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Bump Technique and Setup

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
What is your preferred technique and gear approach for riding bumps?

My basic approach is to use the bumps and not try to stay in the ruts, though specifics vary a good bit depending on board setup. Actually Dan DiPiro's bump skiing book, discussed in the ski instruction forum, has a lot that I believe applies to riding bumps as well as skiing them.

Setup can impact approach a lot, though. I have a freestyle board with an 8 sidecut and a freeride with a 10.5, and just that difference means that the freestyle board hooking up was a lot worse than the freeride board. On the freestyle board I have to focus much more on not getting on the edge. The freeride board also has a much softer shovel than the freestyle, making absorbing bumps a little easier.

The best setup for bumps I believe is either hardboots on a freeride board with a long radius and relaxed camber, or very stiff softboots with moderate forward angles on the same.
post #2 of 8
I ride freeride with stiff boots and a +15/-13 duck stance. I once had riding bumps vs skiing bumps explained to me as "it's so simple - when you ski bumps both legs absorb at the same time, when you ride bumps you absorb one leg at a time - that's it". Well, that's easier said than done, but it is an important concept to keep in mind. With respect to riding the zipperline, I've been able to come close for a few bumps. I'm thinking that a narrower foot width stance would be helpful. When you ski the zipper line fast, you're looking for places to stick your feet. When you're riding, you've got a longer surface (between the feet vs the length of the feet) to stick to the snow.

One of the hot topics going around these days is "flat boarding" through the bumps. This does follow Dan's premise that snow contact=speed control. The idea is that as you bring the board over a bump top, you keep it flat to the snow to maximize contact and speed control. However, the demonstrations of this that I've seen and the few times I've done it are not zipperline riding.

At Jackson Hole 2 seasons ago, the AASI demo team guys were showing us how to ride steep bumps by using a nose roll to get the board onto the back side of the bump and turned across the pitch quickly to maintain speed control. They had no problems using this technique to ride the heavily bumped very tight and very steep treed chutes. I was able to "get" the technique in the open bowls after a couple of days of practice. In theory, this approach could allow zipperline bump riding on the gnarliest runs, but although they were doing fall line bump riding, I never saw the demo team guys do what Dan would call zipper line riding.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by therusty
... the AASI demo team guys were showing us how to ride steep bumps by using a nose roll to get the board onto the back side of the bump and turned across the pitch quickly to maintain speed control...I never saw the demo team guys do what Dan would call zipper line riding.
The nose roll/tip roll is so useful in steeps in general because it lets you keep contact with the snow...it feels so "calm" in contrast to jump turns.

Riding duck or moderate angles I'm not sure it's possible to do steep zipperline bumps on a board for most mortals. I believe the AASI guys at Jackson all would have been ducked out for reasons other than bump performance? I most frequently rode 15/-15 this season, and the difference in terms of absorption between that and even something like 21/6 was amazing. Using Jackson as a reference, the less-steep parts of St. Johns or the open bumped areas off of Casper you can see some riders flowing with close to a skier-type zipperline except that they slap each bump much more for speed control than a skier would.

The AASI guys were likely on steeper runs...something really fun though is zippering just a mellow blue on the board.

I have a small brain, and have no room for the concept that counterrotation is not always evil, but, that said, I'd say that better bump riders tend also to effectively use counter while in the bumps as well.
post #4 of 8
I believe it was Mikey Franco who stated that the entire JH school was ducked out because it "just works better" all over the mountain. When I was there, it was the end of the season. We did not SEE anyone else riding steep bumps. The D team guys were generally staying within a 2 mogul width line as opposed to a zipperline 1 mogul width line.

I can't say from personal experience whether duck riders are at disadvantage with respect to ability to absorb, but I'd like to think that the stance angle difference just means a different blend of simultaneous vs independent leg flexing. The "poop" that I've heard about duck is that it helps to facilitate "cowboy type" bowlegged flexing for some people. There are some people who find that duck is an uncomfortable and less stable stance for their riding. Whether this is just personal preference or based upon fundamental differences in physical structure (e.g. knock kneed vs neutral vs bowlegged natural stance) is beyond my knowledge. But it may have some bearing on this discussion.
post #5 of 8
I preferred riding my alpine setup for bumps. The forward angles helped me alot. Probably because I'm primarily a skier, so the counter rotation I had learned from skiing was able to transfer to boarding. I was able to ride the zipperline at moderate speeds as longs as the troughs weren't too deep. On my feeride board, even with 20/10 angles, the stance was too wide and facing across the board seemed to hinder making any quick turns or quick retraction/extension. The only issue with the alpine board in the bumps is how stiff it is.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Regarding duck, forward angles and bumps, I think you have much the same issues of stability versus effective power over the board that apply, in a different context, for carving. No question in my mind that duck is better for either rails, where stability and alignment are key, or anything placing a premium on landing where the superior ability to compress with a duck stance helps.

If I were blessed with riding in Jackson regularly, I'd probably go with something like 18/-6 or 24/-3 to get the stability and compression benefits of being slightly ducked with the better edge control of a slightly more forward front foot. I would not choose my setup with an eye to bumps, because hopefully no one goes to Jackson with the purpose of riding bumps, as opposed to simply encountering them there, any more than they go simply to ride their (very nice) halfpipe.

As for people finding riding duck uncomfortable or less stable, I don't think in general it's an anatomical point of difference. Very few people are in fact pigeon-toed when in a "neutral" stance. Spread their legs to shoulder-width and even fewer are pigeon-toed. However, for those of us who crossed over from skiing, me included, it does seem to take a while to feel comfortable riding aligned with binding angles in general, much less when ducked. Riding duck with a torso twisted to face the front of the board is both uncomfortable and not terribly effective. I learned a while back though, and perhaps having lessons early on where riding duck was encouraged may have made the transition seem more natural.

JohnH, why not try the hardboots and forward angles on the freeride board for purposes of riding all-mountain, bumps included?
post #7 of 8

Bump it up

It is possible and effective to use a duck stance when riding a zipper line through bumps. I experimented with the zipper line stuff three seasons ago because I thought that there's no reason why a skier can and a boarder can't. Having said this though, I studied lots of pro mogul ski competion video (which is what started the whole idea) during the process of working out the moves for my riding. The side views of the skiers were the most helpful. The are many similarities in how the "snow tool(s)" are used. The overall movement patterns are also very similar, even though I'm sideways. As an extra to what Rusty said about individual leg use for absorbtion, I found that the zipper line was less challenging the more aggressively I absorbed with the front leg. I sometimes would grunt as I absorbed each mogul to remind myself to be super aggressive.

I definitely advocate keeping my front shoulder pointed straight down the fall line (the extra twist at the end of a turn helps get things flowing into the new turn) which is like a pro mogul skier keeping their chest facing directly down the fall line. The shoulder is pretty stationary, but my front arm does move slightly from right to left compared to the fall line (kind of like how a mogul skier reaches out with each arm to set the pole plant even though the chest is moving down the fall line).

The flat board also does greatly improve one's mogul riding. To prove this point, try to ride across a steep, cut-up, icy mogul run and see what happens. Your board digs into the back side of each mogul you try to traverse across the slope. When the board is flat, it's much less prone to digging into cut-up moguls and also is more maneuverable. A great drill for practicing this is to do flatspins down a mogul run. Eventually you want to spin both directions with this drill. It's also great for combining quality flexion/extension skills with the flat board use. I also discovered that the relationship between my COM and my board improved greatly with the flatspin drill. It keept me right over the board and level (or parallel) with varying pitches of the snow surface. I love this exercise because it amps up my normal and switch mogul riding so much. Try it, it's not only helpful, but fun too, especially when there's a bunch of you doing it all together.
post #8 of 8

Bumps rule

Didn't have enough time yesterday to finish my comments on bumps. I've seen and used the "tip roll" stuff Rusty mentioned. I think it's a useful tactic. I do prefer to keep the snowboard more on the snow surface, rather than lift it up and put it down again. I experience more control and precise handling when using similar fore/aft moves as in the tip roll, but add an emphasis on twisting (torsional) moves w/ my feet/legs to really amp up the ride while keeping the board more in contact with the snow.
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