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Using Slalom Skis in Moguls ... (how do you do it?)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Originally posted by Bob Barnes/Colorado:
...Do keep in mind, though, that much of what makes a slalom ski great also makes it a little more demanding in moguls. The wide tip and extremely reactive sidecut gives slalom skis a bit of a mind of their own. That's good if you're carving turns--it's what lets them take you for such a great ride. They are very skiable in moguls, too, but remember that specialized mogul skis are still very straight-sided. The best mogul skis almost literally have the "life" taken out of them, to make them docile and obedient, and to minimize "surprises." Slalom skis have a lot of life!...
I parsed the above excerpt from a post concerning the Fischer WC SC ( here ). Since I have recently purchased the WC SC, this caution on moguls caught my attention.

A little background. After working with some of the coaches from Epic last season, I decided to try something with a bit more sidecut this season. I have not been on a slalom, or slalom type ski, in years. As such, I don't have any preference toward a particular ski or feel, and simply decided to go with the WC SC and learn to ski it. Anyway, on with the questions.....

I gather from the above comments that a quicker reacting/turning ski becomes more difficult to manage in the moguls. Do I understand that correctly? It seems counter intuitive; I would have expected a quicker more responsive ski to be beneficial in bumps. What's the skinny here? How are they more difficult? More importantly, how does this affect the skier and what should they do to manage it ..... ie. what do I need to be focusing on when I wander into the moguls with these?


post #2 of 10
Well Chris... my instructor just keeps telling me the same old things
a) Ski properly like you have learnt on the flat stuff
b) Work the legs
c) Keep turning DAMMIT (actually it's less polite than that...)

c) is the main thing I hear... & I have reassurance from other instructors that when I do that rather than think "pole plant on the top" or "pole plant on uphill side" or "turn on spot xxx of each bump" it works better for me... then again - we have the most irregular shaped bumps you have ever seen - nothing like the nice even size & shape things they have at Whistler...

Then again - he is the sort that has had me skiing on a pair of Stockli SLR's & telling me to "just ski them" in/on any snow we get... These skis are at least as tall as me...
post #3 of 10
Chris, "...I would have expected a quicker more responsive ski to be beneficial in bumps... "

Barnes answer mentioned "to make them docile and obedient, and to minimize "surprises."

In other words a slalom ski is apt to turn too easily whenever the snow surface has irregularities. Thus one will be expending effort to keep the ski from moving out of the best and preferred line. A ski that doesn't get deflected so easily by the considerable terrain irregularities in moguls allows the bump skier to go where they wish with less effort rather than fighting the ski and terrain.

In some good snow conditions mogul skiing with a slalom ski will not be any hindrance while in other less pleasant conditions it may be more of a struggle. Per Barnes comments, I use a relatively damped, stable, and tank like short mogul ski that allows a smooth slower direct fall line technique. I have a style that allows turning the ski quickly although others on the same ski have commented on its lack of rebound which is more a reflection on their own style. -Dave
post #4 of 10

Congratulations on your new skis! Looks like everyone is on those Fischer WC SC this year. I decided not to get those skis - mostly because they scare me!

For me, there are 2 problems with quick, responsive, shaped SL skis:

1) They don't like to skid, so it is harder to find those "soft edges" which are essential in mogul skiing. By essential I mean essential for me, a person who prefers to ski moguls slowly and in control. I am still learning how to do that, but last year at the academy I found out that soft edges works best for me.

2) They are generally too stiff (and have too much energy) to ski moguls in a relaxed manner. Again, not everyone wants to ski moguls in a relaxed manner. I have to, so I don't kill myself.

Honestly I think the WC SC will be a handful in moguls. However, you are a very good skier (as I remember from last years Epic Academy), so I am sure you will manage them.
post #5 of 10

Your post reminded me of one of Bob's great drills.

He will have instructors in clinics yelling....no screaming "pole,pole,pole" with each pole plant in bumps. It's almost like martial arts and it works!

I am a very mediocre bump skier. One factor is being 48, however, I never was a great bump skier at a young age!

I had a cathartic moment skiing bumps with Hapski (Tom "Hap" Hazard-PSIA Examiner, training supervisor at Steamboat) at Mary Jane last year. I kept catching the tails of my WC SC's in the troghs of bumps.

I remedied the situation by trying to ski a slightly higher line at all times. If I was turning left I tried to ski six inches right of where I would intuitively go. Going right six inches left.

This is akin to the very high/round technique that Pierre teaches and advocates in bumps. It really really helped my skiing.
post #6 of 10

I have a pair of Rossi SL team skis (158cm 12m) and a pair of Rossignol Mogul (168cm) skis. Bob Barnes' quote describes clearly the difference between such skis.

The SL skis feel stiff in the bumps. I have to be careful not to make mistakes that may get me launched. If I get off balance on them (usually towards the back) it takes a couple of turns to re-center. It feels that I cannot fully 'press down' into the troughs between the bumps. It seems I need to time the rebound with the start of the turn. The edges are catchy.

With the Rossignol Mogul skis I can go much 'straighter' in the bumps and especially strighter 'into' the bump. They are less 'jaring'. You rarely get thrown or surprised by any rebound. There is essentially no rebound. If you do take too much air the skis land without aby bounce. When switching between my SL skis and my mogul skis, it usually takes me 2-3 runs to adjust my line in the bumps.

There are also differences how these skis are setup that helps with their intended use. The SL skis have metal plates plus lifters on the bindings (I don't race FIS so I'm over the 55mm). The mogul skis have the bindings mounted, no plates, no lifters. This is and has been the common practice for bump skis (lifters are sometimes used). I have the same Rossignol bindings on both pairs. I keep the edges on the SL skis at 0.5-1 degree base bevel. On the mogul skis 2 degree base bevel.

When I hear someone say that they need 'shorter' skis in moguls, it's to me a clue that they are usually far from mastering moguls. If your goal is to improve in bumps, save some trial and error time and get a lesson(s) from some qualified instructor.

Have fun, be patient, be careful.

Opinions above are my own - yours will vary from mine.
post #7 of 10
Originally posted by Jørn:
Thanks Rusty,

Another good drill for moguls and balance:
Pick a length of moderately sized moguls where the slope is not too steep and see if you can link medium radius turns by absorbing, without stopping.

In other words: force the line you want to take by absorbing with good balance.
I think that is the closest to the "keep turning" thingy... the guys say I do better if I just try to keep the same rhythm going & turn turn turn... deal with what is there...
post #8 of 10
peak203f raises an interesting point. The really good bump skiers around here are on relatively long skis. The freestylers that I know are 5'10" and skiing on 180 cm bump skis.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the insightful responses. Sounds like precision will be the key. Makes me think of computer programming and getting back unexpected results only to then find out when reviewing the program that it did exactly what I told it to do - instead of what I wanted it to do! It'll be fun learning! Thanks for the ideas to focus on!

TomB, thank you for the kind words. I was kinda muddled by the end of ESA, but I hope I'm starting to come around with the help of our Epic pro's. Will you be back out this year?
post #10 of 10
A few years ago I spent every day skiing spending 1/2 the day on traditional skis 201cm and 1/2 the day on 190 shape ski. About a year ago I would spend 1 day on the 160 SL and 1 day on 183 GS and 1 day on 180 All mountains. Every time I was skiing Bumps, ice, softsnow basicly all conditions. What did I learn? I learned I had a preference for each depending on the conditions but in the end positive movements = positive results. I will go back to the 201cm vs the 190cm shape, we shot video and although I felt much different on the video you could not guess what ski I was on. I mention this because it showed my how different internal and external feedback can be. Our movement pattern I feel remains the same it is just the direction, timing and speed that has to adjust to our equipment. So it is not how we move it is more when and how much that might change from ski to ski and snow condition to snow condition.

Is a 5 iron harder to hit than a 5 wood. Some would argue this point same with your example of a SL ski in bumps but I believe if you are smoothly engaging the edges of the ski from turn to turn. Tip first then adding steering and manage the pressure thru active legs bumps are no problem for a short SL. Work on round turns that control speed by skiing up and over the bumps or up and around the shoulder of the bumps and they will give you a nice calm smooth ride thru any bump field. Good Luck!
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