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Bumbling Bumps question

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
One of my shorter-term ambitions is to be able to ski any marked piste comfortably & in control - so I never have to worry about what's at the top of a lift, or how I'll get back to base. In aid of this, last week I spent a couple of hours with an instructor on skiing bumps - the first time I'd had any instruction on this topic at all.

The advice he gave can be summarised (in no particular order):

- make a firm pole plant on top of the bump directly downhill of you, and put weight on it when you turn turn
- turn round the shoulder of the bump
- important to keep facing DOWN THE HILL and pick your line in advance
- try and keep the upper body level, this means leg compression on the high points and extension into the low points
- don't worry about a bit of side-slipping between bumps if they are too far apart to link turns directly
- after the turn, don't let the (now) uphill arm get dragged behind you pulling your weight back

This all worked well on the slopes we practised on, and I really felt I was starting to get the hang of things, even on some quite steep sections (for the slope-nerds among you, I was happily skiing down Lac Noir & Dames Blanches on La Masse in Les Menuires).

The next day I thought I'd try a shortish mogul run (Cascades). This is no steeper than the other runs I'd done, but was nothing but bumps all the way. And I was COMPLETELY flummoxed. I couldn't ski round the bumps, because there was no flat bit anywhere. There was no 'shoulder' to go round, no space to pick as my line, just a vast sea of interconnecting bumpinessss... it was turn round a bump, go over a couple of big ones, stop, look around, think, repeat...in the end I went down in some sort of order by the side of the piste which was rather less travelled.

So does this type of run need a different set of techniques altogether, or is it just more practice? When there's been no snow for a while and lots of people, all the unpisted blacks get very very bumpy... I don't want to have to avoid them for the rest of my skiing career?
post #2 of 13
Frances, Practice, Practice, Practice. You need to get out and ski bumps and find out how they work for you. This year I took a two day begining bump clinic. Lots of the same things that you learned was taught to us. Now I need to practice and have been. There will be bump runs that everything falls together on. The spacing of the bumps, the snow conditions, the size of the bumps, the shape of the bumps all come together and it is a joyous romp down the hill. Then there will be runs, (sometimes the same day on a different slope) when nothing seems to work and it all goes pear shaped. (Right about then a 10 year old kid comes zipping down the run I just struggled through.)

I find that just getting into the bumps and trying helps. Every run I learn something and get just a little more confidence and better at it. Jump into them, smile, and have fun. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #3 of 13
I will preface this by saying I am by no means a great bump skier...

I wouldn't say tight bumps require a different technique, but they do require that you be more precise. That is, you don't have time anymore to get yourself re-centered on the flat spot between two bumps -- you have to already be centered as you exit a bump. Also, your line choice gets critical as you can easily find yourself in a "no gracefull way out" situation.

I took an awesome bump clinic a few weeks ago where I learned my bump fundamentals, and I'm recalling two things that you didn't list:
  • Go uphill as much as possible. I don't know if speed control is an issue for you, but I've seen very good bumpers going extremely slowly by going uphill almost all the time. The slower you go, the more time you have to get ready for the next bump.</font>
  • My instructor was always on us to be "soft" -- that is, get off the edges of your skis, especially on the downhill slope of the bump. That portion is generally steep enough that any edging will launch you into the start of a carved turn, and there is no room in bumps to carve. I don't want to say that you sideslip down a bump, as there is definitely still a steering component occurring, both from your feet and from the shape of the bump. A steered slip, for lack of a better term.</font>
Finally, don't be too hard on yourself. Tight bumps have rightfully earned the distinction of being challenging to ski. You should be congratulated for taking that first step into the world of bumping.
post #4 of 13
It's very difficult to make it through tight bumps without taking the zipperline occasionally. So practice taking a few bumps like that. And practice pivot slips. Learn to start absorbing the bump a split second before you get to it. Don't let your turns get too far downhill on the bumps. Also, an occasional up-unweight can really help on the really awkward bumps.
Like Kevin said, don't be too hard on yourself. You wouldn't be bumbling if it was easy!
post #5 of 13
Anether thing about keeping your hands forward: imagine keeping your hands on a steering wheel in front of you, and try to hold the steering wheel in front of you for the entire run.
post #6 of 13
Line is definitely important. I hear an interesting way to think about it recently. Imagine there's four doors around the bump. The front door is on the uphill side and the back door is directly downhill. Most people try to go in the front door and out the back or side. You will usually get slammed at the front door. Try going in the side door and out the back door or in the side and out the other side door.

Don't necessarily think that there are only four doors but the main point is don't always go in the front door!

there are lots of other threads here on bumps - cheers

[ March 21, 2003, 10:04 AM: Message edited by: Tog ]
post #7 of 13

You mentioned "a vast sea of interconnected bumpiness". This suggests a line where you could ski the "bridges" or higher areas which sometimes connect the bumps instead of dropping all the way into a trough. Another cue is to look for the areas which have the freshest and loosest snow. This will direct you away from the icy and scraped off areas and help you avoid rocks and bare spots. Also, there's nothing wrong with stopping to regroup if the bumps are just coming at you too fast.

I like Tog's four doors concept. I'll have to try that next time I'm in the bumps.

post #8 of 13
"Terrain Ignortion" is the phrase I got in my lesson the other day and it worked for me. To just ski them without being concerned with where I am turning (tops, shoulders, wherever). Somehow now it all just flows, probably because now I'm not thinking too much and am far more relaxed.
post #9 of 13

We did that in a clinic a couple of weeks ago. It really changes your focus, doesn't it? It worked for me. [img]smile.gif[/img]

post #10 of 13
I can jump in on this one!!! Been awhile since I posted any comments here, so I thought I'd give this one a whirl.

One way to get comfortable in the bumps is to look for the easiest place to turn. A decent way to figure this out is to stand directlyon top of a mogul so that your tips and tails are off of the snow. You might find that you can pivot, or steer, your skis fairly easily when only that short bit of ski - underfoot- is in contact with the snow. On a warm day, these will be the spots where no one else is skiing!!!! (the troughs will be wiped clean, and the tops will be soft and goooey)

Now go find some easy bumps and just climb one, (go in the "side door"... I like that!)stand up and pivot around the top of it and skid down the other side. Do a little looking ahead and you can find another to do the same thing the other way. You may find that you are extending in places you hadn't thought of extending before, and flexing in places you thought you shouldn't... but that's the thing about bumps. They change the way you act, think and ski.

If you are using your legs to flex/extend and turn (I try to think of edging as "incidental" when skiing bumps), everything will be fine. If you are using your torso to swing and torque the skis, you will always have trouble in the bumps. Pivot slips on groomed runs are a good exercise to develop some of the skiils you'll need. (By the way, you can get away with not facing down hill all the time at first when skiing bumps this way. As you start getting more proficent, you will feel a NEED to keep your center moving down the hill and probably do it naturally.)

While practicing this introductory exercise, remember to not let your hands cross over your skis. Keep them relaxed and in front of you. Best of luck!!!

Hope it helps. Go get 'em!!!

Spag :
post #11 of 13
Frances-Look back several pages for a topic "initiating your first turn in the bumps." The tips and clues offerd there may be of assistance to you. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #12 of 13
Before dropping into any bump run, I say three things, out loud, to myself:

1. Hands up.
2. Skis down.
3. Make turns.

That's my bump-mantra. What that equates to, in less abbreviated terms is:

1. Hands up: This reminds me to keep my upper body quiet and facing down the fall line. It also reminds me to plant those poles!
2. Skis down: Too often, skiers think they have to hop around the bumps like a rabbit. When you're hopping around, you can't extend into the troughs and absorb the bump like you're supposed to. Keep your skis on the ground and extend-absorb like a piston.
3. Make turns: Another common mistake I make is to let my skis run straight into the troughs thinking I can just use absorption to control speed. Yes, that works for Mr. Mosely but not for Mr. Kevin. I need to make turns in the bumps.

Funny thing is, that just concentrating on those three things, for me, can mean the difference between surviving the bumps and ripping them.

Hands up, skis down, make turns. I came, I saw, I conquered [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ March 26, 2003, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: KevinH ]
post #13 of 13
Outstanding stuff, all!

I love bumps. My advice, in addition to all the great ideas shared above is the follows:

- do yourself a favor and scope out your line and trouble spots down to the turn.
- PLEASE start facing downhill just like lining up for a race! I see the majority of people starting their turns on a traverse and it's bad news. You become more focused and have better body position to make your turns.
- don't be afraid to use your shovel! The soft shovel of the ski is designed to bash into the face of the mogul to control speed, ski uphill and help smooth the ride out.
- use our knee and hip flex as a way to keep your upper body silent and your weight centered on the skis.
- Go the A-Basin and do Pallavicini til you puke.
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