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Skiing Mouguls, HELP!

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I was never a great moguls skier but I was doing ok during the start of last year. I tore my MCL and then I can't even look at moguls without falling face first.
Can anyone offer any tips as to what I should be doing to ski moguls better.
post #2 of 32

Bump expert

I suggest you PM Rusty Guy (yeah, that's his board name and his real name) as he specializes in teaching bump technique for all level skiers and all types of equipment.

He's a good guy and real repsonsive. You must PM him as he probably will not post.


post #3 of 32

Never wear boxers in moguls....

Hi ski=free, what is a MCL?

Since I dont really know what has happen to you I cannot give you apropriate advise.

However, you seem to be in good spirits and that what counts. Bump skiing is all about attitude. You cannot go in there without determination, devotion, respect and proper technique. Im old now, 43, but I used to be a great bump skier. I never competed in bumps but I could make people green with envy ripping upp my favorite terrain, powder on bumps, in full controll. Now I have to be more restrictive about my skiing since I have a bad back and my overall physical condition is not what it used to be. I teach skiing part time at a small resort and ski more than 100 days a year all over Europe.

The most important thing to keep in mind while skiing bumps is to controll your speed. If you miss a bump it could meen a bad crash and possible injury. The way I controll speed is by choosing the right path, turn where there is snow and absorb the bumps with my knees. The usual misstake is to turn and slide down the downhill side of a bump. You should aim at the part of the uhill side of the bump with lots of snow. This way you would get spectacular snow explosions at moderate speeds.
The second most important thing is to have good rhythm. There are two rhythms out there: time based skiing rhythm and terrain based skiing rhythm. If you are good you can do both at the same time. I call it second line skiing (musical term from new orleans dixieland drumming). Guys in the FIS mogul WC do lots of time based turns and very quickly. The more turns you make the better they fit into the terrain. For guys like me that is not an option so I need to cool it down a little and read the terrain properly. Look ahead. Try to stay in the fall line but able to go across if nesessary.

My advise is to go to a resort known for good moguls and book a ski-instructor for a day with focus on moguls. The sad part however is that if you are not able to ski with the right techinque on groomers going into the bumps is not going to make you any better. Maybe you should look at your regular skiing and start from there. A good instructor will sort this out for you in no time.
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I should have given more info. I guess I just have a hard time contolling my speed especially on hard packed bumps. Probably a common complaint. Is the proper technique to bend knees more?
I'm 200 lbs and ski volkl 724 pro's I've been skiing 10-25 days a year for 10 years. this year 40+ quitting one of my jobs to ski 4 days per week if I can. Are my skis too stiff to ski bumps well? I love the stiffness on the groomers?
post #5 of 32
Thread Starter 
Sorry MCL means medial colateral ligament. Very painful but was back skiing in 5 weeks with a $2,200.00 brace(waste of money)
post #6 of 32
speed control comes from getting your turn started BEFORE your skis enter the fall line.

your skis can work in the moguls under the right feet. under some folks' feet they might serve as rocket launchers, particularly if you got into a "back seat" position.

beyond this and what's been said above, you need a more 1-on-1 setting preferably on snow, preferably with a good instructor or coach.

nobody in here can diagnose what's causing you problems without seeing you ski.
post #7 of 32
Originally Posted by gonzostrike
beyond this and what's been said above, you need a more 1-on-1 setting preferably on snow, preferably with a good instructor or coach.

nobody in here can diagnose what's causing you problems without seeing you ski.
So true.

I worked with Finndog last year and helped him with his bump skiing..hand and upper body position was key to helping him skiing the zipperline.
post #8 of 32
Good advice in the posts above. My bump lessons start on the groomers to tune-up technique. When we go into the bumps, we work on tactics. Skiing the zipper line with a bad MCL is not a good idea, but that is only one tactic of many.
Race lessons also work on technique out of the course and tactics in the course.
A good instructor should be able to help you with this. Speed control might be an issue for you on steep terrain without bumbs, so that is where technique comes in. Once the technique is there, then the tactics for speed control in the bumps will work for you. Don't confuse the two T-words. One must be in place for the other to work and in the order mentioned above.
There are many ways to ski bumps, and the good ones are not punishing to the body and are equally as fun (more fun at the end of the day).
I hope this encourages you.
post #9 of 32
Originally Posted by ski=free
I'm 200 lbs and ski volkl 724 pro's I've been skiing 10-25 days a year for 10 years. this year 40+ quitting one of my jobs to ski 4 days per week if I can. Are my skis too stiff to ski bumps well? I love the stiffness on the groomers?

The 724 pro is not an ideal bump ski and it is a bit of a beast. A beast I personally love but not in firm bumps. In crud, powder,chowder,groomed and soft bumps I love that ski. I'm 6'0 190lbs and skied it the last few seasons in a 188cm which is long. If your going to make a commitment this year and ski more days then you might want to add to your quiver and ski something like the Allstar as an everyday groomer, bump ski and use the 724's when its snowing
post #10 of 32
Hi ski=free! Just be glad it was MCL, not ACL. The first post in this thread has some excellent mogul advice: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...=lesson+mike_m

That being said, there is a specific problem with moguls that is not technique related. It's called mogul addiction. Once you start to ski them half decently, you want to ski them all the time. Sometimes, your choice of when to ski them is simply inappropriate, such as the end of the day when you're feeling tired.

As Ron White said, always "rehearse" you mogul technique on the groomers. You can even practice a series of pivot slips leading down to the mogul trail. Here is a common mistake that can lead to injury, which I unfortunately got to experience through "empirical research." :

Just like regular skiing, you want to turn your skis up the hill. Unfortunately, if you are tired, that sometimes translates into leaning into the hill. This can either put you in the backseat, which might be the catalyst for an ACL injury, or cause a twisting action which can damage the MCL.

Also remember that mogul skiing demands a concise blend of visual and physical skills that are facilitated by proper breathing technique. Last season, Mike had us "cross-train" for moguls by doing some easy tree skiing. We were taught to look at the opening outside the trees, not the trees themselves. The same applies to mogul skiing. Look where you want to make your next turn. I got hurt by focusing on a classmate that had stopped short in the middle of a crowded mogul field. I was trying not to hit her, but my focus lead me right into her line. Since I was tired, I freaked out, leaned into the hill, wiped out, and slid in her direction.

I had also neglected to use breathing. I don't want to get into a "where to breath" debate. Just choose a method and use it.

I hope you found this helpful. As for me, all I can say is that there sure is clarity in hindsight!
post #11 of 32
A couple of other thoughts on technique. Keep your hands forward (out where you can see them). This will help keep you centered over your skis. After absorbing the bump with your knees, quickly extend your legs to keep your skis in contact with the snow. As you extend, push your toes downward--you should feel your hips coming forward as you do this. You can help this motion by explicitly pushing your hips forward (and if you get thrown in the back seat an agressive hip thrust can often get you back over your skis). The idea is to keep your center over your skis (which is why your hips need to come forward) and to keep your skis in contact with the snow. The latter is critical both for directional and speed control.

IMO most people who have trouble in the bumps are either not staying over their skis or aren't able to keep their skis in contact with the snow (or both). Inability to control speed is a likely manifestation of these problems.

In terms of working on technique (outside of getting a lesson), I'd suggest finding a bumped up slope where you aren't intimidated by the pitch (and therefore don't have to worry about speed control). Probably this will be a low intermediate slope (i.e. under the Green chair at Whistler). IMO if you can master the absorbsion-extension techniques, the speed control will come naturally. This was the method I used with success to develop my bump skiing--but it does assume your technique on groomers is pretty solid.

BTW, there is a ski movie called Wild Skis that was made in the late 70's that featured some great slow motion shots of Joey Cordeau (a legendary Sun Valley bumper). If you can find it, it is very helpful. That is what finally clued me in to the importance of keeping your hips forward as you extend. Also, watch good bumpers on the hill. Notice how they are applying the techniques I mentioned above. Conversely, pay attention to body positions of skiers who are losing it in the bumps. Watch what happens when they get in the back seat or lose contact with the snow and start skipping across bumps.

All of that said, even with proper technique, bump skiing is still hard on your knees. So be careful out there .

Hope these tips will help; I know they worked for me.

post #12 of 32
Its good that so many others of you also have brought up the importance of practising mogul skiing outside moguls. Skiing in moguls does not require any special technique. But there are some tricks that make it easyer, like the pre turn technique.

Just before you make your turn make a slight pre-turn uphill to get your body unweighted a bit and help your skiis to turn easier at slow speed. Its not an up-down moovement, merely just a twist of your skis. When performed correctly its part of the movementpattern for the turn in whole.

Lets say you come out of the fall line.... head towards the heap of snow resting at the uphill side of the mogul. Try to hit this pile of soft snow as straight on as possible and when you crash into it, snapp your skiis uphill first and feel the bump unerneath your skiis push you up. Flex with your knees and upper body as much as required in order to keep your head as horisontally aligned as you can and keep your body faced down the fall line. As you fly over the mogul sideways across the fall line with your skiis unweighted, sometimes in the air, stear (twist) them down into the fall line and prepare for the next bump that you have alredy scanned ahead two bumps back. Remember that you controll your speed by hitting piles of snow that cause friction, the flexiation of your knees and trawelling sideays out of the fall line. The bumps should be skiied sideways, almost slightly uphill. If you are making a right turn you should hit the lefthand hillside part of the bump insted of crossing the valley and hitting the righthand side of the bump. This is the way tracks are usually taking you since most people ski that way. If you are good, FIS WC level, you can do it from top to bottom but I tell you those guys are not for real. Skied with them and thay are something else.

Weight forward as pointed out by others is also important. Hips forward is a great awareness since the hipps are one of the most important factors of our skiing in any terrain.

As for equipment I use my 161cm Head RD SL skiis and my long poles. Works great for me in the bumps. Used to use 190cm skiis back when I was the king of the hill but there is no real roole to what kind of equipment to use. IMO you should be able to ski lots of different terrain with whatever you stand on.
post #13 of 32
Originally Posted by Lisamarie
Hi ski=free! Just be glad it was MCL, not ACL. The first post in this thread has some excellent mogul advice: http://forums.epicski.com/showthread...=lesson+mike_m
every time i read that i get the theme song to Top Gun stuck in my head.:

Lisa I was doing a search and wasn't having any luck. Do you still have the link to that little vignette you wrote? you know the little fiction piece:

Gary's comment was nice, however, my bump skiing looks like an elderly man at a nursing home picking his way down a flight of stairs.
post #14 of 32
Easier to just pull the feet back (or really just the inside foot) than to try to get the hips forward. It's a smoother movement too.
post #15 of 32
a great piece of coaching I got last season was thinking about fore/aft movement. on a non-bump medium steep pitch our coach used a barrel jump exercise - literally hopping from tails of skis onto tips during short radius turns (if you ever bmxed or rode motorcycle trials, you'd understand the motion). then without the skis leaving the ground on steeper terrain (non-bumps) we worked on the fore/aft movement in short radius turns - making sure we never got caught caught on the backseat. then took this feeling into the bumps, whilst using a self check of hands in front and low (with a constant motion pole plant) to make sure wern't getting pitched backwards. really gave me a feeling of grip, steering and speed control which I didn't have before.
post #16 of 32
I have to admit that tight, jagged moguls are my biggest challenge also. It is difficult for me to learn by watching "good mogul skiers" because that most often seems to mean young hot-dogging free stylers skiing tight zipper lines straight down the field. Do to a combination of age, knee issues and general lack of talent, I don't ever anticipate this being in my repetoire; however, a slower approach to "Old Man Mogul Skiing" should be attainable, but much like many here, speed control in a steep field is very difficult for me as well. Would people say the majority of speed contol in tight, steep moguls comes from a) braking (?skidding?) on the way up the mogul, braking (skidding) down the moguls, carving up the side/back of a moguls, slamming into moguls to dispel energy, steering up hill when able, all of the above, none of the above...turn into the wind???? And how do one put it all together???
I know I need a lesson. I will be getting some. I just find this the most difficult challenge for me.
post #17 of 32
Buy a pair of legend 8000's and straightline the bump runs , No, I'm just kidding don't do that you will have another injury! You must also be in absolutely peak physical condition and bumps are not a good thing after a knee injury with out being back to 100%. That said I would take the advice of everyone else and get a good bump instructor, he/she will do wonders for you.
post #18 of 32
start your turn early, and at the speed you want to make all your turns. Finish your turns, and make "C's" not "Z's"
post #19 of 32
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
... my bump skiing looks like an elderly man at a nursing home picking his way down a flight of stairs.
I hope to improve and reach Rusty's level some day. At present my bump skiing looks like an elderly man at a nursing home FALLING his way down a flight of stairs.
post #20 of 32
concerning 90 year olds and stairs which is just like bump skiing

as long as you keep your teeth and are....erect at the bottom..... ya done good.

did I just say what I think I said?:
post #21 of 32
All of above. Shaving the back side tends to take more balance (platform is falling away from you). On really steep ice bumps, I ski streight down for a bump or two, find a bump I want to turn on, and turn up the side to reduce speed (the skis really hook-up well doing this). Do a retraction turn at the crest of the bump and ski down the fall line again looking for another victum (bump). You may want to start by skiing down only one bump or half a bump before turning up the side at first and work on reaching (retraction) short turns on groomers before putting it all together. When it comes together for you, it is an amasing feeling.
post #22 of 32
Originally Posted by geoffda
BTW, there is a ski movie called Wild Skis that was made in the late 70's that featured some great slow motion shots of Joey Cordeau (a legendary Sun Valley bumper). If you can find it, it is very helpful.
Joey was also featured in one of the Warren Miller films of the day. I'm not sure what year. It was really clear, even at normal film speed, how consistently he kept his hips forward.

I was a ski bum at Sun Valley in that era. It was a blast to watch from the chair overhead as Cordeau and some of the other local pro bumpers tore down runs like Limelight, Plaza, and Exhibition. In one memorable run down Plaza (which has since been subsumed into Limelight, I think), a couple of these guys launched off a cat track that bisected the run...and threw down synchronized helicopters in the process.
post #23 of 32
Try to ski them slowly and smoothly.* Add more speed as your spirit permits.

*Mother Nature won't like it if you poke, jab, or otherwise cause pain to her pimply areas, and she might have a mind to throw you down.
post #24 of 32
pick your line, ski two turns, bail out to the side!
repeat with three, then four, and so on ......

evaluate your fore/aft balance! are you static or working ball, arch, heel? remember mogul fields are full of "fast spots" and "slow spots" and by anticipating these accelerations and decelerations by moving your feet forward at the end and pulling them back at the beginning will keep you in better dynamic balance.

evaluate your upper body stability! are you squaring up to your skis? or is your torso stable with a blocking pole plant to facilitate anticipation release?

evaluate your absorption skillls! is your suspension smoothing the ride? the bigger and steeper the mogul field the more active the absorption must become (from replement to avalment) When your tips touch the upside pull them up with your stomach muscles to absorb the impact rather than allowing the bump to catapult you into the next one.

slow day at the office.....hope this perspective may help some as I can only visualize some typical deficiencies that may prevail.
post #25 of 32
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy
concerning 90 year olds and stairs which is just like bump skiing

as long as you keep your teeth and are....erect at the bottom..... ya done good.

did I just say what I think I said?:
Hey NOLO! Can Rusty guy be in my group tooo????
post #26 of 32
One thing that really connected me to a whole series of improvements in my bump skiing was the analogy of the 2nd-3rd shift over a mogul.

Reach down the hill and plant your pole, then punch forward as though you were shifting into third gear on a manual.

You can't do this without your upper body being framed down the hill properly and centered over your skis. One thing that isn't obvious at first is having the courage to really reach out there and plant that pole. At first it may seem like you are going to heave yourself off the hill, but sure enough the skis are right there under you.

Getting that upper body focused down the hill improved my mogul and steep skiing remarkably.
post #27 of 32
This is "advice" from a person who is one of the world's worst mogul skiers:

When I've skied moguls and enjoyed the experience, it has been due to two things. One, I do whatever I can to keep the shovels (tips) of the skis on the snow. Two, after I make one turn, I immmdeiately make another in the other direction.

When I utterly fail in moguls, it is because I (a) fail to make turn after turn after turn, and (b) fail to do whatever I can to keep the shovels of the skis on the snow.

Both of these points, for a really, really horrid mogul skier, depend on what the best mogul skiers have: attitude. When I ski moguls with confidence, I do better. I "fall" downhill with confidence. When I ski moguls tentatively and with diffidence, trying to AVOID "falling" downhill . . . I return to my station as the world's worst mogul skier.

Hope this helps. Let us know.
post #28 of 32
Point em down hill and stay on the bull
post #29 of 32
Long time no check in to the technique forum. I figured nobody want to hear my blather anyway.

Mogul skiing is all about balance and learning how to prevent doing stupid things that upset your balance. Everybody has a balance envelope. Stay inside the balance envelope with your body posititions and you stay upright. Get out of it and you blunder. The key to improving in moguls is to learn how to control the skis while staying in a very narrow envelope thereby leaving plenty of room for error.

One thing I have not seen mentioned here is alignment. Moguls skiing requires small ski edge angles with even slip. Poor alignment requires more agressive movements to get the skis to slip evenly. This encourages rotary heel thrust and the resulting beating that goes with it in bumps. I consider alignment very critical in smooth bump skiing.

Skis can make a difference but it ain't the arrow, its the indian that counts. I have little trouble skiing any ski in bumps. A soft short shape ski is best and will certainly aid in learning moguls. If you are not good in moguls I suggest that you ski with at least a one degree base bevel and detune the tails of the skis slightly.

Most factory binding mount positions on skis are to far to the rear for efficient smooth mogul skiing. Volkl and Atomic are the worst offenders. Normal recommended mounting positions are for high speed skiing where much fore and aft movement to engage the tips or hold the tails is anticipated. If you are fat, middle aged and have a bad knee or back by all means move the binding position forward. Binding position has a dramatic effect on narrowing the range of balance. If you are more over the sweet spot much less fore and aft movement in needed in the bumps and you are far less likely to get thrown out of balance. This is one of the biggest things I emphasis in my bump clinics.

Once your bindings are in a good location go to the groomers and start out on a moderate slope and practice side slipping, side slipping forwards and backwards, side slipping with the tips rotating down hill and with the tails rotating down hill. Then practice side slipping with the tips rotating down hill through 180 degrees. When you can side slip with turning anywhere you want to go, start practicing the same thing on easier terrain. Movement from steeper terrain to shallower terrain has the effect of teaching you how to narrow you window of balance and remove unnecessary body movements even further.

Once you can do this enter the easier moguls and work your way up. Once you have a narrow window of balance mogul tactics become much more intuitively obvious where they were not before.

Get a good alignment
Find the best fore aft binding position
Practice fine edge control and steering on moderate groomed terrain
Get so you can do it on easy terrain
Move to the bumps.

This is the learning method where you don't get beat up and tear something again. Good luck.
post #30 of 32

Passage Maker!!!

Hello Pierre, and wellcome back after a summer at sea!

Listen up all you guys and girls, Pierre is "the" mogul expert so you should all take note of what he is saying. We both partisipated in a similair thread last season but that is all settled now....

Anyway, Pierre's wisdome and experience goes beyond moguls. He actually starts off with what seems like a very trivial thing, boot placement on skis and for technique he suggest sliding exersises. He must be living in the 70's I hear you call out loud because today skis come with bidnings mounted on them and carving is the game.
However, he is more than right. Binding placement is normally too far back for any kind of skiing today and the 18 y. old skibumbs in the ski shop dont usually know this. I know the old Atomic SL-11 had bindings that you could slide forwards and backwards and all the testers in our ski test group prefered the forward position on normal groomers. The difference in moguls is even bigger.
Also, Pierre suggests starting practising outside of the bumps and that has been mentioned here often but needs to be repeated. Bump skiing is not a technique of its own, all good skiers ski bumps well. If they dont there is something wrong with their technique. Now, there you go! Not many good skiers arround at all is there!!! Bumps are nasty because you cannot fake it, like if you are carving.
Like Peirre says, stay within your balance envelope and watch your speed. Once you can controll your alignment and you can skidd controlled in different patterns you can approach small moguls and work your way up from there.
Pierres suggestion of skis also sounds right on the mark. I too can ski bumps well with all kinds of skis (missclaimer: never tried SGS or DH skis) but my short 165cm SL off the shelf race skis in 2003 worked very well. The tail was not so wide and they were quite soft. Back in the 70-80's I used 195cm regular GS skis and they were fine. The problem with short skis is that you loose your balance easily to the back. Thats one reason why the bindings should be placed forwards.
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