people about neurolinguistic programming--an instruction not to do something is weaker than an instruction to do something.
post #33 of 57
Elbows in front of the spine is pretty standard stuff, but hands always above the elbows is, like I said, something I'll have to check out. Good point about the "neurolinguistic programming". Hope I don't have to use that word very often. But I'm guilty of this sometimes myself.
post #34 of 57
Just say NLP, Ric, like the rest of the shrinks.
post #35 of 57
Hands above the elbow may well be merely a goal or a drill.

I videod a skier who's bump skiing I really like. I shot twenty turns from below in a spot right in their line.

What made me think about the video is when nolo mentioned keeping both baskets moving.

This skier kept both poles moving and it was done largely via the wrists.

In the video I particularly noticed how the skiers hands never dropped on a horizontal plane below the elbow.

I can distinctly remember the first time I tried to emulate this skier. It felt like I was carrying a log across both my forearms from keeping my arms high. When the run was finished my arms were exhausted.
post #36 of 57
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
I can distinctly remember the first time I tried to emulate this skier. It felt like I was carrying a log across both my forearms from keeping my arms high. When the run was finished my arms were exhausted.
My instructor used to harrass me to death re this stuff.....

I got to spend lots of runs skiing around with a pair of poles balanced across my wrists.....

This season I have had 2 people comment on my arms - 1 told me I should not alter my position it was very nice... the other says he likes my pole plants & wants to know who taught me .....

It used to be hard work to keep them up - now it is easier.....

I still struggle with the continuous motion.... but I am told when I remember to keep poles moving I ski much better than when I plant on a stall/rushed plant/stall/rushed plant agenda

Seems that like most of the population I use the pole swing/plant timing to sequence my skiing.... smooth rhythmic poles = smoother more rhythmical skiing
post #37 of 57
All this talk about hand position is interesting. My son's high school ski team was small and didn't have much money. They hired your typical unemployed genius-bordering-on-insanity ski instructor to coach the team and I assisted.

The local mountain, Mt. Ashland, is steep with high density snow & ice. If you watched a race almost all the wrecks were caused by skiers getting their weight on the uphill ski and skidding out. The ski instructor, who had not coached racing before, quickly realized that and started working on the form of the kids. There was a direct connection between the kids dropping their outside hand back which corresponded to dropping their outside shoulder which corresponded to their hip being back which resulted in their weight on the uphill ski.

Since the kids lacked the basics in sking techniques most of the time we spent with them was free skiing on steeps and moguls. The instructor went over and over the connection between hand, shoulder, hip position and weight on skis to the point that all we had to do was mention to a kid that he was dragging his hands and he immediately corrected his posture and got his weight off the uphill ski.
post #38 of 57

Tips for Seldon to "further improve"


Have any of the tips already presented been helpful? When you ask such a good question, it's easy for us talkers to get off track.

It sounds like you already have advanced to expert skiing skills. Improving from that level invites gettting technical. You've already got a great list of non-technical things for skiing moguls more efficiently. My suggestions for "further improvement" would aim to give you additional ways to work on the items you already have:

1) Ski in the bumps versus ski the bumps
2) Exercises- Strengthen the core and balance
3) Focus more on legs working side to side versus forward or back
4) Follow the leader

1) Ski in the bumps versus ski the bumps
One set of definitions goes like this: skiing in the bumps is making turns according to what the bumps present to you vs ski the bumps is where you make your turns regardless of where the bumps are (I personally use the opposite definitions, but the contrast between the two is what is important). When you ski in the bumps, you adapt your turns first, then work to smooth the body. When you ski the bumps, you smooth your turns first, then work to adapt your body. With a mental focus of making smooth round turns first, then adapting to the snow shape underneath it can become easier to do "the list" (use the edges, carve, stable upper body, drive forward) without consciously thinking about all of them at the same time. Using this concept, you will tend to drive forward more through "an even feel from the feet" than from "conscious push to stay on the snow". What we're working on here is changing HOW you do things versus changing WHAT you do.

2) Exercises- Strengthen the core and balance
It's funny. If you ski more efficiently, you'd think there'd be less of a need for strength. But having stronger core muscles and better balance help you stay centered in ways that are hard to believe (ok - that was my way of avoiding the "technical" stuff). The idea here is to move the "work" to the middle so the arms and legs do less to keep you upright. Work on your abs and glutes to help improve core strength (e.g. crunches) and improve your balance skills with a bosu ball or balance board. The added strength and balance make keeping a quiet upper body a lot easier.

3) Focus more on legs working side to side versus forward or back
This is more of an expand your horizons tip versus a right or wrong tip. When you are "crashing" the zipper line, your lower body is working more in the fall line than across it. When you think about pushing your feet out to the side, away from your upper body, while still keeping the path of the upper body in the zipper line, you're going to get higher edge angles and more carve to your turns. You're also going to find softer snow and get more free speed control.

4) Follow the leader
When someone else sets the speed, line and style through the bumps and you are following right on their ass, the first thing is to be a bit careful you don't crash into them. But after that, following someone's core can help even if they are not a better skier. The important point here is to turn where they turn and be so close that you do it by following their body instead of their ski tracks. Following any skier turn for turn, you will at least develop better adapatability and skiing without thinking. Following a worse skier, you should notice what you have to do to stay back (because if you follow exactly in their tracks, being more efficient, you will run them over). Following a better skier, you will get immediate feedback on your differences from the changes in separation distance (a 6 inch change is a lot bigger deal when you are 3 feet back than when you are 30 feet back).

There's nothing wrong with crashing the bumps (your old style). It can be great fun and wonderful stress relief. But if that is your only style, there's always a mogul run out there that is steeper, longer and nastier than what your body can handle all day. Having the ability to use a more efficient style can extend your skiing day and gives you more weapons against variable snow conditions. You've discovered that there are some instructors who can open new windows for you on the slopes. At EpicSki, we can help you explore what's on the other side of the glass off the slopes. However, at your level, it's hard to make a lot of progress without hands on help.

Good luck in your quest!
post #39 of 57
Some great things mentioned: I heard upper lowerbody seperation, pole action, flexing & extending, pressure control, turn shape, relaxing, fluidity, strong core. I sure I missed a few. Everyone of these is important and not only in bumps. So why do the bumps create so many problems for a lot of skiers?

I think a few items come into play:

1. It is different, no matter how good you are it does not feel as smooth as groomers! People sometimes are to hard on themselfs with the feedback they are getting from the legs and body. I think generally you are never as bad as you feel.

2. People try to ski a line. I truly believe this is a major cause of problems for people bump skiing. ( I know it is taught a lot, and many here may also argue with me) BUT if you just make turns you do not worry about line because most bumps fields do not have a nice LINE they are skied by to great a range of skiers, snowboarders, teles, wedge turners, go straighters etc... I think if you just make turns you will have better luck skiing the bumps then trying to ski a line. That said you then need to be able to have many of the above elements in your skiing to just make turns in the bumps. Also as someone pointed out you need to be able to make turns in the valley, top, side, shoulder, down a spin etc.. So you need to practice skiing only these spots so you can learn how to encounter and deal with the differnent elements they create and the different blend of skills you need to apply.

3. You tentative therefore your tight. Relax and everything is able to move and deal with the increased pressure a bump provides.

4. Flip flop your idea of turns. Many skiers will stand tall to start a turn and apply pressure then flex to release pressure at the end of a turn. (see the crossover/crossunder thread for more on that) In the bumps if you can think of releasing pressure to start the turn as you move over a bump and apply pressure as you move thru the end of the turn you will have more success.

5. Rotary skills are week. I know many are all about the carve but edge pressure skills have weekend many peoples ability to turn there legs. We still can scarve in the bumps, I am not looking for twist and slip that creates the big wall bumps, but you need to be able to turn the legs under a stable upperbody. (try sideslip to pivotslips, flatski drills, hopturns, small wedge wedlin ect...)

6. Although we can scarve in the bumps we still need to back off the edges, Because a bump is steep it creates more edge angle just by skiing into than a flat slope does, we need to accomidate for this and allow the ski to keep moving forward and not increase the edge angle more, allow the legs to move up and down flex and extend as you move from bump to bump.

7. Focus ahead; As with many things when we become uncomfortable we focus to closely on what is RIGHT in front of us. (driving at night in the snow who has not seen more of the hood then the road?, mountain biking down a hill we end of watching our tire turn instead of the rock we are going to hit) So keep you focus moving down the hill.

8. Practice all shapes, size and location of turns in the bumps, and follow some of the other outstanding advice posted above. Take a lesson, follow a better skier, HAVE FUN! todo
post #40 of 57
Good post, getting better in bumps is on my Todo list! I liked your use of the word "weekend" in part #5! Also "scarve", Did you coin that term?
post #41 of 57
Definately some good stuff in this thread.

I can't wait to get better at bumps this year now that my knee is 100%.

I remember Sunday River having a ton of runs bumped up on Thanksgiving a few years ago.

I hope this year will be the same.
post #42 of 57
I have one thing to add: Most bump turns are longer than they look. Because of the 3 dimensional aspect.
post #43 of 57


I am sure scarve has been around as long as smedium and number of other usefull terms, but if no one else claims it I will! I am glad bumps will make your "todo" list.
post #44 of 57
Two observations about bump skiing:

1. My girl skis bumps like no one I've ever seen. It's kind of a series of linked pivot slips, combined with a double pole plant each time. It almost looks like she's rowing down the hill. Her style is very low energy and very quick. This style might be influenced by her 165cm Pocket Rockets.

2. I used to ski bumps using by basically crashing into each bump and using my skis to absorb the hit each time. I keep my feet under me but am slightly forward, reaching far ahead down the hill each pole plant. I ski Outhouse at Mary Jane top to bottom with this style, but I'm usually beat at the end.

Now I ski bumps by carving the entire turn, even in tight, steep ones. I am more towards center, and keep my upper body much quieter. This works a lot better.
post #45 of 57
Lots of good tips here for bump skiing. Although bumps are not my forte, I just wanted to share my favorite ski tips that apply to bumps and also skiing any unpredictable terrain. I think bumps are great a getting people ready to ski anything on the mountain smoothly. I know they help me go from surviving difficult terrain to conquering it.

Here's my KISS(Keep it Simple Stupid) tips to my friends when the terrain gets rough like in the bumps. They are simple thoughts that have a longreaching effect.

1. Hands forward and planting for every turn.
-This is a must. I tell friends that turning without a pole plant is the equivalent of trying to throw a baseball without stepping forward with your opposite foot. Sports take a weight transfter and this is ours. Also, keeping those hands forward keeps your weight forward.
2.Tips down
- Great tip for the bumps. it gets your weight forward, your tips carving down the backside of the bump, and allows your tips to absorb the next bump instead of your legs doing all the work.
3.Shin against boot by driving knees forward
-This is a slightly advanced one but it boosted me that last level. Besides great turn initiation and edge grip, it forces the ski to absorb much of the uneven terrain like small bumps or crud. I finally felt the ski and boot flex do a job that I didn't even know was their job- as a shock absorber.
4. Relax the legs-
Easier said than done, but stiff legs don't absorb anything. If you can do this, you can ski the worst crud or bumps. It lets you ski fast through it all.

I hope this helps. They helped me and my friends.
post #46 of 57
L7--I love your waterfall description for sliding down the knoll of the bump.

Snowdancer--the Vail videos, esp. the third, are just excellent. Great demo of how flexion and extension enhance turn mechanics.
post #47 of 57
Those are great points.

Ok.. here's my two cents. I've taken a few mogul camps so I've gotten a list of things that are key (disclaimer: I am still working on those things and can't do all of them right yet.. muscle memory takes time to build up).

All the tips above (smileguy1) are right on. I would add:

- Keep your vision up. Look 3 bumps ahead. This will not only get you to think about strategy and what you'll need to adjust for, but will also keep you in a tall stance. If you look at the next bump, you'll hunch over and won't be able to absorb.

- The 'order' of what goes on when skiing bumps (the way I like to think about it anyway) is:

1 - absorb (relax, let the knees come up.. but also actively pull the feet up - think of pulling your feet to your butt.. which will also bring your knees up)

2 - when you crest the bump.. pull your feet back (it's called 'containment'). usually at this point you aren't balanced over your foot but you are a little on the backseat (especially if you are absorbing a lot), so pull your feet back (or hips forward) to get balanced again. this is where they use the example of a reverse bycicle motion.

3 - extend. a lot of people don't focus on extension.. and then they don't have 'room' to absorb on the next bump

Other stuff that needs to be going on (other than the vision up, the shin pressure, and the pole planting).. start your turn early, keep the hips square down the hill, and keep your weight on your downhill ski (makes it easier to be on the right body position to absorb).

All of this is easier said than done. I personally know what it looks like, how it works, and how it feels like.. but am not consistent and not great at it yet.. but slowly getting there.

post #48 of 57
Lots of good stuff already in this thread. One thing I can emphasize on getting smooth speed control is to get yer skis out of the fall line. I recall watching a bunch of skierss on Agony (under lift bump run at Sunday River) last spring doing perfectly nice pivot turns in perfect balance and control and eventually going a ballistic. Why? there skis never moved more than 6" left or right of their center of gravity. Make your skis take a longer path down the hill and you get ... speed control.

This can work with the "fluid" technique mentioned above. Let you skis swing out to the side as you turn, maybe ride up on the side of the bump next to the one you are sking over. You can stay loose and fluild and get a lot of speed control without any breaking wait-so-ever.

You know what helps learn this? Half-pipe. Not hop turns up over the rim. Regular old ski turns carved on the wall of the pipe. Then try to find a really narrow trail that's troughed out, a trail that's like a mini pipe, maybe 15' wide, blue pitch, with both sides raised up a few feet. Ski down a trail like that keeping your CG moving steady but letting your skis swing up the side wall, back across the flat and then up the other slide wall.

Getting back to fluid, say you have a pipe shaped like a rain gutter set and an angle. You roll a marble straight down it. Now roll another marble down it but when you let it go you give it a good sideways push. You get the marble snaking back and worth swinging up the sides as it goes down. That's what you want to do with your skis.

post #49 of 57
post #50 of 57
Originally Posted by nolo
Get a Slinky and watch it go down the stairs.
Most of the people I know that like watching Slinkies go down stair usually are having a craving for Ding Dongs and Nacho Cheese Doritos at the same time.
post #51 of 57
One thing that I have not seen addressed here is binding placement. Most skis have their bindings mounted too far to the rear for good mogul skiing.

Most manufactures recommend shops mount the bindings a bit to the rear so that their skis will be forgiving and hold some edge when the tails are pushed out. This reduces the amount of returns for bad skis and poor mounting but dosen't help a mogul skier. This has the effect in moguls of forcing you to push the tails out in order to stay over the top of the skis and in balance. Moving the bindings forward will allow you to press the tips down and engage the edges much higher up in the mogul turn.

I cannot over emphasis the difference that this can make on balance and speed control. The subtle pressure needed to engage the skis early also allows you to slow down the top third of the turn considerably. That in turn translates to round turns and good speed control.

My bindings are mounted 6cm ahead of where a normal alpine shop would mount them.
post #52 of 57
6 cm is a lot Pierre, but I do think you are right in saying that we should think about binding placement on skis. I was exsposed to a binding placement study done by Nordica at snowbird in 2002 by one of the engineers in the study. They used a Cambell balancer to dertermine an individuals natural balance point in ski boots realtive to center point on the bottom of boots and then transfered this difference in mounting to the skis, and it was found that everyone ended up with their bindings mounted forward of the factory position, with the mean being 3.2 cm's. The results were ignored to my knowledge. Later, RicB.
post #53 of 57
RicB I should have qualified things a bit. Since I ski telemark, I have no ability to apply forward tongue pressure. I need a more forward balance position in order to engage the tips without displacing the tails in moguls. I ski moguls full alpine style in bumps on telemark. I almost never use a telemark turn even in the iciest biggest bumps.

I believe this would apply equally to balance on skis in alpine gear. Much of any tongue pressure in moguls tends to upset balance and excessively edge skis. I want to feel like I am floating effortlessly through bumps. Bumps is what I ski to relax and loosen up.

Moving the bindings way forward helps greatly on alpine gear in bumps but restricts you're ability to apply much tongue pressure for carving on the flats. The tails tend to wash out. This is where a moveable position binding is great.
post #54 of 57
As I understood the study, the issue was one of our natural balance position under our feet in our boots and how this differs from the marks put under the boot sole by manufacturers. What the study seems to show was that to a person the skiers tested all felt more versatility and control and better balance with a mounting more forward than factory recomedation.

Better balance equates to better stance and this would certainly transfer to more ease i skiing in dynamic sitautions I would think.

Not sure what your point is about tele. Seems we all need to have a neutral stance, whether on tele gear or alpine gear. What I find in myself and my students is that leveraging the toungue is not the issue, it is one of just keeping in touch with the boot toungue, staying centerd while moving dynamicaly.

Do you find that most tele gear is mounted more forward than alpine? I'm only familiar with old school tele gear, and haven't kept up. Later, RicB.
post #55 of 57
Originally Posted by RicB
As I understood the study, the issue was one of our natural balance position under our feet in our boots and how this differs from the marks put under the boot sole by manufacturers. What the study seems to show was that to a person the skiers tested all felt more versatility and control and better balance with a mounting more forward than factory recomedation.

Not sure what your point is about tele. Seems we all need to have a neutral stance, whether on tele gear or alpine gear. What I find in myself and my students is that leveraging the toungue is not the issue, it is one of just keeping in touch with the boot toungue, staying centerd while moving dynamicaly.

Do you find that most tele gear is mounted more forward than alpine? I'm only familiar with old school tele gear, and haven't kept up. Later, RicB.
RicB the major difference is that in telemark you can't contact the boot tongues by getting in the front seat. That results in heal lift. The only way to contact the boot tongues is to very actively dorsiflex the ankles without moving the CM a bit forward. In other words, the weight does not move forward under the ball of the foot to start the turn it stays under the whole foot. That requires a few more CM of forward mount than alpine in my opinion.

In my opinion most telemark skiers mount their bindings to far to the rear. That was my case until very recently. I am now mounting all of my alpine gear more forward than most alpine skiers would because the transition from telemark to alpine is tough otherwise. In the normal forward position for alpine, I find I cannot find the front of the boots/ski tips for the first few runs because I don't actively move from the neutral postition into the front seat.

Mounting bindings too far to the rear has the effect of requiring you to very actively seek the front seat or up unweight to initiate a turn. Neither of those are acceptable in alpine turns on telemark equipment or in bump skiing.

For those with you're bindings mounted too far to the rear you're options in bumps is to very actively pull you're feet back underneath you to initiate a turn. There is no other way to agressively seek the front seat as there is very little under the tips of the skis. Mounting the bindings forward takes all that agressive pulling the feet back under you out of the balance equation and brings back the floating feeling. The key here in bumps is the less you have to do the better is you're balance.
post #56 of 57
Great points in this thread. Manus is right on with many of the things I have learned over the years. In my teaching years I used the discription that good bump skiing is the art of constant speed management by maintaing soft edges through out all phases of the turn, while linking turns. Like spreading soft butter on warm toast. Balance is the key for most as there are so many changes in your orientation to the slope in a very short period of time while skiing the bumps. I usually start with lowering your effective center of balance by skiing with your upper legs more together, effectivly lowering your center of mass from your belly button to some where a little lower. Upper body must stay quiet, like you are in a tunnel, sholders facing down the fall line, hands up slightly adn in front. Lower body must blend extention and absorbtion of the terain in an active manner. All while pivioting and changing the direction of your ski's. The change of direction or pivot needs to occur on the high points in the trought, not the high points of the bumps. And then allow your skis flow like the water depicted here by others.
post #57 of 57
This has been one of the most informative threads I have read in a long long time.
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