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How do moguls form

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I was wondering how moguls form. I have seen before that often by the end of a day a blue groomer will be rutted and will be forming what are starting to look like baby moguls. Most places will eventually goom those out. but if they are left would the eventually grow bigger and make full sized moguls? Do moguls always form natually as people ski or does it depend on the type of snow / slope of the hill or how the people ski (fast or slow, short / long turns,etc..)

The reson I am asking is that I am trying to improve my mogul skiing ability and I think there was some fameous bit of advice about "know your enemy" or whatever. I am on the cusp of level 8 skier as per the tests found in a few other threads. I think its probably BS since I still have so much to learn. To follow up on that, I am setting out this season to conquer the mogul fields. To sumarize my qualifications: I can do what I consider solid dynamic short turns. And these serve me well on a variety of terrain: Groomed, steeps, Ice, and most crud and slurpee mid-atlantic pow and just about any combo of those that I have found. I ski mostly the mid atlantic and we get mostly mid sized cone shaped moguls usually with ice, often on very narrow trails. Perhaps some only a few meters wide.

My problems on the icy moguls is that the way I ski Ice not really meshing with how I would ideally ski moguls. I ski icy steeps agressively heading straight down the fall line in shallow short turns, just enought edge to keep myself turning, so that if I have to stop I can i.e. still in control. If I happen across an obstruction coral reef refreze or cat tracks I sually jump/dodge em. This conflicts with the way I would ideally ski bumps which is to make enought turns in the bumps to keep my self going at a slow enough pace to keep turning while absorbing and keeping the skis on the snow. Not dodging the bumps but skiing on them. Basicly its hard since I don't want to carve deeply enough on ice which is necessary to shape my turns in a more rounded (slow path fast) manner. But until the season starts arround here I want to meditate on something else. Let me have it. How do moguls form?

[ November 18, 2003, 03:33 PM: Message edited by: TBONE ]
post #2 of 24
tbone,

Moguls form from skiers repeatedly skiing the same line. On every turn (except maybe for some pure carves on ice), some snow is getting pushed away from the ski. As people ski in the same line, the pushed snow builds up higher than the surrounding snow. As the snow builds up higher, more people ski around the higher snow and thus push more snow onto the higher snow.

Moguls truly create a personality of the mountain in the sense that they reflect what mix of skiers are on the trail. In the East, it's common for moguls to be a mix of many different sizes and shapes reflecting that skiers are not making rythmic turns. Where there are advanced skiers, you will often "zipper lines" where there are same size moguls evenly spaced in a stright line down the trail. I've seen moguls 8 foot tall because they were never groomed down and people never skied over the tops. And I've personally "trimmed" some moguls for fun. Crested Butte used to restrict a bump run to long skis only so that the bumps would retain more of an "old fashioned" character (i.e. would not be ruined by short skis).

If you get a chance some day when there's a short steep trail where the snow is soft and freshly groomed and there are not too many people on the hill, try making your own moguls. Make 10 runs back to back skiing exactly the same line, making hard "heavy" short radius turns. Try to skid a little and push snow. You should be able to create a rut 3 inches deep. Then as more people ski the trail, watch "your" bumps form throughout the day.

One might ask why moguls don't form on race courses. It's because it takes more than one path down the hill and the multiple paths must cross. In a race course, everybody (tries to) follows the same line. But on a regular trail, when skier comes across a bump in the snow, they have a choice to go left or right. They also could be either skidding as they are entering their turn or carving. The skidders are going to be adding snow to the top left or right of the bump. The carvers are going to be adding snow to the bump next to the one they are turning around.

Oops I forgot about the maniacs. They are ones that ski from mogul top to mogul top, landing on the uphill face of the bump. The snow they spray could be filling in the ruts or getting pushed all the way to the next bump over. But a cool thing about "mogul top" skiers is that they are using "absorption" as a means of speed control. It's a very "aggressive" way to go down the hill. It's tons of fun in fresh powder snow. And it's one way to survive an icy mogul run.

P.S. If you can get to Whitetail, I'll be glad to take run with you down "Bad Decision".
post #3 of 24
OK, just to get in "the standard explanation" before Fox beats me to the punch, didn't you know that moguls form when skiers and boarders who fall are avoided by other users of the trail.

Then, exactly as (the)Rusty described, snow is pushed on top of them, and eventually, the ones who don't get up in a timely fashion get covered over, more snow is made on top of them, more skiers avoid the even larger bump, etc., etc.

Respect is shown our fallen comrades by storing each mogul with great care over the summer, and replacing them all back in their original positions at the beginning of each ski season.

It's true. It really is.

Tom / PM
post #4 of 24
Is it true for the big ones that they actually take old Volkswagon beetles and bury them on the hill?
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by L7:
Is it true for the big ones that they actually take old Volkswagon beetles and bury them on the hill?
Absolutely [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #6 of 24
Good progression of thought -serious to humor - I am a burgioning bump skier also. thanks
Quote:
Originally posted by therusty:
tbone,

Moguls form from skiers repeatedly skiing the same line. On every turn (except maybe for some pure carves on ice), some snow is getting pushed away from the ski. As people ski in the same line, the pushed snow builds up higher than the surrounding snow. As the snow builds up higher, more people ski around the higher snow and thus push more snow onto the higher snow.

Moguls truly create a personality of the mountain in the sense that they reflect what mix of skiers are on the trail. In the East, it's common for moguls to be a mix of many different sizes and shapes reflecting that skiers are not making rythmic turns. Where there are advanced skiers, you will often "zipper lines" where there are same size moguls evenly spaced in a stright line down the trail. I've seen moguls 8 foot tall because they were never groomed down and people never skied over the tops. And I've personally "trimmed" some moguls for fun. Crested Butte used to restrict a bump run to long skis only so that the bumps would retain more of an "old fashioned" character (i.e. would not be ruined by short skis).

If you get a chance some day when there's a short steep trail where the snow is soft and freshly groomed and there are not too many people on the hill, try making your own moguls. Make 10 runs back to back skiing exactly the same line, making hard "heavy" short radius turns. Try to skid a little and push snow. You should be able to create a rut 3 inches deep. Then as more people ski the trail, watch "your" bumps form throughout the day.

One might ask why moguls don't form on race courses. It's because it takes more than one path down the hill and the multiple paths must cross. In a race course, everybody (tries to) follows the same line. But on a regular trail, when skier comes across a bump in the snow, they have a choice to go left or right. They also could be either skidding as they are entering their turn or carving. The skidders are going to be adding snow to the top left or right of the bump. The carvers are going to be adding snow to the bump next to the one they are turning around.

Oops I forgot about the maniacs. They are ones that ski from mogul top to mogul top, landing on the uphill face of the bump. The snow they spray could be filling in the ruts or getting pushed all the way to the next bump over. But a cool thing about "mogul top" skiers is that they are using "absorption" as a means of speed control. It's a very "aggressive" way to go down the hill. It's tons of fun in fresh powder snow. And it's one way to survive an icy mogul run.

P.S. If you can get to Whitetail, I'll be glad to take run with you down "Bad Decision".
post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by TBONE:
I was wondering how moguls form. I have seen before that often by the end of a day a blue groomer will be rutted and will be forming what are starting to look like baby moguls. Most places will eventually goom those out. but if they are left would the eventually grow bigger and make full sized moguls? Do moguls always form natually as people ski or does it depend on the type of snow / slope of the hill or how the people ski (fast or slow, short / long turns,etc..)

The reson I am asking is that I am trying to improve my mogul skiing ability and I think there was some fameous bit of advice about "know your enemy" or whatever. I am on the cusp of level 8 skier as per the tests found in a few other threads. I think its probably BS since I still have so much to learn. To follow up on that, I am setting out this season to conquer the mogul fields. To sumarize my qualifications: I can do what I consider solid dynamic short turns. And these serve me well on a variety of terrain: Groomed, steeps, Ice, and most crud and slurpee mid-atlantic pow and just about any combo of those that I have found. I ski mostly the mid atlantic and we get mostly mid sized cone shaped moguls usually with ice, often on very narrow trails. Perhaps some only a few meters wide.

My problems on the icy moguls is that the way I ski Ice not really meshing with how I would ideally ski moguls. I ski icy steeps agressively heading straight down the fall line in shallow short turns, just enought edge to keep myself turning, so that if I have to stop I can i.e. still in control. If I happen across an obstruction coral reef refreze or cat tracks I sually jump/dodge em. This conflicts with the way I would ideally ski bumps which is to make enought turns in the bumps to keep my self going at a slow enough pace to keep turning while absorbing and keeping the skis on the snow. Not dodging the bumps but skiing on them. Basicly its hard since I don't want to carve deeply enough on ice which is necessary to shape my turns in a more rounded (slow path fast) manner. But until the season starts arround here I want to meditate on something else. Let me have it. How do moguls form?
post #8 of 24
When skiing down a boarder field (or do I mean mogul run), make sure you make firm pole plants, if possible through the chest area of the boarder. Remove your pole baskets before you begin, as these can sometimes stick when trying to pull them back through the intercostal muscles.
You'll know you've got it right, cause firstly the mogul will look like this: :
then this:
and finally this: [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
If the mogul was a skier, the final one will be [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img] not [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

If this advice isn't to your liking, the best tip I can give you on skiing bumps is to count. It's how I try to build my confidence in them.
Start off at 5.
Count across 5 bumps then turn.
Count back 5 then turn.
Then take it down to 4, 3, and 2.
Once you've got a rhythm, then the next thing is to pick a line. Try to pick your turns 3 or 4 ahead, and then make them stick.

Hope this helps,

S
post #9 of 24
I've heard that being encased in a mogul can cause irrational anger that should be dealt with proactively. The skier should estimate about where the belly-button would be on the mogul and aim a crisp touch of the pole in that spot. Anticipate that the troll (inhabitants of moguls are called trolls) will awaken angrily and prepare to punch it in the nose. So the sequence for skiers in moguls is 1) poke 'em in the belly, 2) punch 'em in the nose. Crisply now.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for answering my question, rusty, and tanks for all the humor Bears. I almost fell out of my chair as I was reading, which would be bad since I am at work. They say in the cartoons if you can't beat em join em. And now I have even more added motivation to learn my mogul skills since with my next fall on a mogul run I may end up not just contributing to moguls, but as one of them, dependign on who hockey stops to say hi. [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]

[ November 19, 2003, 06:14 AM: Message edited by: TBONE ]
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally posted by TBONE:
Thanks for answering my question, rusty, and tanks for all the humor Bears. ...
You're welcome, but as usual, we all were totally outclassed by Nolo who combined humor with the elements of a real (and quite useful) mogul exercise. A search in the archives, or, even better, a quick demo by an instructor will fill in the missing details like exacty where the Troll's belly-button and nose are located, good punching methods, etc.

[img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

Tom / PM
post #12 of 24
[img]smile.gif[/img]
post #13 of 24
Actually pretty simple. After skiing and it gets dark, look up on the hill. Do you see those lights up there? Those are little people with lanterns, picks and shovels. They are making moguls! The big problem with mogul making is finding smaller people to make them because the skis are getting so damn short! [img]tongue.gif[/img] --Wigs
post #14 of 24
Yeah, but where do they hide the moguls in the summer? : :
post #15 of 24
Do you part to help in the formation of moguls!

Any time you see a person sitting down in the middle of the slope, they obviously want to be a mogul. Why else would an ignoramous do such a thing?
So, just do a nice hockey stop before them to help get the snow building up on top of them. They will soon fulfill their dream and be a mogul.
post #16 of 24
I think they send many of the little ones to "Mogul camps" in the summer, but I'm not sure what they do with the adult ones.

Tom / PM
post #17 of 24
News just in...
If a daddy and mummy mogul really love each other, then they kiss, and the next season, a snow storm comes along and leaves them a baby mogul.
post #18 of 24
Vail has a policy of re-using their moguls from season to season. So during the summers, they store them in a barn at the bottom of the mtn. Then every fall, it is the Ski Patrols job to place them back on the hill in nice rhythmical patterns. You can tell the hills where the rookie patrollers have set the moguls, the rhythms are terrible!

:

[ November 20, 2003, 11:33 PM: Message edited by: vail snopro / ric reiter ]
post #19 of 24
Nolo you tricky [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #20 of 24
Rusty's brief explanation was excellent. I've spent some time studying them in the past and would add that there are more complex things going on below the obvious. Always wanted to view a time lapse video analysis on different slopes or maybe read one done by a mogul instructor. Wrote a lengthy though incomplete disertation of which the following is just a short section. Though short it will give some sense of the underlying complexities. -David

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
List of Some Factors Effecting Mogul Shapes

After a new snowfall flattens the snow surface, skiers tracking over the same positions gradually evolve moguls. Influences on the shape of moguls include effects from characteristics of the snow itself:

(1) The water content (firmness, density) of the snow. Water in snow below freezing turns to ice and provides an inter crystal cohesion agent causing a generally firmer snow. Additionally loose higher water content snow is heavier and thus more resistive to being pushed around. Less dense snow forms more pronounced shapes from skiing and sooner.
(2) The average shape of snow crystals during the last significant snowfall. Snow crystals come in different shapes depending on the temperature, humidity, and pressure at altitude of formation thus provide a minor effect of packing to different densities.
(3) Windiness during snow deposition. Wind breaks up complex snow crystals to more rounded forms which can pack more densely even where the wind is light as well as providing a packing force where the wind is active thus effecting density and cohesion. This is a minor factor.
(4) The age of the surface snow since the last significant snowfall. Snow metamorphosizes quickly by sublimation and recrystallization which effects density and cohesion. A minor factor.
(5) Air temperatures during the lifetime of the moguls and exposure to sun. Warmer temperatures or solar radiation, especially if above freezing, allow more rapid compression due to the snow pack weight alone and by skiers skiing. A minor factor.

There are also effects from the terrain:
(6) The pitch of the slope. On steeper slopes, gravity on a skier's mass causes greater momentum forces exerted against the snow which effects both the rate the snow is gouged out and the shapes that result. A major factor.
(7) The shape of the slope and distance of a given position from hard fixed objects or other moguls. Ski slopes have a myriad of undulating shapes reflecting the underlying terrain. Objects as trees, rocks and of course mogul shapes all effects skier's decisions on tracking locations. A major factor.

(8) Higher altitude, sun exposure, ridgelines, quiet forests, windy areas etc all effect snow quality.

Some of the skier/ski influences on the shape of moguls include:

(9) Skier skill and technique. This is a major influence on the shape of moguls.
(10) Number and type per (9) of skiers skiing the slope. This can be restated as the length of time a mogul slope has been skied at a certain rate and type of of sking. This is a major factor also.
(11) The skiers weight and ski surface. This relates to the amount of forces being applied to gouge out the snow. Lightweight eight year old kids with small skis and good technique are not going to create the same mogul shapes as adult mogul skiers even with identical technique.
(12) Ski length, ski flex type. Probably not as much an effect as conventional popular wisdom propounds. Certainly not as much as (9) above.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
post #21 of 24
I thought that lawn gnomes came to life and hewed the moguls out from the living mountain! Hmmm. Learn something new every day!

Spag :
post #22 of 24
I thought that moguls were actually skiers that had no business being on the given trail, fell and were covered by the wash from the skis of others before they were able to figure out how to get up.

OK, ok, I know, that's not funny! Actually, when I started skiing and went to my first "big mountain", my older brother who took us told my sister and I that so that we would stay off of the trails that were too hard for us.
post #23 of 24
Bumps are for chumps.
post #24 of 24
Originally posted by L7:
Quote:
Is it true for the big ones that they actually take old Volkswagon beetles and bury them on the hill?
It depends, at places like Deer Valley I'm told that they only use late model Volkswagen Bugs. [img]smile.gif[/img]
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