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Bump Question

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm a very proficient bump skier in most conditions. One exception is widely spaced bumps, e.g. the ones that form and get icy when novice mogul skiers run the bumps.

I ski the zipperline in tightly spaced bumps; I probably rely too much on the troughs to plan my line. When the bumps get too spread out, I lose my line, end up sliding sideways across the flat spots, then slam into the face of the next bump. Since that absorption takes a lot out of my legs, I am looking for a more efficent way to handle these icy "spaces" between bumps. Any tips?

post #2 of 21
Hello (The) Donald--

Those conditions challenge everyone. There is no "easy" way to ski these widely-spaced bumps with bullet-proof hard snow in between, no magic trick that will make you suddenly their master. But you have probably described the solution yourself: "I probably rely too much on the troughs to plan my line."

Think of how you would ski a hard, icy run without bumps. Your worst possible tactic would be to ski straight down the fall line and hit your brakes, which is exactly what it sounds like you're trying to do in these widely-spaced icy bump runs. Smooth, completed turns are the key, keeping the skis going the direction they're pointed as much as you can, and twisting them into a skid as little as possible.

My suggestion in these bumps is to NOT let the troughs dictate your line, and especially don't try to ski the zipper line straight down from one bump to the next, as you suggest. Instead, ski the run as if the bumps weren't there. Focus on patient, round turns, perhaps making two or more turns in between the bumps. Make sure your skis are slicing forward as they approach the bumps, rather than skidding sideways downhill and then whacking hard into them. Smoothness counts. Try to get your skis to carve using their edges, rather than relying on the bumps to stop them from skidding.

Of course, skiing ice in general is not an easy task. Both your skis and your technique must be razor sharp! Ice may be the ultimate test on skis, the most brutally honest critic of your technique. If your technique is even slightly defensive and your turns begin with a twist into a skid (which describes at least 99% of skiers of all ability levels), you'll get away with it on groomed snow, easy powder, and well-formed bumps. But ice will punish you! My suggestions above assume that you are able to carve turns on the conditions without the aid of bumps. If this is not the case, it may be time to get your skis tuned, and to find a competent pro to help you find the right movements.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #3 of 21
PS--Welcome to EpicSki, by the way!
post #4 of 21
DT welcome to Epicski. The conditions in bumps that you describe are one of my all time favorite bump conditions. Bullet proof unadultered blue ice in wildly varying bumps ranks right at the top. I ski on Rossi telemark T3 powder skis.

The operative word. On ice, edge with you're ankles instead of you're knees and hips. Edging with the ankles is subtle and does not require moving you're weight and balance all over the place. When you edge with you're ankles you're body will go where it needs to automatically. This is much easier said than learned.

In order to edge with my ankles and steer round short turns properly, I have my feet apart in bumps. If you're feet are together you cannot steer the ski tips and are forced to push the tails out using the knees and hips. That is a recipe for disaster on ice.

Unlike Bob, I ski pretty deep in the troughs and steer a very high line. High meaning that I turn early and well above the next slot below me. Just like racing gates, you want to steer a high line so that much of you're turning is completed before the gate. In bumps you want most of you're turning completed before the face of the next bump. This slices you across the face of the bump below you and keeps you more in the troughs. This reduces the need for flexion and extension and controls speed much better. The turns are much rounder and completed farther across the fall line.

When you see that large expanse of ice in the next bump sequence turn high above the slot that will dump you onto the ice. This will bring you in well across the fall line and high on the lower patch of ice as you finish you're turn. Act like there is a gate right in the middle of that patch of ice between where you entered and the face of the bump below. Increase the size of you're turn to match the expanse of ice so you're turn is round and brings you across just above the face of the lower bump. This sets you up for another high line leading into the next sequence of bumps that may be tight.

Learn to have independed leg absorbtion. Learn to let you're legs get long or short independent of one another. This keeps the skis apart, you're hips and weight over you're skis and you're upper body quiet and balanced. More of a peddling action.

Lastly, have the patience to allow the skis to seek the fall line and round the top third of you're turns. The top third of you're turns should take three times as long as the bottom two thirds of you're turns. Short and round is the operative word for mogul turns.

I mostly ski a wide zipperline in the troughs but throw in many larger turns around the next bump if I don't like the next squence in the series of bumps. [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #5 of 21
Some tactical advice I was given a couple of years ago on skiing this hard flat spot that developes between bumps in places, is to simply add another short turn here, which maintains speed and control that simply sliding down to the next doesn't do. It is good advice.

We (I) tend to get caught up in skiing "bumps" instead of just skiing. We don't need a bump to turn on, even when we are skiing in the bumps. It's a liberating tactic. Sometimes it helps to have someone point out the obvious to me.
post #6 of 21
Originally posted by Ric B:
We (I) tend to get caught up in skiing "bumps" instead of just skiing. We don't need a bump to turn on, even when we are skiing in the bumps. It's a liberating tactic. Sometimes it helps to have someone point out the obvious to me.
I can't agree more, as I tend to have the same tendency. Sometimes in bumps I get in a rhythm ... bump, turn .. bump, turn .. bump, turn ... I get mesmerized by it. Then I hit a big flat spot and I forget to turn. I find it takes discipline to make myself turn on those flat spots. I find it easy to forget and I have to constantly remind myself.
post #7 of 21
If I can do the transition on the soft patches, skiing these runs is not too bad, and it certainly gets me looking ahead for the next landing/launchpad. In-between I'm going through the motions but not in a state of grip, just touch. I'm aiming for the soft patch of snow that the scraping of other people's skis is replenishing on every run.
post #8 of 21
Gosh, everyone so far has added great tips. Some other ideas...

Go into each bump from the side, turn on and around it and come out the bottem (some call this the "in the sidedoor out the backdoor line").

Sometimes if the bumps are really elongated and you still want to ski the fall line, ski down the spines. Make at least two turns across the spine of each bump. The trick to this line is not getting stuck in a trough when you get to the next bump. You can also try this same technique if you see bridges between the bumps. Try staying high all the time on the bridges and spines and make lots of small turns back and forth on the ridges.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the tips and welcomes. Deep down, I guess I knew there was no quick and easy solution to those conditions.

Bob Barnes: Short turns on ice were never my forte, but since I started using bump skis (with dull edges and no sidecut), ice has become a nightmare! I will probably get the skis tuned. What bevel setup do you recommend? Do you have any good drills to help fine tune my carving technique?

Pierre: you suggested that a wider stance is better. How do you avoid getting hung up in the troughs with a wide stance?
post #10 of 21
I would say Bob is right on. Im not an instructor, but am a former mogul competitor,so my language may not be spot on. try to keep the skis going in the proper direction into the bump. almost hold the position you want to be in when you do get to the next mogul. this will keep your form clean. either that, another little trick, as someone else said, is to throw a little (very quick) turn on the flat, and then back the way you want to be heading into the next bump. sometimes its not even a full turn but more of a poleplant/unweighting into the opposite direction, then back into position to absorb the next one. make any sense at all??
post #11 of 21
Pierre: you suggested that a wider stance is better. How do you avoid getting hung up in the troughs with a wide stance?
I realize that I am a lone shark out there touting a wide stance in bumps. I do not ski bumps like anyone else that I know.

With you're feet apart you can properly guide the ski tips anywhere you want them to go. If you're feet are together you are pretty well stuck with pivoting or round brushing of the tails.

Either way pivoting or brushing, you extend (reach) for the next bump, absorb the bump and end up in a very anticipated position. When you release that anticipated position, the skis quickly pivot into the fall line and you go up and over the shoulder of the next bump.

With a wider stance, I tilt forward down the hill to start my turns and I don't use nearly as much counter. As a result, I do not build up much anticipation. There is no quick pivot and my skis are free to flow and do not get stuck. With no anticipation, I am not forced over the top/shoulder of the bump.

I have seen many areas in the western resorts where the bumps are not tight enough to end up with an anticipated position with a narrow stance but those conditions do not exist in the midwest or east.

If you are a young pup, everything that I have said may not appeal to you. I realize for many that the anticipation is half the fun.

Snowboarders do wonders for the bumps. They are the unsung heros of the bump grooming world. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #12 of 21
Rightcoast, it was a former national mogal competitor that gave me that advice, to simply throw a turn in there.

Pierre, I don't think you are the lone ranger on having a wider than feet together stance. Looking at some video of myself sking bumps last week it was very evident that my stance wasn't feet together. I had a natural hip wide stance, which wasn't working too bad for me.
post #13 of 21
ric-ok... so my advice isnt as good? i dont know what youre saying here...
post #14 of 21
rightcoast I don't think Ric is saying anything. You're advice may be very appropriate in this case. We do not know what DT's idea of skiing bumps is. If his idea of the perfect bump skiing is rippin down the ziperline and throwin some air here and there, you're advice is good.

On the other hand if he looks at bumps and sees a traction machine in his mind, you're advice is less appropriate.

I doubt my advice would be welcome on some of the younger forums like Powder.
post #15 of 21
To many people rely on the bump to slow their speed down especially when skiing bumps that are unevenly spaced. Skiing a nice line of bumps and then all of a sudden, there is a big space in between. The tendency is to straight line it to the next bump to start turning again. Problem is by doing this you've gained more speed than you wanted to and don't feel comfortable anymore, causing a bail out or a loss of balance. A combo called "runnawaytruckin" and a traverse across the slopes to check your pants, put everything back together, pick a new line and start a new line of bumps. We've all been there now haven't we? To most, it's a lack of confidence. To some, it's a lack of physical ability. (stop and rest) To others, it's a fear of going to fast i'd better bail out before I really crash. To still others, it's a fear of looking foolish to the more experienced bump guru's on the lift line.
These are all reasons why people don't like to ski bumps in the first place. My most enjoyable times spent at crowded Resorts are on the bump runs where most of the time you have them all to yourself instead of dodging the masses on the blue groomers. Especially on powder days and spring corn where the snow helps control your speed and technique.

I think the best answer to this question, and an answer already given, was givin to me by a very good friend and undoubtedly the best bumper i've evry skied with, "throw another turn in there" or two if you have room" keep the same rythem and look ahead to the next bump line, time your turns and keep going. Don't try a skid turn speed check here. It's only going to get you out of whack, your hands behind you, your tips up, and we all know what's going to happen next don't we?

Most importantly, keep skiing the moguls. They are the most enjoyable, most demanding part of any Resort. To enjoy the entire mountain experience, you must ski them. There is more than one proper way to ski moguls. Whichever one works for you is the right one.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
Pierre - Of the two options you listed, I definitely fall more in the zipperline crowd. The zipperline is just the line I was taught to ski in the bumps. I've never tried to ski a carved line with a wide stance, although it sounds challenging.

Lars: Your post comes across pretty condescending but it was probably unintentional.

thanks to everyone else for the advice. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #17 of 21
Originally posted by rightcoast:
ric-ok... so my advice isnt as good? i dont know what youre saying here...
Just thought you might find it interesting that the advice I got once and passed on here was also from a mogul competitor. You said esentialy the same thing, and you are a mogul competitor. It's good advice coming from the same direction, outside of "instructorville". Sorry if you felt I was diminishing your post, that wasn't my intent. Just trying to add weight to it.
post #18 of 21
Didn't try to sound condesending at all and sorry if I came across that way. Just trying to replay some common faults of all bump skiers not necessarily you. But, in answer to your question throw a turn or two in between the bumps if the space allows. Especially if you are a zipperline bumper.

Welcome to the Forum and as a new poster, you don't really know any of us here so don't take offense to what is said. We are all here to help.
post #19 of 21
There are long firm hard pack smooth flats between bumps and then there is really really hard smooth hard pack between bumps. We are not talking about nicely shaped bumps that are smooth hard firm ice on a cold spring morning but rather those useless long flat icy slabs between mounds. Would not call them "moguls". At a certain point with enough iciness and steepness, I can only do my best sideways breaking skidding down to the next mound. Since I ski bumps for fun, I choose to avoid slopes with such lousy hard snow as it is unpleasant. One other thing is I've noticed such conditions tend to form on mogul slopes that are occasionally groomed. For that reason I hate to see good bump slopes EVER groomed. -David
post #20 of 21
"One other thing is I've noticed such conditions tend to form on mogul slopes that are occasionally groomed. For that reason I hate to see good bump slopes EVER groomed"

Actually, I think those long flat icy slabs form when enough people skid their skis rather than turn them in the bumps. They try a turn, sit back, loose control, then skid through the next two bumps. Novice boarders especially make a huge "contribution" to those long icy flat slabs. When bumps are small, it makes it possible for skidders to skid their board/skis through bumps, erasing them into flat ice slabs. When bumps become bigger, it is less possible to skid through them.
post #21 of 21
sorry, thanks. hope my advice helps you out a little.
just keep working out the kinks, eventually, it becomes more of an instinct of what your body knows it has to do to not explode out of the line.
wierd, but true.
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