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Level II Mogul Requirements

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am looking for opinions on required mogul technique for passing Level II skiing. The written PSIA specifications say something like: "able to lead a class safely down an easy blue mogul field."

My question is: what is acceptable here? (a) exhibiting control, while prudently picking your way down? (b) capably slithering and slipping through the easiest line possible? (c)deliberately varying turn types (bump tops, sides, valleys? (d) aggressive zipper line work with quick rotation and flair?

In asking around at PSIA events, I have gotten pretty varied impressions on this. For example, at a LII Exam prep at Okemo, we were told that a particular and moderately challenging mogul field was a good example of what LII required. At the other extreme, a teaching colleague had a LII exam on which moguls was not even included.

I realize this is tough to comment on, but I would nevertheless appreciate opinions from anyone who has done LII recently in order to bring any clarity at all to this. FWIW, I fall about halfway between (a) and (b) above.


post #2 of 12
Hopefully some of the examiners will post on this one.

For the level two exams I've taken (Alpine and adaptive) we were told the following.
- No bump shopping. (Don't stop, look, and pick.)
- You need to keep moving.
- Some change of line is allowed. (At Level III the examiners are looking for zipper line. Not so at Level II.)

In the Alpine pod I was in there were some young hotshots who hammered right down the fall line. After falling once and thowing off a ski, I moved to the edge of the field and went down through a less pounding line. This is the line I used with all the examiners and they passed me. I picked an appropriate line to lead a class down.

During part of my Adaptive Level II there were no moguls on the mountain so we didn't do them. On another day when I went out with a third examiner, he took us to a very easy mogul field.

You need to be comfortable, pick an appropriate line, and be "able to lead a class safely down an easy blue mogul field."

I recommend that you go out for one of the PSIA-E bump clincs. They are great. I took Introduction to Bumps and man did we learn. I watched nonbumpers (me) go from zero to able to meet the Level II standard.
post #3 of 12
Generally at Level II in the East, they will take you to an easy bump run and expect that you maintain speed control, link turns and stay in balance. Based on my experience and the experience of others this is what generally happens.

Where it sometimes gets tricky is when an easy blue bump run is not available. Sometimes they will eliminate bumps entirely, other times they will take you to a more challenging run and lower their expectations.
post #4 of 12

There's a new PSIA-E DVD that has examples of passing and not passing runs for various levels. The video may be freely copied as long as you can find someone with it, or (I believe) ordered from division for a small fee. The bump clips are short but informative.

I took my level 2 a long time ago, but I too did not have to do moguls for my exam. The reason was that at that time at 7 Springs, the only mogul run available was too icy and the bumps too large for level 2 testing. At the time I thought that was a bunch of hooey because I skied the run just fine in my free time there. I know why now. With time and long focus on level 3 prep, I've come to understand more of the exam process from attending many clinics where examiners poured their thought processes into us.

So the first answer to your question is the standard that an examiner will be looking for will mostly depend on what is available. The more difficult the run, the more the requirement will tend towards a then c. The one thing that is constant is that you won't see a level 2 exam looking for zipper line bumping. Even at level 3, zipper line is not required and if all you show is zipper line, you will fail. The general rule of thumb is that examiners are looking for technique/strategy and variety not brute strength in the bumps. On the low end of "a", if you are "shopping" for turns (i.e. a very noticeable static traverse waiting to come across an easy bump to turn on), you will likely fail. The key thing that examiners are looking for in any part of the exam is movements. If you get tense and static in the bumps, you are toast. If you can demonstrate balance, edging, rotary and pressure management per the visual cues doing either B or C, you will pass. If you do C, you get more leeway on foibles because of the extra difficulty.

The second answer to your question is that you should at least be a solid B if you want to be prepared to pass a level 2 exam no matter what. You can't know ahead of time if you'll get bumps or not. If you don't get bumps, they will be looking extra hard at your short radius turns. Examiners prefer to let the mountain do the examining (i.e. just ski). But they have a huge bag of tricks (i.e. exercise tasks) to fall back on when conditions are not challenging enough. The key thing to understand is that no matter what the conditions or difficulty of the trail, there are some fundamental movement patterns that need to be occurring. Whether it's bumps, or ice, or steep, or powder, or whatever, the exam will include something to test your comfort level. If you can still display those fundamental patterns when the going gets tough, you will pass. You can't do B without having the movements.

The last answer is that you also mentally need to be prepared for being tasked with a bump run that is more difficult than the moderately challenging example at Okemo where "C" is the only way to get down. Examiners will occasionally "turn up the heat" beyond what is required. The good news is that you get a lot of leeway for imperfections. But some people let this kind of stuff fluster them and then screw up the rest of their tasks.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Wow, three high quality responses in about an hour. Thanks, T-square, jess and Rusty for your constructive and candid thoughts, and for the background of your own experiences. I will peruse it more at leisure, but the big messages I am hearing is don't "shop," maintain fluidity and continuity, demonstrate solid technique in the process, and be mentally prepared for different approaches the examiner may employ to figure out what you can do.

"Don't show off" might be another one, but no danger of that from me at this point.

It is helpful to hear that I can probably take literally the instruction to "be able to lead a class safely down an easy blue mogul field." yeah, it's pretty clear, but one never actually knows how something is going to be applied on the hill.

Anyhow, based on that, I think I'm gettin' close.

Thanks, again, guys. Very helpful.

post #6 of 12
Several folks definitely "picked" their way down during my level II and passed. They were in control, they could have stopped anywhere they wanted---mostly because they were skiing 2-3 miles an hour down. They were looking at the moguls and where they wanted to go---but were always in CONTROL.

Think Control is the deal.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Greg, would you draw any distinction in your case between "picking" their way down and "shopping?" Where I'm going with that is that I could imagine a kind of hybrid between the two that is in control and even slow, but that exhibits a certain amount of smoothness and continuity that Rusty and T-Square have mentioned as being necessary.

post #8 of 12
Most of all for any exam.

Ski your own turns!

How many times in a clinic or exam do you see people following exactly in the line of the person in front of them? I've seen it plenty of times. During an exam you need to ski naturally and fluidly. If you allow yourself to ski someone else's turns you have a greater chance of not being natural. So, unless your task is to syncro ski or follow in someone's track, ski your own turns and your own style.

Also, smile and have fun. After all, its only skiing. If you don't pass, big deal, nobody dies.
post #9 of 12

It's been a while, but I don't remember it being a big deal....

post #10 of 12
Just took my L2 skiing last week in the Mid Atlantic. 2 of 3 examiners had us ski bumps. We were told to ski them in whatever manner makes us happy, just like the "free skiing" runs we did, do it fast, do it slow, do it in the air...just show passion when doing it. Ski them smoothly and confidently and you'll be fine. There really is no correct way as long as you are in balance and control, that's ultimately what they are looking at.
post #11 of 12
The "shopping" thing is more like when someone starts traversing the trough line and waits until they get to a sufficiently easy bump to make a turn, and they do this a couple of times during the run. If you enjoy bumps, then I'm sure it won't be an issue for you. Some people are very uncomforable in bumps and it shows immediately.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
OK, John, thanks.
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