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Tips on skiing bumps.

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
My goal this season is to improve my bump skiing ability. I've read articles about renting super-shorty skis to work on fore/aft balance and have watched a video (I forget the name) about absorbing and extending on the backside. However, I'm still feeling awkward and off balance when the terrain gets that uneven.

Anybody have tips to help me break through?

Gonz, you mentioned (in a thread about the Dynastar Assaults) learning to read the terrain better and how to better stand ou your skis in uneven terrain. What, exactly did you do to work on these skills?
post #2 of 39
Thread Starter 
Forgot to mention that I read the thread from a while ago about how to handle bumps, but didn't see any tips to help learn the two skills Gonz mentioned. I believe my problems stem from exactly these things and was hoping for help precisely in these two areas.

Reading terrain/picking lines.
Balance on skis in uneven terrain.

Thanks!<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Gill (edited January 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #3 of 39
Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! I'll show you why it's pretty hard to ski a good line of bumps at Whitetail. (hint: there is rarely, if ever, a good bump line at Whitetail!). But I'll show you what to look for and ways to navigate. And maybe we'll have bumps as good as we have had the last couple of weekends.

Balance on uneven terrain becomes largely visual. You need to be aware of changes in pitch, and be proactive, rather than reactive. Again, this is something I can show you on Sunday. Just remember that your body needs to be perpendicular to the slope. If the slope changes pitch, you need to match the change in pitch as it is happening. If you become reactive, you will be late. And if the pitch increases, you'll be skiing like I drive... crazy and from the back seat.
post #4 of 39

I am also working on my bump skiing. I can ski moderate bumps on blue/black trails with reasonable ease, but when I get to the bigger, nasty, icy bumps you'll find on steep NE trails, I start to fall apart.

I skied this past weekend with some REALLY GOOD mogul skiers at Sugarbush. They could ski ANY mogul trail straight down the zipper line, making it look effortless. I find I can ski a few steep bumps this way, but often get going too fast, slip into the back seat, can't catch up and end up blowing the line and having to traverse or stop altogether.

This doesn't provide an answer for Gill, but I reiterate a similar question: How do you make the quantum leap from moderate bumps to severe bumps found on trails like Outer Limits, FIS or Ripcord?

I suspect some added difficulty may lie in the terrain. Might even say that NE bumps are the most difficult to ski because they tend to be icy and very fast. This may be an oversimplification, but there is truth in this statement.

Looking forward to tips from others. <FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Jaws (edited January 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #5 of 39
work on flexion of the ankles absorbing bumps first. Traverse across the bump hill(I know ruin the bumps for everyone else but you gotta learn some how) and work on keeping your upper body stable and your skis in contact with the snow at all times. there should not be a slap of the tips of your skis as you drop over the bump. you almost have to push your toes down into the valley and "fill the hole" as you extend your feet.
Then start making turns keeping this in mind. Pole plant, release your edges coming over the top of the bump and extend your legs into the turn. then absorb the next bump and repeat the process.
post #6 of 39

Turn completion and speed control is your goal. Start out slowly. And I mean s-l-o-w-l-y. Finish every turn so that your speed remains consistantly slow the whole way down. Do this a lot. Then work toward being able to change speed in the bumps. Maybe start out moving at a faster speed, then after 3-4 bumps, start finishing your turns more, so that you *gradually* slow down to that slow speed (don't slow down in one slam into the front of a bump). Work on speeding up and (especially) slowing down. To do this, you will need to have your skis in firm contact with the ground. Going slowly will help your body understand the sensations of keeping en edge set when you are on the back of a bump. And to get that edge set on the back of a bump, you will need to be centered on your skis when your skis are coming over the top of the bump, so that you can pressure the fronts of your boots when you come down the back of the bump. Look at the 1st two bump skiing montages that Bob B posted. Notice how the skiers' tips are either pointed down the backs of the bumps, or in full contact with the snow on the back of the bums? You need to be centered over the ski to do that. That is the only way you can finish a turn and control your speed safely in the bumps.

FYI, that acceleraton and loss of control after a few bumps is due to being too far back and not finishing turns.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JohnH (edited January 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 39
oh yeah, Start on the big bump fields by thinking about your one turn only. It is your task at hand. As you complete your turn, then look for your next turn. If you screw up the task at hand, the rest of the hill is a moot point. As you get better and the muscles begin to get a memory for how to turn these bumps, then you can start looking a little farther down the hill. Make sure you are in balance at the end of each turn. if not, stop and regroup otherwise you will be like JohnH said he drives. "crazy and in the back seat".
post #8 of 39
Thanks, JohnH.

Sounds like good advice. I must admit, though, that it sounds impossible to be able to ski the backs of some of the bumps I've seen recently, but that may be my naivete speaking. I have difficulty understanding how you can actually carve down the back side of a truly large, steep mogul. Seems to me if you are on the back side of a large mogul in this situation, you will never be able to make the next turn at the next bump. At least not in the zipper line. And, some bumps are so steep on the back side, that doesn't seem like the correct approach. IE., I'd rather ski the front of the bump and avoid the back altogether.

Perhaps this is where my technique is flawed; it may be that to complete my turns and keep speed in check I MUST learn to complete it (turn) on the back side, regardless of the terrain.

"don't slow down in one slam into the front of a bump"

- This is me in a nut shell when skiing big bumps. Feet together and basically in a controlled skid, slamming into the front of each bump with a big pole plant, killing speed and absorbing, serious upper body separation, extend my legs after hitting the bump and basically slam into the next bump, etc. Very tiring and not the way to ski, as evidenced by others. Burns the legs like no tomorrow.

The montages by Bob B. are nice examples, but what about larger, steeper bumps? (The bumps in the montage seem small.) Are the principles the same? Or, in really big bumps, does technique change to something different?
post #9 of 39
Thread Starter 
My problem is two-fold. I don't seem to be able to pick a good line through the bumps, but as JohnH said, it might be due to where I ski more than me (yeah, that's it...). When I try to absorb the bump, I am thrown into the back seat and I think this is due to not balancing correctly in a perpendicular angle to the terrain.

It's sort of like dominoes. The line I pick is bad, I try to absorb a bump, am thrown into the back seat, I'm now not able to drive my tips down the backside of the bump, I don't finish my turn, my speedometer needle pegs, I either traverse, bail or take a beater.

JohnH, looking forward to skiing with you Sunday. I hope you can spare some time from your lessons to make some runs with me.
post #10 of 39
Try the exercise I posted above and first just let the bumps push your skis up. In small bumps and big. Start out s-l-o-w-l-y at first and as you move faster and faster you will find that you almost have to actively suck your feet up under you. If your ankles are tight you will endup in the back seat so you need to learn to let your ankles flex. Also you need to gently press the tips of your skis into the hole/valley of between the next bump. Do this all the way across the hill and then make a turn and head back. (yeah I know boring) you want to do this until it feels comfortable. It may take a few runs or more. When you can do this well with no "tip slap" on the back side of the mogels then start to introduce turns (see post above) I suspect if you mention this exercise to JohnH he might remember it. It really helped me get out of the back seat in my bump skiing.
post #11 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks Dchan,

I'll give it a go! Hopefully I won't tick off the good bumpers too much with all the traversing (heh, heh).

I think you hit hte nail on the head with the ankles comment. Now that I think about it, I don't think I'm allowing my ankles to flex and this is what is pushing me into the back seat.
post #12 of 39

That problem of getting back as you hit the bumps is due to thinking that the bump will slow you down. So you start to move back as you approach the bump. The problem, is that the skis don't slow down. They keep moving forward, and you end up in the back seat. The exercise of straight tunning a traverse across the bumps is good because it not only teaches you to keep a smooth upper body, but if you do it with *very slight* direction changes (not enough to slow you at all), your body starts to understand that it can't move back as you approach a bump. I can also show you an exercize on active retraction on Sunday. Being able to actively absorb (retract) allows you to be proactive rather than reactive, which goes a long way in helping to keep you centered as you move over bumps.
post #13 of 39
post #14 of 39
I'll counter that Avalemant with a "reproimant" (probably spelled wrong, but you know what I mean).
post #15 of 39

Yeah, stiff boots are not bump friendly. If necessary, it helps to loosen the upper buckles and power strap a bit, to allow you to flex forward without feeling like you're going to snap your tibia. As you get better abd better at staying centered in the bumps, you can tighten them up. Loose cuff buckles will make edging movements slower, less precise, and make higher edge angles harder to achieve. If you're on mid fats or fats, this will be more pronounced.
post #16 of 39

Lyle was talking to me about skiing and changes and as we were talking he asked me if I had done the traverse exercise before and I responded "you mean Avalement/reploiment?"
He laughed and said "I guess so"
Later he told me I must have been the first student that he had, who was not an instructor, that had read any Joubert.
As far as spelling I had to dig out my books
post #17 of 39
As PSIA defines them, Avalement is passive Absorbtion, Reploiment is active Retraction.
post #18 of 39
Thats interesting PSIA has different definition. Joubert and Barnes define it as Avalement "to Swallow" active (good in big bumps) and reploiment as passive (good on washboards and small bumps)<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited January 25, 2001).]</FONT>
post #19 of 39
hmmm. Maybe I'm remembering the terms backwards, but I don't think so (although it's been a while since I've read the definitions). Does anyone else have any info that might set this straight?
post #20 of 39
are be being too picky?
I suspect most people will understand active and passive absorbtion anyway. It was fun though.
post #21 of 39
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for all of your tips. I skied a few runs with JohnH Sunday (only one on the bumps though) and I think he can now agree that I'm bump challenged (heh, heh). I will continue to work on it though.

BobB (and everyone else too), I understand what you are saying about active absorbtion, but I still have a few questions (as always):

1. Where does absorbtion start? By first flexing the ankles? By actively lifting the knees?
2. Should the feet be pulled back under the hips during absorbtion, then pushed a bit more forward during extension? Or the other way around?

Again, thanks for all the helpful comments!
post #22 of 39
Sounds like you picked up some good tips and some more understanding.
My experience is pull up from the knees first. keeping the ankles loose, they will flex as needed. If you are not loose, your ankles will transmit the bump up your legs in put you in the back seat. When you reach the top of the bump, you will need to flex your ankles so the skis follow the contour of the bump (push toes/tips down or flex toes down)
As far as the order of moving the feet. in relation to your body center of mass they will come straight up under you start moving back behind your hips(center) and extend down and forward. almost like backpedaling. I used to just do this because of the exercises I learned but did not visualize this until I saw the pictures in Bob Barnes book. If you can get a copy of the book, It is a great reference. Check on the ski shop portion of this sight.
<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited January 29, 2001).]</FONT>
post #23 of 39

fore & aft centering breakthrough!

OK, you are asking about bumps, and you're an advanced skier, wanting to be (continuously) more centered.
Here is some imagery that will break you through; use if first on groomed terrain, then adapt it to the fall line bumps. Believe it or not, this solid movement pattern will carry over quite literally into bumps, as well as other varied terrain and conditions!
If this sounds too elementary, my apologies, but...
Stand at the top of a medium-steep groomer. Before you take off, become conscious of this "triangle": your heel, your ball of foot, and your shin in light contact with the boot. Now, slide into the fall line, and link some medium radius turns, being very conscious to maintain the triangle, with consistent, even pressure on each of the three points. Don't "lever" the triangle throughout phases of your turns. Be especially careful about maintaining the presence of shin to boot, neither letting the shin come off the tongue, nor mashing forward against it. With your modern, shaped skis, ankle/knee angulation is the only active movement of lower legs necessary. The triangle has your feet & lower legs somewhat static compared to the feeling you may be used to, at least in a fore & aft plane.
If your shins gap from the boot tongues, particularly at the end of the turn, think of sucking your feet back under your body during that part of the turn, holding them back as you roll into the next edge set with pure lateral movement.
It may feel that you are "doing less" than you are used to in your current movement pattern, and therein lies the breakthrough! Now, GRADUALLY take this restrained stance into terrain and bumps. Resist the temptation to go back to excessive active movement of your feet! You will find your bump lines better, with the abilty to plan and react much earlier.

Another simple piece of imagery, as an alternate to the "static triangle" is to visualize the entire your weight settled upon the entire soles of BOTH FEET, from heel to toes, ALL THE TIME, THROUGHOUT THE TURN. This, too will accomplish two-footed, centered stance and better skiing on all terrain and conditions. What we are getting at is breaking the habitual active movement of the feet, which is superflous and destructive to strong, balanced & centered skiing!

OK, just one more: picture both skis in predetermined tracks as if engaged on the rails of a roller coaster. They must both remain in/on the snow. There is no lifting or pivoting allows, as your skis are merely casters attached to the train rails. Therefore, the only body movements allowed are those adjustments which keep your body in dynamic balance while the skis travel along your intended arcs.

All of these imagery techniques are designed to point to the same goal; constant two footed, centered stance where both skis STEER all the time.
Trust me, whether you want faster NASTAR times, better bump lines, or less fatigue (or all of these). You don't need 10 techniques, just one consistent movement pattern that carries you well into your most radical mountain situations with strength & elegance.
post #24 of 39
Take a ski lesson from a level III cert
post #25 of 39
I'm 51, rickety and haggered. I have skied the bumps since I was a kid and really enjoy them. I am able to ski steep, nasty trails because I controll my speed. Although I like to watch bump bashers my body can't do that (for long) anymore.

Here are some thing that help me stay in the bumps:

1) control speed, finish the turn
2) link turns - don't ride a finished turn
3) stance should be straight down the fall line - your line
4) crouch tall - good posture - stay centered
5) skis stay on the snow
6) econmy of motion - calm upper body
7) hands stay forward - poles stay forward
8) ski in the good snow - the front of the bump the part you see
9) avoid the top of the bump - back is usually hard
10) avoid the ruts
11) carve the turn - some sliding is ok in the bumps

These are some of the things I do to avoid getting banged up. Control is so important, keep it slow. Speed can always be increased. Prove control.

Skiing bumps is a great way to see a break through in turning skill.

Ski with grace!
post #26 of 39
Am I the only one who noticed that folks are giving advice to a question asked four years ago? Nonetheless, I find the tips interesting.
post #27 of 39
Originally Posted by moguljunkie
Am I the only one who noticed that folks are giving advice to a question asked four years ago? Nonetheless, I find the tips interesting.
Skibroker's first post is to respond to a blast from the past. :
post #28 of 39
I would like to expound on some of the ideas that Bob Barnes has put forth. Namely that of skiing the slow line fast in bumps.

There are two things that I am looking for when I ski bumps. One is speed control through selection of line and timming. The second is a line that reduces the amount of flexion and absorbtion I need to do in the first place.

I would like to first point out a few simple facts. One the moguls dictate the line to ski and the size and shape of your turns. Speed is controlled by how long it takes to complete each turn. The longer it takes the slower the speed.

When we face straight down the fall line and touch the pole in the top of the next bump we set ourselves up for a wind up and a braking bashing edge set. When we release the wind up, the ski immediately pivot back into the fall line. The result is that the top, slow part of our turn is completed very quickly leading to a reduction in the time it takes to make a complete mogul turn. The result is and increase in speed, and increase in bashing and an increase in the need for flexion and absorbtion.

There is one little trick that we can do to help out all of these conditions greatly. That little trick is to soften the amount we are facing down the fall line and use a bit of a rotary pole swing. This will encourage a finish to the turns with a more slicing vs braking edge set. There is little wind up and the skis do not pop back into the fall line. The skis are ready for you to guide them slowly through the top half of the next turn. The result is less pounding, less need for flexion and absorption and a great reduction in speed.

Go out and practice pivot slips and progress to more rounded pivot slips with a rotary pole swing on groomers. Then take it back into the bumps. Look for lines that connect the lower areas in the bumps and make round turns trough those low areas. Bingo easy bump skiing.

I would like to add a few things about equipment that will greatly aid bump skiing. First is to move most bindings an inch or so forward on the skis. This greatly reduces the amount of fore and aft movement it takes to get the tips to press down and engage the new turn.

The second is to make sure your boots do not sabotage you in fore and aft balance. Make sure the forward lean is correct and use a heel lift if you have a sloppy heel. Sloppy heels lead to back seat bump skiing.
post #29 of 39
I was working with another Bear in this area yesterday. Finndog had some (well understood) aprehensions regarding bumps due to previous back surgery. We worked on a couple of things

4 points (two shoulders & two hips) kept down hill

Poles, shorter is better, a too long pole will keep you too upright and can (and will) put you in the "back seat".

Pole plants, for your pole plant, act as if you are in a car and "shifting from second into third gear". This will help you keep your body forward.

Hands, always keep your hands in your periferal vision.

I am sure others have more to add.
post #30 of 39
To ski bumps well you need to know how to steer your legs. Pivot slips are a good exercise that was mentioined to help this.

Also, keeping reaching with your poles and keep that inside arm and inside half strong.
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