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Speed Control in Bumps

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
I have found that for me the biggest leveling factor in skiing is steep bump hills. When I turn around one bump acceleration takes over and the next thing I know I'm climbing up another bump and getting flipped over backwards. This all happens so fast that there is no time to absorb or turn uphill. Is there a way to contol speed, initially? Can you drag a ski to slow down, or does pulling back the inside ski help?
post #2 of 32
If you really want to see how it's done by competitive, zipper line, bump skiers, I strongly recommend the video/CDROM Mogul Logic. (http://www.mogullogic.com).

Although the zipper line techique is not for everyone, the video does a good job of showing how you use the first half of a short turn to control speed before hitting that first bump and then use absorption on the bump in place of completing the turn to kill the rest of your speed.

Easy to explain, hard to do

The video is 100% geared towards competitive mogul skiing so it doesn't have much application outside of that but, at less than $30, I think it's worth it.
post #3 of 32
First off welcome aboard.
here are a couple of links to previous posts.

post #4 of 32
Those are excellent threads, dchan! I wish I had found this board a long time ago.

I'm not an instructor nor have I taken any lessons (big mistake) but I do spend a lot of time skiing bumps so I'll add a bit to what I've noticed in my own bump skiing.

When I have to bail out of a bump line, it's almost always due to one of three things:

1. Letting my skis run in the troughs without making turns (meaning I rely too much on absorption for speed control).
2. Letting my skis come off the snow (the contrary to number one. Too much reliance on a turn and not enough absorption).
3. Not keeping my hands out in front of me.

When I get to the top of a bump run, I have a little ritual I go through before pushing off. I say to myself:

"skis down, hands out, make turns. skis down, hands out, make turns." I click my poles and go.

When I find myself getting in trouble and ready to bail, I repeat that mantra and often realize that I'm NOT doing one of those three things. If I'm not dead yet, I can sometimes get it back together and stay in the line.
post #5 of 32
good mantra.. One of my friends was taking a clinic and she is a "visual/visualize" learner. They could not get her to keep her hands in front. Finally one of the instructors asked her if she liked smurfs(any one remember those blue things). She hated them. So their way of getting her to do her pole plants and keep her hands in front. Stab the smurf with your pole then when it's down punch it in the stomach before you pass. Stab and punch, stab and punch.. It worked
post #6 of 32
Nice explaination, Bob!

dchan, have you ever seen a bump contest when it's really, really overcast or snowing? Sometimes they use blue and red dye to make the lines more visible. After hearing the Smurf visualization technique, I'm now wondering if maybe those blue and red splotches aren't dyed at all. Maybe it's just the aftermath of a smurf slaughter?!?
post #7 of 32
Hey Kevin, Copper Ski Instructor uniforms are red now, not Smurf Blue! Did I get that Smurf reference correct? And I wear yellow at Breck now, not purple. Changes.

Bob, I really like that, slow line fast! Amusing. And, fast line slow. Nice.

You can definately do that down a "wider zipper line", but here's another option...

Every bump run has these "hills" on it;

Downhill side of Bumps, Black (or double)
Uphill side of the Bumps, Green (or UP)
And the "in-between" places...

The in-between places are great places to "stitch your line". A little less bumpy, and conforming more closely to the overall tilt of the hill.

Connect these spots, in the arc of the turns..

Use a "wide radar" vision to see those lines Don't just look down the zipper, try too see about twice as wide as the turns you are making... Options, options, at every turn.

As you get better, you'll look farther down the hill, and visualize lines through bumps, as they show up, moving down the hill AND seeing and stitching a nice round turn every 3-5 bumps...

Wheeee! Favorite Meditation Technique.

In other words, dont get caught up in the big holes and drops, those are other peoples repeated mistakes".

You know, those big ugly holes, wall shapes, and berms created by "not round" turns being done by others on your favorite bump run on a busy day.

Still gotta absorb & extend to keep proper pressure control. Shhhhhh! Quiet skis!

It ain't the zipperline, it's Terrain Ignortion Turns!

¯¯¯/__ SnoKarver snokarver@excite.com
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input everyone. I just reviewed the reference threads. One of the more useful bits of information that I gathered, in addition to the absorption/extension, was remaining perpendicular to the slope to control acceleration. Additionally,If I work on making rounder turns to go uphill, as Bob suggests,this should give me what I'll initially use to try to stay in control. To remain perpendicular then, it seems that pulling back on the inside ski would be the thing to do. I have similar problems with short turns on roller blades and I'm hoping that similar tactics will be effective there.
post #9 of 32
Hey Kevin.. I like the mantra. Good idea!

I started a little ceremony of my own before doing a bump run.

I roll my shoulders backward (straightens me up), take a real deep breath, look up, and think 'use your mojo', or 'U have my mojo', or something related to mojo. (when I suck I think I lost my mojo.. and I work on finding it back). There was something missing, and something like your mantra will work.

Cool. I also like all the advice and ideas thrown around here.

A comment - one thing you can tell from the Mogul Logic videos or skiing with those competitive types... when they do zipper line skiing it's not just straight down without turning and slapping against the bumps. They turn and absorb. extend/turn, absorb, etc.... and keep it looking real smooth, without leaving the snow. Pretty amazing.

I also like the smurf thing. Gonna have to try that but with something different.. I like smurfs!
post #10 of 32
Here is an idea that has worked for me and for some of my students. Find a short bump run and go to the base of it. Hike up and ski two bumps well. Hike back up and do three, then four then five, etc.

I have found this to be a wonderful confidence booster and you get in great shape. It is less intimidating than standing at the top and trying to muster confidence,see a line, work on technique, etc.

It really helped me and I have had students that loved it.

Stay out of the troughs and be imaginative about lines.
post #11 of 32
Thread Starter 
Hey Rusty Guy (or anyone),
I like the idea of approaching a bump hill from below and moving progressively up on it. On our annual trip to Gray Rocks, there is a black diamond hill with moguls that inevitably brings me down. One of our approaches to it is to cut through the woods from an adjacent slope and get to the lower portion where it is less steep.
Why the advice to avoid the troughs? Can you (or anyone else) be more specific as to what happens?
post #12 of 32
When you ski the troughs a lot of time it's like skiing in ruts. your skis get knocked around by ruts and stuff because of all the other skier's tracks. If you stay on the tops, backsides and fronts of bumps without actually staying right in the middle of the trough, it's easier to control your own line. All the same info from above and links I gave you earlier and find your own "good line"
post #13 of 32
I love this thread and will keep pumping it up until I'm just talking to myself

Mack, great observance on the competitive bump skiers. I really never got an appreciation for the turning they were doing until I watched one from above. Seeing the skis without being obscurred by the bumps let me see exactly what they were doing.

Rusty, I think that's an awesome approach to teaching bumps. When I was in college and just learning to ski them, I remember talking to my friends about it and saying something like "I can link two good turns but then I blow up." A few weeks later, it was "I can link three good turns then I blow up." A few weeks later...well, you get the idea. By starting at the bottom and working up, I would have eliminated a lot of those crashes while keeping the good parts.
post #14 of 32
I don't know if my opinion means anything, but here's what I do in bumps - and I love to ski bumps.

1) Hands in front, pole plants come from a flick of the wrist
2) Upper body still
3) Look way ahead - keep your head up
4) Keep your feet together
5) Stay balanced over your skis
6) Don't turn in the troughs, by then it's too late
7) Pull your free foot back, under your hips, at the top of the bump
8) Speed control happens before the trough - don't slow down by twisting, or "checking" against the bottom or side of the bump. It throws you off balance.
9) I've found that trying to plan out a line never works. Just look way ahead, then ski where the line is the way you like it, as you're going down the run.
10) Ski with those who ski bumps great.
Edit: I thought of a couple more.
11) Keep your skis on the snow, unless you're going for "silly air".
12) Keep your shoulders pointed square to the fall line.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by SCSA (edited May 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #15 of 32
Very good SCSA
A point that was made in the to steer or not to steer thread comes though on your last post.
This is good and I think it bears notice. if you keep your upper body still (not moving up and down or twisting) and you keep your shoulders square to the hill, The mechanics of the body will be that there has to be some steering. As you have been pointing out not active steering as this would cause some skidding or over rotation and extra work but passive and unconcious steering as your body "unwinds" from being turned like a spring.
Good thoughts...

I like 11 too. The reason for this part for those of you trying to figure out why, You have no control of speed or direction if your skis are not on the snow. By working on this part you also have to use extension/flexion and your whole range of motion as the bumps get bigger.

And by all means ski with someone that flows down the bumps. If you are not thinking about the bumps per se but trying to stay with them and you free yourself from trying to decide where to turn.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #16 of 32
also, Don't forget to breath....
post #17 of 32
Actually dchan.. that's a great tip. I actually do 'a breath per bump', when I absorb I exhale.. people can hear it. Sort of like when you are working out (like when lifting weight or doing crunches), or perhaps it's a leftover from my martial art days.

And Kevin.. you won't end up talking to yourself, cause I am there with you bud!
post #18 of 32
Kevin, save the big steep bumps for spring. At about 2:00 in the afternoon, you will find it much easier to ski them well. Speed control will not be as important, so you can perform the proper movements more often. This year in LA, we had almost 4 months of spring skiing. Great bumping!
post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the responses.

SCSA, you addressed the concept that I asked about initially. That was pulling back the inside foot. At what point do you start to pull, when your skis are initially facing across the hill or when they are facing down? Does that maneuver also help you to turn?

Incidentally, I've also taken Kevin's advice and ordered the Mogullogic video/CD. The guy I spoke with assured me that there was information there that would help even those who are not zippers, such as I. What really sold me on getting it was that he told me that there was a section on controlling speed. I'll report later on its value to unzipped individuals such as I.
post #20 of 32

I'll do my best to describe pulling the foot back.

As you're coming up the bump, either on the side, middle, or top of it, and at the exact moment your skis would come off the snow, that's when you pull your free foot back under your hips.

What happens naturally is that you become more aligned with the bump and it slows you down. Now this is PMTS stuff, mind you.

That one little movement brings you square to the bump, which then gives you balance, and slows you down, like I said. You're now in control and ready for your next move, in the line you're skiing.

Two other items I'd like to add to my list and that fit perfectly here.

12) Keep your head up - don't drop your chin. Doing so guarantees that you're looking ahead and not down at your feet. Don't ever look down at your feet in the bumps! Keep your head up, your chin up, and look way ahead.

13) Keep those pole plants going. If either shoulder gets thrown back, or one of your hands gets back, you're out of balance and you're done.

Bail out of the line you were in and "re-group". Then go get back in and try it again.

14) This is more of a personal preference, but I don't like to see 10 or 20 turns, then stop. To me, this isn't good bump skiing. Usually these same skiers get tossed around a bit, that's why they have to stop. They're working so hard.

Good bump skiing should be smooth and efficient. You do need a plan, then you just flow down through them. Balance is huge.
post #21 of 32
Good job SCSA.
That makes sense. I would offer a little more on the part about "this is PMTS stuff"
When I was skiing with Lyle he had us do this as well the pulling back of feet but depending on how out of balance we were sometimes it was both feet. I offer that in your balance learning this was probably a little more "proactive" balancing. For me and the people I was skiing with, Most of us were already in good balance and only got into the back seat once in a while. This was used more as a reaction rather than a needed motion. His explaination was that it is much easier to move your feet (small mass) backwards rather than trying to get the rest of your body (large mass) to catch up with the rest of the body.
I like the way you described how it worked for you.
post #22 of 32

Exactly. One small movement, moving your foot/feet back, brings the rest of your body back over your skis.

Use small movements to get big results.

post #23 of 32
Thread Starter 
The individual that I spoke with at Mogullogic also indicated that pulling back both feet would help to control speed. Why do you think this helps? Is it because it causes you to become more centered, enabling tighter turns or could this actually slow you by causing more pressure backwards retarding forward progress? I'm probably over analyzing, but I find that better understanding helps improve execution. JohnH discussed speed control, in one of the threads that dChan suggested, as being tied to a position perpendicular to the slope which is the same concept,I believe.

I wonder if anyone else can contribute to an understanding of the mechanics of this position with respect to speed control. It seems to me that it is an important concept.
post #24 of 32
I took the Mogul Logic clinic (a two day). I don't think the 'pulling the feet back' by itself causes you to slow down and check your speed by itself. My take is that if you do not pull the feet back, you will not be in the position where you will be able to control your speed well. When you absorb a big bump, you are probably going to end up in the back seat. In that position you will probably end up loosing contact with the snow, and you need to remain in contact with the snow to maintain the ability to use the edges and turn.. thus controlling speed, on the other side of the bump. I guess staying on contact vs. flying off is probably also good (friction) to some degree (that's my engineer overanalysis there thought). Another key thing for controlling speed is the ability to absorb. If you are not balanced and in the backseat, it will be harder to fully expand on the other side of the bump.. and without expansion there will not be absorption. Also, if you are not in what they call a 'balanced stacked position' (i.e. too far front or too far back) your body mechanics make it harder for the knees to come up and absorb.

SO.. that's the thinking (at least that is my understanding). Makes sense. Now, that little movement (pulling the feet back) is, for me, one of the hardest things to do in bump skiing (along with getting the absorption piece right.. I need to work on that). The guys at mogul logic explain it like backwards pedaling a bicycle to show the absorption, and the extension with pulling the feet back underneath the hips.

One key thing I learned at the mogul camp. Work and focus on one thing at a time. In one run, only focus about absorption, and forget about the other stuff. On another run, only work on pole plants and keeping the hands forward, and on nothing else. Etc.. That helped me a lot, since I was paying attention to the one 'skill set', and I was able to feel it and commit how it felt to memory.

OK - back to work.
post #25 of 32
Bob, Ott, JohnH and Pierre may have other thoughts but what you are suggesting was my take on it as well but in more simpler terms.
When you pull your feet back you stay on top of the skis. (centered balance) This keeps you out of the back seat and allows you to keep your feet in contact with the snow meaning you have more control (you can't control anything in the air) hence better speed control.

This is pretty much what Mack is saying too.

<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 24, 2001).]</FONT>
post #26 of 32
Yep - that's what I was trying to say..

I hate it when I'm wordy (which is quite often)
post #27 of 32
A question: this pulling back the feet is a recovery movement from losing fore and aft balance. Why do you lose that balance in the first place. The tips of the skis need to be able to dip down, so there should be anticipation on the skiers part when going over a mogul with just enough forward lean of the upper body, without doubling up, that the feeling is as if he is ready to thrown over forward, but by that time the top of the mogul has been aquired and as the ski tip dip, the fore-aft balance is there...

Only if the skier allows the mogul to rock him back will he feel in the back seat when going over the top and starting down the other side and thus feel it necessary to pull his feet back, or throw his arm and upper body forward, same effect.

If no steering or rotary is involved, I don't see how it would slow you down.

post #28 of 32
Now I've got a question.

What causes someone to go too far forward in the bumps. For some reason, I rarely, if ever, get thrown into the back seat when skiing bumps. More common for me is to be thrown too far forward. This typically happens when I turn on the face/top of a bump and there's a HUGE hole on the other side. (NOTE: By "hole" I mean a deep trough perpendicular to the fall line probably caused by people slamming sidewise into the bump). I see the hole approaching, prepare for a big absorption, make a turn above it, but get slammed forward (bent at the waist) when I hit it. Fortunately, this usually kills my speed pretty well and I can sometimes recover but it looks really, really bad and isn't the most comfortable thing in the world.

I originally thought I may be over-absorbing (kind of like a panic move) but now I think I may be absorbing wrong. Any ideas?
post #29 of 32
Perhaps for a lot of people, they ski in the back seat already (part of the intermediate rut?) and this is just another means or stepping stone to better balance?

I think I mentioned it in a previous post about it being defensive for my skiing now. (I know I used to be in the back seat a lot).
The part about using feet back instead of whole body forward is more about what is mechanically easier but they do accomplish the same end result.
post #30 of 32
It sounds like a timing issue. When the bumps get real big, you have to actively absorb the bumps (avalement or "swallow") and don't forget to extend as you pass over the bump. A lot of people get into passive (reploiment) absorbtion which means allowing the bump to push your feet up. Also being too tense doesn't help. edge control and speed control also help so you can steer around these killer troughs instead of skiing into them. Try for instance, turning not before them and sliding into them but just past them on the front or near the top of the next mogul.

Also see above when someone I think it was HarveyD that asked why avoid the troughs?<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited May 24, 2001).]</FONT>
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