Move toward neutral!
Originally Posted by Notorious Spag
Before you begin your carved turns, you'll need a GOOD SPOT TO MOVE FROM at each initiation. Some refer to it at "neutral". Neutral is where we are when we are skeletally aligned, relaxed, natural. Think of it as how you would stand if you were gliding down a gentle slope on flat skis and not turning. There is a finite place where Neutral happens between the finish and initiation phases of the turn. You don't pause there, you pass THROUGH it. I call that "Finishiation".
For bumps, it is difficult to emphasize that GOOD SPOT TO MOVE FROM enough. Skiers frequently find themselves behind and/or uphill of their feet at the point where they should be moving through neutral. This makes the next turn initiation difficult because of the extra muscle required, or late, or both. The bumps feel like they're coming too fast, and the quads give out fairly quickly.
Why does this happen?
Consider Bob Barnes' "backpedaling" animation (http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=43973
). Note that, when coming over the high spot (this can be the top of the bump, but it can also be a bridge or high point between bumps), the feet effectively move back relative to the CM. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways (pull the feet back, close the ankles, move the hips forward, etc.), but in real life, the backpedaling motion is often not complete and the required movement of the CM relative to the feet (or the feet relative to the CM) doesn't happen. The skier absorbs, but still ends up behind his/her feet. This is made worse as the skis accelerate down the backside of the bump. Without some powerful move to get the CM over the feet, the situation deteriorates, regardless of where the skier attempts the next initiation.
Note that the shape of the bump can help the skier move toward neutral, so that skier doesn't have to force the feet back or the CM forward.
Note also that the next initiation can occur almost anywhere, if the skier is moving toward or through neutral. Timing your move toward neutral puts you in control; now you can ski the bumps rather than having the bumps ski you. You can initiate on the front, over the top, on the back, on the bridge, in the gutter, off the side. You can choose how much edge, how much rotary, how much skid you're going to allow or cause. It puts you in a position to control the pressure and reduce "float," which will, in turn, enhance your speed control through the whole turn. Your precision and accuracy improve. Moving through neutral makes everything easier.
Skilled bump skiers can deal with being behind their feet. It's not too difficult to end up behind one's feet when skiing close to the limit. But it takes extra muscle, it makes the run more difficult, and, unless you're deliberately playing with turning on your tails, it's probably less fun. Skilled bump skiers make sure it's a transient condition.
Not that I've actually mastered any of this myself...