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Need bump / mogul skiing help - analysis!!! Stuck at a level and cannot seem to improve.

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 


Hi...I've been skiing for years now, for the most part self taught (probably developed some bad habits), and I love the bumps.  I'd probably be rated a level "8" skier.  99% of my bump skiing is east coast, and I love spring bumps the best.  My goal is to get the hang of zipper line bump skiing down...eventually. 

My problem is that I never seem to be able to improve my bump skiing from year to year.  Once in a while I'll figure something new which helps me to improve.  However, even from watching videos of myself (while I can identify some of my technical issues) I do not have the expertise to identify what is the causation of the problems, nor which of faults in my technique are most important to correct.  Most importantly once I've identified my technical problems I lack the expertise to identify ways to correct those faults and the drills or tips which can help me correct my technique. 

About the above posted links...not great quality, some are better than others, but they should suffice.  The first three were taken on a slope with a decent grade in 2008, the second three...in 2009, were taken on a pretty flat slope. 

My skis - I have been using 2001 Dynastar Speed SX at 178 cm (slalom ski, probably too long for me).  For this year I have new skis, 2008/09 Dynastar Contact 10s, 165 cm.  I'm a bit nervous that they might be a bit too heavy for me, I guess I'll find out come December.

Stats - I'm 28, 145 lbs, 5' 7", a bit out of shape which means out of a full day, I can only ski aggressively for 2 or 3 hours before tiring.

Any analysis, pointers, suggestions, drills, exercises would be greatly appreciated!!!

Let it rip!
post #2 of 35
Thread Starter 
Should I have posted this with a title "MA request"  ...need help improving bump skiing technique...???
post #3 of 35
Nah - don't worry - we'll figure it out ok. Things are a little slow in the summer, but you'll get some feedback soon.
post #4 of 35
Thread Starter 
Ugh...the videos appear to be in fast motion for some reason...I'll try to figure out a better way to post them.
post #5 of 35
First, there are plenty of folks who would love to ski moguls as well as you do. I like your speed and that you don't get kicked around by the moguls. Some would easily call several segments in these clips zipper line skiing. These are nice, but you want to make them even more exciting?

Definitely the shorter skis will help. You could go even shorter, but I know how painful this is so enjoy your new Dynastars. I'm 5' 10" 230+. I ski 165 and 168s. Over the years I've gone from 205s down to 165 about 5-10cm at a time. Every time I've done it, I was kicking myself the whole way. For fun, try some snowblades or <120cm skis in the bumps sometime.

The main thing that I'd like to see is to be more aggressive moving your weight forward to drive the ski tips down the back sides of the moguls. In several of the clips you can see a lot of air underneath the tips. One of the clips shows you bent forward at the waist. There are times when you need to get your knees up to your chest, but try to keep from the waist to the head vertical. When you are not moving the center forward, getting bent forward is a natural result. The traditional exercise for this is a high speed traverse across the bumps where you try to keep your feet glued to the snow and your belt line to head continuously stuck at the same elevation off the average slope surface. But eventually you need to find a low angle mogul run (or a flat section of a run, or flatten a run by picking a "zipper line" across the trail) and straight run it with your upper body while you pound it with your lower body. The trick when you are doing this to not get your skis too across the hill for speed control. Try to let snow contact/absorption be the primary speed control. You're getting close to this point, but you're doing it from a tiny fraction in the back seat.

Do you want to get a feel for the effect of moving your CM just a tiny bit forward or back in your turns? Try the thousand shuffles drill (on a groomed run). Make turns constantly shuffling your feet back and forth a tiny bit. You'll find that doing this through the turn transition is hard. When you can do it smooth, you'll know what I mean about moving forward more. Start the drill doing shuffles all the way through every turn. Transition to just shuffling through the transition.

I'd also like to see more edging/carving and less skidding/edge check. Edge check needs to be in the repertoire, but carving is what helps you zipper on steeper gnarlier runs, My first recommendation here is railroad tracks (again on a grommed run). Leave pencil thin tracks in the snow - no skidding. To do this you can only turn as a result of tipping your feet instead of twisting your feet to cause the turn. The second recommendation is cowboy turns. Ski with your feet greater than shoulder width apart. Again, you'll need to be moving weight forward to make an edge change, but in these turns you'll get a much stronger feel for tipping at the feet to cause a turn. If you're not doing cowboy turns right, you'll feel like you have to force the skis to turn. When you can do rr tracks and cowboy turns easily, you can bring those tipping movements into your bump skiing and add "scarving" (a carved turn with some skidding, no edge check) to your speed control toolkit.

So there are 3 drills you can try (roller coaster, 1000 shuffles and cowboy turns). They won't magically make you a better bump skier, but they can help you get farther down the road to that destination. If you want to get there quicker, you might want to consider investing in some in person coaching. You're ready for a camp.
post #6 of 35
The videos are also playing in fast forward for me.

You are skiing the moguls very well. From what I can tell you are doing to much with your upper body. Their is a slight amount of counter tipping with your upper body. When you do this you look to be thrown slightly off your line. Keep your upper body silent the only movements are your lower arms for pole planting. You could also probably benefit from shorter poles. Yours are long enough they are contributing to knocking you ever so slightly off balance with every pole plant.

Things to work on, get lower, let your legs move up and down more. You are a little to rigid and stiff. Drop your hips and do not be afraid to let your legs move upwards letting your knees come into your chest. Also let those legs move side to side without moving your body side to side. By getting lower it will also make it easier to drive your tips down the backsides of the moguls. Right now when you go to drive your tips down the back of a mogul your are very close to full extension before you reach the bottom of the trough. The upright position you have is the position you need when you are at the bottom of the trough. When you absorb the next mogul you should be bending at your hips knees and ankles to allow your upper body to not move vertically.  

There are a few drills you can do on the groomers to help you out but I am horrible at describing them online.

For good zipper line technique ask the guys at http://forums.mogulskiing.net/

Edited by CR0SS - 6/26/2009 at 01:04 am GMT
post #7 of 35
Thread Starter 
OK...fixed the speed problem on the videos - deleted the old ones and re-posted the links below. 

Thanks for the analysis and advice so far!  I can't believe what a great resource this website is.  I will also definitely check out the mogul skiing forums as well!


post #8 of 35
We can always find something that we can improve in our skiing, especially after looking at ourselves on video, but that's some pretty nice skiing, IMO. Where was that video taken? It looks familiar.
post #9 of 35


Welcome to Epic!


You have a lot of good things going on in your bump skiing.  Some of what you have are items that are hard to learn, so you are way ahead of the game there.  Some good comments above including more range of motion, quieter upper body, more ski/snow engagement, and more defined turn shape.

There are several items that I think wil help you.  First and most important is body position.  You tend to get a litle back on your skis, which is better in the bumps than too far forward.  I would like to see a more neutral and centered position over the center of the skis.  From there, you can have shin/tongue of the boot contact.  This will alow you to flex from the ankle joint and not just from the knee and hip.  The other bump forums will tell you the same thing.  This wil also help with the A&E (absorbition & extension) and get a better range of motion.

The second item is hand positions and hand movements.  After you plant your pole, your hand drops back some and then the other hand has to get ready to plant.  Work on always having both hands ready to plant.  As one hand is planting, the other hand is ready and in position.

Where do you mostly ski in the East?  Maybe we can do some bump skiing together sometime.


post #10 of 35
Nice skiing. My goal for this winter is to learn this.
post #11 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi again.  I've been living out near Boston for the past several years so when I had a chance to ski it was mostly in New Hampshire.  This year I've moved closer to where I grew up and thus I'll be skiing at places in Vermont mostly.  Usually Mount Snow is where I wind up skiing, simply because it is only about an hour away.  I do occasionally ski at Okemo and Killington but I more often than not avoid them as they both are so crowded.  Last season I tried Sugarbush and loved it, so I'll probably be headed back there a few times.  I also want to try places like MRG (if there is good enough snow), Jay, Whiteface, Sugarloaf and a couple more NH areas like Cannon and Wildcat, problem with most of these places is they are so far away.

Ron where do you mostly ski?  Is southern Vermont close for you?

post #12 of 35
Thread Starter 
japril...its tough to learn isn't it!?  Its so addicting tho...  I've found you can get to a certain level but need instruction and help fine tuning the skills and mastering them.  I'm hoping with a bit of determination, the advice above, and eventually maybe a lesson or two I can get it down.
post #13 of 35
Raq --

Coupla bits of advice:

1) Hands & poleplants.
     - For moguls, you need to get your hands up in front of your chest in bench-press position and keep them there.  The hands never move at all -- completely still and quiet. 

     - You move your poles by swinging them like pendulums from the wrist.  Only the wrist moves.  You gotta loft the basket of the pole over the top of the upcoming mogul and then tap the basket backward onto the backside of the bump after it has crossed the top.

     - You are planting on the frontside of each mogul (i.e. Bumps 09 1 at :08).  You actually need to plant on the backside.  When you plant on the frontside, the mogul kicks your hand up & backward.  When you are patient and wait until the basket has crossed the top of the bump, then you can tap quickly backward and away.

     - There's a drill you can do during the summer to get your hands squared away.  Go jogging with your ski poles. (Seriously!  ;) )  Get your hands into proper mogul skiing position.  I.e. in front of your chest, at a comfortable width.  Now your hands are not allowed to move from that position.  You can do anything you want with your wrists, but you can't reach out with your elbows or anything.  Swing at the wrists only. 
          - Jog slowly along as if you were skiing.  Pick rocks or branches on each side as moguls, alternating right and left
          - As you come up to each obstacle, swing the pole forward and upward so the basket travels over the top of the "bump".  Once the basket has passed the top of the obstacle, tap it backward exactly as if you were planting for a ski turn.  As one pole comes backward to make the tap, the other pole swings forward to get ready for the next turn on the other side
          - Now what's gonna happen after you make that backward tap is that your hand that just planted will tend to drop downward and backward.  That's because you've forgotten about it and are now focusing on the new forward hand, which is getting ready for the new poleplant.  Don't let the off-hand get away from you.  Push it forward to keep it in proper position in front of your chest.  This is called "off-hand drive".  After you've done this for awhile you'll start to feel when the off-hand is creeping down, which it will start to do the instant you stop thinking about it.  Eventually you'll build up the muscle memory to keep the hand in place in front of your chest.
          - If you take your poles jogging about 5-10 times you should get the hang of this and it will get your hands and polework really set for next season in the bumps

2) Absorption & extension.  Work on learning more Absorption & Extension (A&E), like Rusty said up there.  What this means is that when you are at the top/crest of each bump, you gotta have your knees bent.  So at the crest, when the mogul is highest, you are lowest.  In the trough, when the mogul is lowest, you are stretched out to your tallest.  I think in your vids you have some of this but it's not really consistent (i.e. Bumps 09 1 at 0:10 shows you tall at the crest, which is when you should actually be short with knees bent)
     - A guy on the Development Squad for the US Mogul Team gave me a really clear, simple description of exactly when and how to do this.  You ski up to the crest of the mogul.  The instant the toe-piece of your binding crosses the crest, you pull your heels straight up towards your butt.  That does 2 things for you: (a) heels come up, which swings the ski tips to point downward parallel to the snow to maintain snow contact; (b) knees bend so your legs are cocked and have space to extend downward into the next trough

     - And now the key part is in fact the Extension.  After you pulled your heels up, you gotta **instantly** straighten your legs back downward.  Like **lightning fast**.  The extension happens at the same time you are rotating your foot to rotate the ski to its angle for the next turn
     - So the cadence of skiing with A&E is approx: EXTEND REALLY FAST - wait a moment to rise to crest - plant pole - pull up heels - EXTEND INSTANTLY
     - And when you get it going really well you are basically thinking only of the extensions because they drive the pace of your turns.  So at medium or high speed what it really feels like is EXTEND REALLY FAST - EXTEND REALLY FAST - EXTEND REALLY FAST

     - This is happening while the upper body stays quiet and the poles do their quick swinging work because you've gotten them squared away with that separate drill.


post #14 of 35

How tall are you?  How long are your poles?

You might try 5cm or even 10cm shorter poles to help bring you forward in the bumps.
post #15 of 35
That is what I see - poles too long.

It's good skiing though.

Clearly you are in the back seat and that needs to change.  What has always helped me is to stand tall with good posture and to pull those heals back.  From this position it is easier to keep the skis on the snow going to the next bump.  There is disagreement about "gas pedaling", but I like to do it.  That means actively pushing the ski down the back of the bump.  It's worth a try, even if you use it only as a drill.

Your willingness to stay in the falline is an indication of your potential.  My opinion, you could be a real good bumper.

I always like to acknowledge when I post on MAs that I am not a ski instructor.
post #16 of 35
Originally Posted by PomfretPlunge View Post

2) Absorption & extension.  Work on learning more Absorption & Extension (A&E), like Rusty said up there.  What this means is that when you are at the top/crest of each bump, you gotta have your knees bent.  So at the crest, when the mogul is highest, you are lowest.  In the trough, when the mogul is lowest, you are stretched out to your tallest.  I think in your vids you have some of this but it's not really consistent (i.e. Bumps 09 1 at 0:10 shows you tall at the crest, which is when you should actually be short with knees bent)
     - A guy on the Development Squad for the US Mogul Team gave me a really clear, simple description of exactly when and how to do this.  You ski up to the crest of the mogul.  The instant the toe-piece of your binding crosses the crest, you pull your heels straight up towards your butt.  That does 2 things for you: (a) heels come up, which swings the ski tips to point downward parallel to the snow to maintain snow contact; (b) knees bend so your legs are cocked and have space to extend downward into the next trough

I like this.
post #17 of 35

Ron where do you mostly ski?  Is southern Vermont close for you?

I teach at Windham Mountain and ski Hunter Mt. on my day off.  I do get to southern Vt. some.  Either Killington or Sugarbush. Sugarbush has some of the best bumps anywhere.

Killington is about 4 hours and sugarbush is about 5 hours for me.

post #18 of 35

Pomfret has good advice and a little more indepth on the same items I mentioned.  Nice post!

post #19 of 35
I rarely post,however, this thread caught my interest. There are some things here I agree with and some that I disagree with.

At age 54 I'm not much of a bump skier, however, having taught at Winter Park for some time I think I've learned a little about mogul skiing.

Let me start by saying I like what I see on the video.

Here are the things I would do.

1) I agree with several things mentioned. Your poles are a little long and the vast majority of your pole plants are "blocking". Think in terms of a touch not a plant. I agree your poles are way too long. I ski bumps best when I focus on keeping my elbows ahead of my ribs. I also agree that you should focus on touching later. Keep one pole swinging forward as one is swinging back.

2) I don't think shorter skiis will help. The best bumpers I know ski on relatively long skiis. They feel it helps with their fore aft balance. It creates more platform. I also vehemently disagree that bump skiing involves much carving. I think the bias is towards a flat ski. Allow the terrain to direct your feet

3) Lastly. It appears you have a lot of tail pushing going on. Think more in terms of turning the tips as opposed to pushing the tails.

As I said......good skiing. Find an instructor at your local mountain who's skiing you like and see if you two connect well interms of his/her teaching. BTW the best bump skier that I know is a woman by the name of Jenn Metz. She is very, very smooth. The right connection in terms of teaching is critical. There are a lot of great skiers who don't teach particularly well.

Good luck.....you're on the right track. 
post #20 of 35
Well thantyou very much Rusty Guy. You are in my opinion, right on with your entire post. Especially paragragh 2.

I usually chime in in these bump question threads but didn't here cause I figured people are sick of my bump tips. (a few instructors)

To me, tail pushing is also a defensive tactic of trying to control speed as well as blocking pole plants instead of directional. But, this guy is on the right track and I applaud anyone who wants to get better in moguls.

Stand tall, hands in front and high, plant the downhill side of the bump, attack don't defend.
post #21 of 35
It's not easy to find a good bump instructor.
post #22 of 35
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

It's not easy to find a good bump instructor.
I agree. I also suggest there are a myriad of ways to approach bump skiing.

I tell my clients that if they ever take a lesson and the instructor says there is ONE WAY to ski bumps fire the instructor because he/she is myopic.

I try to be open to various ways to skin the proverbial cat.

I would also suggest technique and tactics change depending upon conditions. Six inches of fresh snow at Mary Jane can make anyone a fairly good bump skier. Two weeks of dry weather makes many of our bump runs pretty tough.

I tell my clients the very best way to get better in bumps is to.................ski a lot of bumps!
post #23 of 35
Raq --

Couple more thoughts:

1) Vid pointers.  Three items to look at -- all in Bumps 08 3 at 0:02.

     - Primary cause #1.  Stance.  You need to be perpendicular to the slope.  The vid shows you standing nice and tall -- but you are parallel to the video frame, not perpendicular to the slope.  You gotta get yourself leaning down the hill.  Don't bend at the waist to do this.  Instead, take that nice tall stance and lean it all down the hill.  It's waaayy scary at first, but it gets you on the front of your skis instead of on the tails, and it gives you shin pressure in your boots instead of heel pressure.

     - Drill for stance:
             - Get into your skis on a totally flat place, like at the top of the slope or by the lift.
             - Pretend you are a skijumper.  Lean waaaay forward in your boots so your face is way out over the tips of your skis.  You should feel the tongues of your boots pressing on your shins and holding you up with a nice springy feeling.  Your hips are like a foot forward of your feet, and your face is above the tips of your skis.  You can even lift the tails of your skis slightly off the ground
             - Now, leaving your hips where they are (leaned out in front of your boots), crank your upper body back to vertical at the waist.  Use your back muscles to do this
             - Now bend your knees slightly to take the tension off your knees
             - You are now in mogul stance.  It feels weird, but it works.  You've got your hips forward.  You've got shin pressure on your boots.  You've got your upper body tall and vertical.  You've got your knees springy & slightly flexed.  You've got all your weight on the front half of your ski.  You can go back to the tail if & when you need to, but basically you spend most of your time like this.  This will feel weird for half a season and then you'll get used to it and it will feel natural

     - Primary cause #2.  Hips should face squarely downhill at all times.  In Bumps 08 3, your hips and as a result your whole body are actually turned somewhat toward the camera operator.  That's correct for your skis, but wrong for your body.  Your skis should be pointed over here toward the camera, but your body should be turned straight down the fall line at all times.  If you were doing it right, in this frame we would see your upper body in profile.  So we would see your left shoulder, left hip, left side only.  We wouldn't see your chest, right hip, or right shoulder.  We would see the skis of course, cause they're in good position.

     - Drill #1 for keeping hips facing down the fall line:
             - Ski slow traverses across the slope.  Make easy round turns at each side of the slope
             - Pick an object far away down the slope and look at it.  Like a tree 100 yards away or a tower on the horizon or whatnot
             - As you make each turn, point at the object with your new uphill hand.  So if you are turning left (right ski is new downhill ski) point at the object with your left hand all the way through your turn and thruout your traverse.  If you are turning right (left ski is new downhill ski) point at the object with your right hand all the way thru your turn
             - This should feel pretty un-natural.  You should feel a twisting feeling in your torso, because your habits want your hips and torso to turn with your skis, but the pointing hand is forcing the torso to stay pointing down the fall line
             - Do this drill until the opposing twist feels loose and natural.  It's gonna take awhile

        - Drill #2 for keeping hips facing down the fall line:  Pivot-slips while making sure hips & shoulders stay square down the fall line
        - Drill #3 for keeping hips facing down the fall line:  Javelin turns (short-radius turns lifting uphill ski completely off the snow, while thinking hard about keeping hips and shoulders square down the fall line)

     - Primary cause #3.  Left hand has dropped.  This frame is a good example of the off-hand creeping away from you when you focus on the upcoming poleplant.  Your right hand is nicely positioned (although I can tell you're aiming to plant on da frontside of da bump when you actually gotta go over da top and tap lightly on da backside).  But your left hand should be up next to the righthand.  Get it up there, bro.  The offhands are always gonna creep away from you until you do 5-10 dryland jogging sessions with nothing to work on but your poles.

          - Drill for hands:  Dryland jogging with skipoles.  You can even walk BTW when you get outta breath.  The key things are:
          - Hold the hands up at all times
          - Swing poles from the wrists only -- elbows forbidden to move in the drill (some minor motion fine when really skiing)
          - Pick obstacles as simulated "moguls" on alternating sides and polebasket must go Over them before you plant.  No planting In Front -- only Over
          - Plants are light taps -- not full blocking plants
          - The cadence for each plant is tap-and-drive, tap-and-drive, tap-and-drive
          - When you get this right, you will feel a moment of leverage just as you make the tap and your off-hand moves forward.  It feels kinda like the hand motion you use when you shift your car from 2nd gear into 3rd.  The gearshift handle was back in 2nd, with the lever slanted forward.  You shifted the handle forward to 3rd and your wrist rotates back because the lever is now slanted backward.  Similar wrist motion in bumps.  After you plant (very light tap!), you gotta move your hand forward and tilt the pole from a forward slant to a backward slant

2) There is good adult mogul instruction at the Mogul Logic camps.  There's usually a spring session at Sugarbush in the first week of April.  It's full of people in their 20s thru 50s all working on learning bumps, with really great coaching

3) You can try to hook up with bump skiers in your area.  Check out Epicski meetups, mogulskiing.net, your local ski forums, etc.  Then you can ski with peeps during the season and get coaching.  We have a group of 5+ bumpers down in the DC area and get together about once a week during the season, it's really fun and everybody has techniques & pointers to share


Edited by PomfretPlunge - 7/9/2009 at 05:38 pm GMT
Edited by PomfretPlunge - 7/9/2009 at 07:23 pm GMT
Edited by PomfretPlunge - 7/9/2009 at 07:28 pm GMT
post #24 of 35
There are many helpful suggestions here.
However, everyone takes to different suggestions in different ways.
I will give you the three pieces of advice (all of which are mentioned above already) that helped me - and perhaps my description will put it in a way that you can internalize better. 

One: Push the Tips down the front of the mogul/Pull Up the tails as you push down the tips.  Of course, these two things are one in the same thing - two different parts of the ski - but when I first got this piece of advice in a way that I understood it - it was emphasized to me to PUSH the tips of the skis down the front of the mogul.  This is one of PomfretPlunge's main points of advice.  Pushing the tips down the front of the mogul keeps the SKIS on the snow - keeps you stable on the skis.  Emphasizing this part of the motion can help you avoid being bounced up and out of a secure position off the top of the mogul.  Doing this frankly feels kind of backwards when you first try it - but persevere - it WILL feel more stable and you will feel much more in control.

This, of course, also requires a more forward position - so the advice of being more forward given above is also good advice.  If you are back - and push your ski tips down the downhill face of the mogul - you will be thrown even more backward and more out of balance.  If you are forward - your weight forward on the tips will help you keep the front of the skis on the snow - and make you more secure.

Two: Turn with pressure on the tips - not by swinging the tails around.  Again - this tip relates to the first tip - and the posture comments.  If you keep your pressure forward - and push the tips down on the snow on the downhill side of the mogul, you CAN initiate turns using pressure on the tips.  If your ski tips are up off of the snow, it is difficult to initiate turns from the tips.  Also, forward posture helps keep the tips down on the snow where they can initiate turns - and so that you can PUSH the front tips onto the snow on the front (downhill) side of the mogul.

Watching you ski - you are obviously strong, athletic, and comfortable on skis - which are all the most important things.  Slight adjustments in posture and technique can make you feel even MORE comfortable - and may reduce the strength required to hold you on line - which will make it easier to ski even more aggressively because your strength can be put into skiing harder - rather than holding yourself on your line.

Good luck.
post #25 of 35
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

I just wanted to let you know I haven't been online much due to the season but I'm very very impressed and grateful for all the tips, analysis, and instruction you have offered.  I just started a new job so time is tight but over the next few months in preparation for the upcoming season I'll be reading and researching more about your advice and instruction.  From time to time I'll come back, likely with more specific questions about your instructions and technical discussions.  

Again, much thanks and I will definitely keep you all posted on my progress and feedback from the learning process over the fall and into the ski season!


post #26 of 35

Hey Racqua247,
Looks like you are well on your way to becoming a competent mogul skier.  Lot's of good tech tips so far, so I will add my two cents from a more general overall perspective, accepting that there may be some repetition from previous posts. The two attached videos demonstrate my points.

I would suggest you get your elbows up. Do this by widening your arm position and rotating your elbows up with your palms facing each other. Plant on top of each mogul. I hear a lot about planting on the downhill side of the mogul, but in real-life, recreational mogul skiing that really does not happen or work well in my experience. To make quick light pole plants use the flick, stab, and release plant, where all the action is generated by the wrist flicking back and forth in the vertical plane, with a bit of elbow extension.(see video). Open your hand grip to flick pole out by cocking wrist back, close hand grip by rotating wrist forward and downward to pull pole back from "quick light stab" (the plant).

With elbows up and arms held wide apart,  push your hands further out in front of you, getting away from that "Dinosaur-esque short arm in-close-to-body" look. With your arms further out in front of you it becomes easier to keep your body perpendicular to the slope. This will also allow you to stay in balance more easily and free up your lower body to make the right movements without fighting against your upper body. Keep your upper body facing down the fall line, and try to develop more lower body angulation, getting your skis more on edge from turn to turn with your legs going further out from under the body, side-to-side (see videos). Skiing with your arms wide, out in front, and elbows high feels weird at first, but it will benefit you. 

Don't get locked into the ruts, try skiing the sides and tops of the moguls. In natural mogul fields look for the open white spaces to make turns on (find this area by skiing over the top of the mogul). This will help you a lot in random natural mogul runs with pitch. If you can only ski in the ruts, the mountain will dictate your line. If you can learn to ski all over the mogul, you can dictate your own path. Practice on easy mogul runs and on groomed runs. Groomed runs are a great place to program your body to do all the right movements needed for mogul skiing. 

Finally, make sure you put the most pressure down on the front of your skis at the end of the turn. To do this correctly you will need to be in a boot that allows your ankle to easily flex forward.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwvSfitjG9w  This video shows good lower leg angulation, but skiing is mainly in ruts. 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scLlZ5E-zCQ  This video shows turns in ruts, on sides, and over top onto the open white spaces.

post #27 of 35
G'luck, Raq!
post #28 of 35
Looking at the video and reading the feedback gives the impression that bump skiing is a world of its own. IMO its not. Want to get better in the bumps, improve your overall skills and then apply them in the bumps. Basicly bumps are nothing else than uneven terrain. IMO the OP should not continue to ski bumps to get better in the bumps. He should work some on his basic technique and then go back into the bumps. The reason he is stuck is because he has reached some limit of some sort. I have notissed over the years as an instructor that skiers tend to "specialize" thinking that even though they are no good at lets say bumps they still can ski powder and so they do just that and they want to take lessons to improve doing only that. Fact is that good skiers are good at all kind of terrain. They might not know it. Ive come across lots of such skiers. Mostly women. They are usually quite modest, they take lessons and pay attention and ski a lot of easy terrain. But they many times lack ambitions and currage. Something their fathers, brothers, boyfriends and husbands are full of. It might be easier to nail that forward stance and having the tips of the skis pressured and turning on a regular groomer first. But such advice will not take you very far even on a flat groomer so start thinking about even more basic things. When I see the OP skiing in his videos I see a person that is 100% dependent on the moguls to make his turns. This limitation makes a disturbance in the flow. Im not saying its no good because there is no one right way of skiing bumps or anything else for that matter. I simply suggest the OPs selfe claimed limitations are not necessarily bump related.
post #29 of 35
BTW which boots are you using?
Maybe too rigid for your present physical condition (that's my case btw) ?
post #30 of 35
Well, I can see that there are tons of advice here, but I wouldn't be much of an instructor if I didn't put in my two cents as well. I'm going to take my focus on my advice in a slightly different direction than most others have. You have said that you'd like to ski more of a zipper line. Zipper lining is a fun way to ski bumps, but remember its only one way to do it. PSIA doesn't teach a zipper method, and many instructors don't either, because we are teaching recreational skiers, not competitive racers. There is one thing to remember about zipper lining, and although it sounds blatantly obvious, it is something that bears mentioning. Zipper lining a bump run is extremely fast. I'm not saying this for a 'duh' factor, I'm saying it because it is important to keep in mind if that is your goal. In order to zipper a run, you need to be comfortable going extremely fast through a bump field. If you're not, then practicing more conventional methods for a while is going to be a good thing to do. So, based on your videos, here's my advice to get more towards a zipper line.

1. Most importantly, you need to utilize much more flexion and extension in your lower body. Your knees should be taking up all of the bump, so that none of that energy gets transmitted into your upper body. However, you shouldn't be thinking about absorbing energy with your knees. This is because when you're zippering, you're looking to maintain and increase your speed, therefore keeping your energy moving down hill. The flexion and extension is to keep your center of gravity from being thrown upward by the bump, and keep your momentum moving down the fall line. People teaching bumps always use the analogy of a shock absorber in a car, but I'll put it another way. When a car is moving down a bumpy road, you watch the tires going up and down to absorb the bumps, while the car keeps going forward. The shock absorbers aren't absorbing the energy to slow the car down, they're dampening the upward forces of the bump so that the car can keep going forward. And just as important as dampening the upward force of the bump, you then have to drive your tips down as you clear the bump. You want to keep your skis in solid contact with the snow, for very obvious reasons.

2. Directly related to that, just like you need to get your lower body moving much more, you need to get your upper body moving a lot less. Your shoulders are turning, which ideally, they shouldn't do at all. Your shoulders should stay as close to facing directly down the fall line as you can manage. Since you are absorbing the up and down of the bumps with your knees and hips, your body shouldn't be bouncing up and down as you travel down the line.

3. And now related to that (seeing a theme here?), there is your hand positioning and your pole plants. In the videos,  your hands are dropping when you plant, and coming out to your side and back. This can never happen when you're in the bumps. You need to have your hands as far out in front of you as you can comfortably keep them. They shouldn't be going back and forth, and as was noted above, the action of the poles should come all from the wrist. However, the positioning I've always used for a pole plant is much different than what I've seen in the other posts. I've always taught my students that they should picture the bumps as polar bears, and they're all lying on their bellies, with their noses facing downhill. When you come over one polar bear, you're going to reach out and stick your pole up the next bear's butt (Graphic, but it works). So your plant comes on the backside of the bump, and then to keep your momentum forward and your hands in front, you punch over the bump as you pass your pole plant. I think the difference may have to do with the simple mechanics of speed... when you're going in a zipper, you need your pole down quicker, you can't wait for it to fly over the bump.

4. Next, there is the issue of the line you ski. In a zipper, your primary goal is to go through the bumps as fast as you can without killing yourself (usually). Since the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, you want to flatten out your line, and get it more down the fall line. I can tell you already know how to choose a line. Now when you choose that line, instead of seeing that herringbone pattern of the troughs, draw a straight line down the middle of the herringbone pattern. You want to stay as close to that line as you can.

5. Unlike what has been stated in previous posts, if you want to get into a good zipper, it is imperative to constantly be on the offensive against the mountain. You have to attack, and drive yourself forward through the bumps. Your weight should be more forward than it is other methods of skiing. Even as you hit the bump and it pushes you up and back, your shoulders and your center of gravity should be driving forward and down, over that bump and into the next. Zippering a line is probably the most aggressive style of skiing there is.

6. My last technique tip is about your legs. If you watch any competitive mogul skier, you will see that their lower body is super tight, with the knees locked together. You enter each bump with a nice tight lower body, but as you come up and over the bump, your legs separate until you're on the backside of the bump, where they come back together. In order to ski with good competitive form, your knees need to stay locked.

Now, these tips that I'm giving aren't going to jibe with some of the other tips given, and the reason for that is because I am addressing a very specific part of your post. You had mentioned getting to a 'zipper line', which is a highly specialized method of skiing bumps. My pointers are addressing the differences between your form right now, and an ideal competitive zipper. Frankly, zippering bumps isn't always the best, or even the most fun way to ski bumps in many cases. I can ski a decent zipper line, but I actually only do it maybe 1/3 of the time. It's a nice tool to have, but don't think it's the be-all and end-all for skiing bumps.

Last, let me give you a pointer on how to get yourself used to skiing a zipper. Find a solid line, ideally at the end of the mogul field. Start 6 or 7 bumps from the end of the line. Start the first couple bumps normally. Then tighten up into a zipper for the last 4 or 5 bumps. If you manage to get through those and feel okay, move it up a couple bumps. Keep moving up a couple bumps at a time as long as you are comfortable with it. Inevitably, there is going to come a point where you get to the last bump or two, and you feel like you're about to totally lose it, because you've built too much speed. When you get there, take it down a bump or two, and get a better feel there. Gradually work your way back up until you're doing longer and longer lines in the zipper.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Need bump / mogul skiing help - analysis!!! Stuck at a level and cannot seem to improve.