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GS skiing on bumped runs

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have the opportunity to ski with some ex Canadian world cup skiers (e.g., Felix Belchuk and Jim Read) from time to time.  I noticed that sometimes when Felix skis moguls he simply does fast big GS turns and cuts across even large moguls with his upper body remaining quite quiet, and the arc of his turns remains almost constant with what would be expected on smooth snow.  I’m not a bad bump skier, and I have a goal this year to learn to ski bumps in the GS style I’ve seen from Felix.  So far, what I’ve discovered is that by keeping even pressure on the snow regardless of what the terrain does, I come closer to emulating the master.  To do this, my legs have to piston quite quickly, which can be a bit much for a set of 51-year-old legs.  It also seems that as the bumps get closer, and occasional pop off of the front/top of one bump to the top/back of the second adds a little style to this, especially when initiating a turn.  Finally, speed seems to help, but only to a point for me - there is a point where my legs can't keep up and things get jarring.  I've also been trying to progress from smaller and softer to larger bumps.  I know will never ski like a World Cup skier, but skiing with these folks certainly helps to improve my skiing and to generate seasonal goals

Any suggestions would be most appreciated!



post #2 of 11
 first off I just want to let you know that this is not at all low impact skiing. I honestly dont recommend it, unless you understand your can hurt yourself pretty bad skiing like this.

some of your observations are right,your legs have to more quickly, this is jarring, but speed does help but it makes it more jarring. Basically to contend with the shock-absorption of this way of skiing bumps you can get stronger in your core and balance(like near former WC stronger) and you can also get longer straigher wider skis to help you out as well.

Your going to ski as actively as possible by keeping your skis tracking up and down every little or big bump. By actively I mean you're not just going to hit everything and hope for the best but you're going to make your upper body quiet by keeping your legs pumping. by keeping your legs actively pumping you keep more even pressure on the snow like you said. what you saw him doing by pre-jumping is a great way to ski bumps using larger turns and is also a great way to learn to be active. "doubling bumps" is a great tactic and key to the transition IMO, and can also be used in the middle of the turn when ever you see fit. It is is also good practice to get into before attempting to Gs turn entire moguls fields.

In all honesty this is something beyond what most 'normal people ever  try to do or accomplish. This takes tons of core strength and balance on top of some decent sized cajones.
post #3 of 11

It sounds like you have a very practical and realistic approach for "skiing IN the bumps" vs "skiing the bumps". As Bush has noted skiing fast GS turns in bump fields can require high levels of fitness. It also helps to have well formed bumps to work with. As you've discovered, there are ways to cheat to adapt this style of skiing to your own physical limitations. The most important trick is to manage speed through turn shape. If you're going too fast, finish your turns more uphill. Next is making slight alterations to your line to avoid trouble spots. In many well formed bump fields, you can find a "GS line" that minimizes the amount of pistoning you need to do. This line will shift a bit, but it will look like even turns to the untrained eye. Think of finding an altitude within the bump field between the depth of the lowest rut and the height of the highest bump peak and look for a line that stays as close as possible to that height. Skiing in the bumps requires a more practiced eye than fall line bump skiing because you've got more lateral terrain to reconnoiter. If you don't have the strength to force your way through anything that pops up on your line, you've got to be able to recognize problems/traps and escape routes. If you've got a rut wall blocking your line, you'll need to go over it or around it. As you get more experience, you'll get better at judging when to stomp it, when to air it or when to bail out of the pure GS line.

While this is beyond what most normal people want, GS turns in the bumps is a task that can be part of the PSIA Level 3 certification exam. We're not asked to do them at full out GS speeds or on exact lines, but they are still fun once you get over the "I'm going to die" factor.
post #4 of 11
 /\ /\ /\ /\   (What they said plus)

The key to skiing this type of line is to absorb.  If you have a very active flexion, line doesn't matter all that much unless the face of the bump is REALLY steep as you approach, then it's just plain survival skiing.

Start small with well rounded bumps on an open Intermediate run.  Schedule yourself to make a designated number of turns, 4 - 6 might be a good start.  Be sure to "finish your turns".

 Start skiing with a slightly lower stance than normal.  You still have room to absorb but can also extend when the terrain falls out from underneath you on the back side of the bump.  Ski a little more evenly weighted between your two feet (more upright), and a little more square to the skis than you normally would in the bumps.

The last thing you need skiing a GS line in the bumps is to attempt the same "stance" you would ski if you were doing GS on a groomer.  It's a different deal in the bumps. While the line may be that of a GS turn, the body's movements and "stance" will be significantly different.(Unless you are REALLY good)

Good luck with it.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice.  Might get out in a day or two (depending on work load and snow) to try some of your suggestions and will certainly be out there over the weekend.
post #6 of 11
I can add a bit to what has already been said.  As others have pointed out there are GS lines through almost all bumps that a trained eye can spot that are half way up the bumps and minimize the absorption action to a point that can be handled.

The key is to be able to alter your turn size and shape to fit that line at any point during the turn.  Being able to mix, match and change size of turns at will on groomed terrain is what needs to be mastered before GS turns in bumps will be practical.  Always moving your body into the turn and always guiding the feet are the tools of mastery of turn size and shape.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Got out to Lake Louise on Saturday (not much of the hill was open on Sunday because of the bitter cold).  Before watching the Ladies World cup, I had a chance to practice what was suggested.  The conditions were really quite variable with breakthrough wind crust, ice, rocks, sometimes flat light, and some softpack, so it wasn't the best day for practicing a new thing where visibility is important.  Fortunately, the snow in Paradise bowl wasn’t too bad and I’m having increasing success.  When the light was bad, I just skied bumps as normal.  When the light was good, I was better able to pick a decent line.  Have to admit that my speed sometime became a problem on the fifth or sixth turn, so on next bump day I will carry the turns a little longer and finish turns more uphill to use the slope to manage speed.  Lowering stance a little was a good suggestion.  Also, finding the line mid-bump height is a good suggestion and I need to practice finding that line.  Won`t be able to practice this weekend because I`ll be skiing with my kid at Nakiska (no bumps) and skiing all hardpack on my race skis.  Fortunately,  I`ll be on snow from the 18th through most of the rest of December and can continue to practice.

Thanks again for the feedback.

post #8 of 11

   High speed GS turns in the bumps to me is some of the most exciting skiing.  It takes a while to develop an eye to the path you want to follow.  I look well ahead and don't think too much about what is either under my skis, or just in front of my skis, I let my instincts as a skier take care of that

.  The most important item is a very centered and neutral stance over the skis.  This allows the ankles (and every joint above) to bend as the terrain dictates without being jarred out of balance.  As mentioned in an above post, a strong core also helps maintain a quiet upper body so the feet and legs can maintain the desired line.

   Age and fitness is a factor, but skill, technique and experience is the key to good skiing.

post #9 of 11

Regarding what RW writes, "and every joint above", I find that high angulation, i.e., an aggressive carving stance with even weight distribution over the two skis, is a huge help. This allows the hips to absorb a lot of the bumps, reducing strain on the knees.



post #10 of 11

Karlo, welcome to epicski. Thanks for bumping this thread. Great topic. Here is a short clip of me a few years back carving through a field of small and soft moguls. Nothing too radical but still a bit of a challenge because you cannot pick your own line. You let the skis turn you and you just deal with what's ahead :)


post #11 of 11

Skiing GS in the bumps is a delicate and tough exercise to master. I’ve been doing this a couple of years and a few things really stick out in my mind.

1st off train on mildly bumpy conditions to get a feel for this type of skiing, It’s a very important step. Once you have got comfortable in Blue terrain migrate to a black terrain.

I feel one of the most importance things (amongst many) is speed control. You need to have a good speed base but be able to control your speed . Skiing bumps is like water skiing??? If you have waterskied you know the toughest part of is being dragged through the water until your skis hit the surface, once on the surface water skiing is easy. The water skiing idea applies to skiing the bumps, if you ski too slowly your body doesn’t have any mass or momentum and it becomes a tough slog through the Bumps. How do I control my speed in GS turns in the bumps; by hitting the bumps in a well-balanced position and absorbing the energy by using pressure control? Turn shape helps control speed also, very important. If you are spending too much time in the fall-line, this will increase your speed to.  When we ski regular fall line bumps there isn’t very much Lateral balance going on compared to GS Bumps. The added complexity to ski GS in the bumps is now controlling Lateral balance in bumpy terrain.


Training for CSIA L4 exams in March / cheers superdave

Edited by Superdaveski - 1/15/14 at 11:36am
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