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Article on Mogul Skiing, first edition.

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Hi all, I have had this written for some time but I am not totally satisfied with the wording. I have been very busy lately with my house addition and not wanting to hear the gloating on the snow out west. I haven't seen snow here south of Cleveland yet and there is no snow in the 10 day forcast.
Moguls, Think Outside the Box By: K. Pierre Reno

Watch any mogul star and you will see good mogul racing technique. The body travels down the zipper line with leg extension on the backside/downhill sides of the bumps and absorption with a quick edge set on the front/uphill sides of the bumps. Traditional racing mogul technique requires lightning quick reflexes with a good dose of athleticism, but is this the way we mortals should ski bumps? Well, I suppose if you are under 25 and in great shape but for most of us, this form of mogul skiing is just too brutal.

I never want to give up mogul skiing; there is a feeling about skiing the zipper line that can’t be explained. When done correctly, there is a feeling of perfect harmony, rhythm, a feeling of power and weightlessness matched only by dry champagne powder. With age, many skiers who loved moguls all but give up on mogul skiing because of the brutal nature of skiing them, but do they really have to? Is there a different way to ski the zipper line? I say yes, but you need to think outside the traditional mogul skiing box. I can ski near zipper line all day long without beating myself to death and that is proof enough for me that skiing moguls, well into middle age, is within the grasp of most middle age skiers. So, what’s the secret?

The secret lays in how we are managing our body mass through the bumps. In conventional mogul skiing, we try to keep the upper body level while going down the bumps. This is done with absorption on the front sides and extension on the backsides. Therein lies the problem. With absorption on the front side and extension on the backsides of bumps, our body mass is constantly speeding up and slowing down. On the front side of the mogul we check the speed while absorbing thereby slowing the body mass down. This results in the pounding we take. On the backsides of the bumps we extend our legs and accelerate once again, repeating the action. The real key to skiing moguls without pounding is to keep the body mass flowing downhill at a CONSTANT SPEED, in addition to keeping the upper body as level as possible. How do we do this?

Think opposite of what you have been doing. Extend on the front/uphill side of the bump and retract on the back/downhill sides of the bump. Does this sound corny? Follow along. Instead of checking and absorbing on the front side of the bump, let your body continue to travel down the fall line across the bump and, at the same time, allow your skis to travel laterally along the front side of the bump across the trough (lateral extension). Your skis will be edging progressively through this portion of the mogul turn controlling speed. On the back/downhill side of the bump, contract the abdominal muscles and retract the skis quickly underneath you and carve back through the trough and across the uphill face of the next bump where you repeat the process. Using this technique the skis stay in the same general line as the zipper line but travel a much rounder shape turn.

The lateral extension on the front side of the bump allows the body mass to flow at constant speed and the retraction on the back side prevents the body mass from accelerating due to action/reaction (for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction). The result is a nearly steady speed of body mass and, as you can guess, no pounding. Short sl skis and a slightly wider stance than traditional mogul technique works best.

For this technique, size and shape of the moguls does not really matter, but eventually moguls will get too big and tight for the athleticism and body makeup of the individual skier to extend and retract. For me, those bumps are competition level bumps. My favorite bumps are bumps of glare ice, fairly close packed, on a moderately steep slope. With this technique, glare ice is less work and more exciting due to the nature of mistakes.
post #2 of 31
Thanks, Pierre. I will try this the next time I ski and will let you know how it goes. I can picture it in my mind, except for the staying in the zipperline part.
post #3 of 31
I, of course, am seriously interested in this speed managing technique. I am not able to visualize it, though. Now I wish I could see it on paper, or demonstrated, or - best of all posible worlds - learn it in a person to person lesson. If I can accomplish what this description says I can accomplish, I will be one very happy sexagenarian.
post #4 of 31
Pierre, now we want to see the video... :

post #5 of 31
Hi Pierre,

This subject could get pretty much bogged down trying to describe both the complex body positions and large variety of mogul shapes. My first reaction to your analysis is their is that I apparently need a more precise description to understand how it works. Better than any description would be as Ott said "see the video".

There are certainly some bump skiers everywhere that have a more relaxed style, not at all concerned with speed but rather efficient conservation of muscle strength in order to go longer distances smoothly. Skiing bumps down the fall line slowly is not easily done but is something I have had as a goal. What I tend to do sounds different from what you are describing but may have similarities not yet described. Moguls I like to ski tend to be softer western packed powder than the icy snow gun made types in the east. When icy mogul surfaces are nice and smooth like a billiard ball I can understand your enjoyment.

On the western moguls, my technique is to minimize the speed tendency to launch off mogul mounds. If one swings fully around down the rut and then scrubs speed by edging rapidly with sliding up at the compression against the mound, as you relate a lot of energy needs to be spent. So the trick is to slow the speed which one zips down each rut or mogul face. What I do is allow my upper body to make a delayed collapse at the end of each compression against mounds while keeping my skis well behind my upper body. At that point my upper body is now lower and over the steep side of the mound instead of starting to swing around in the rut. I then relax and let gravity draw my upper body down to the next mound rut exit which allows my skis and lower body to follow behind initially thus providing a mechanism which provides better leverage into the slope at the critical point and inhibits speed. Then with my upper body close to the rut exit, my skis swing forward below my now slowing upper body and into the next mogul. Thus I impact the mounds easier. Generally my line is a straighter fall line inside the ruts up on the sides.

Moguls tend to be extremely variable although some shapes are more common. The result is one uses a bag of turning tricks to automatically deal with them so it is not as simple as I have related. Often I will swing around fully in a rut and up against the next mound exactly like most bump skiers. Somehow I have the position and the next bump may look like it is spaced and shaped such that shedding speed on it will be smooth and easy. Other times I will see a smooth patch of loose snow which I will carve a rapid lower leg turn in and shed energy. Other times I am barely hanging in there, going too fast, airing off each exit, and battling to slow things down. But generally I am collapsing down to where the launch exit points and avoiding the fast rut route some of the time. Basically I like skiing moguls for the great pin ball stair step sensation when it is smooth and rhythmic. Sorry for the mediocre description, I just bought some computer video stuff which ought to allow me to post a streaming video sometime later. -dave

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ December 18, 2001 12:03 AM: Message edited 1 time, by dave_SSS ]</font>
post #6 of 31
Pierre, It sounds like you're describing a retraction turn. Hang those boards out laterally away from your center and on edge; then bring them back under and across as you advance through the trough. IOW, carve through the bump's trough instead of slipping through it. Fun stuff.

Here's another slowing technique. When I get to the top of a bump and my skis are pointed down the fall line I like to do a little pull of my skis up and back so as to make as much ski surface contact on the back side as possible. It requires a lot of abdominal control. More surface contact and less tail pressure will facilitate slowing. It's a real subtle move that I can't always engage. I'm working on it though.
post #7 of 31

You in for Fernie? I hope so...
post #8 of 31
I'm bringing this to the top. I played with this last week, but I couldn't really make sense of it. Although I demoed some Rossi T-Power 9s plate 167's, and found that they were great in the bumps, and I found I was doing SOMETHING (don't know what!) different in the zipperline. Pierre, could you please make some kind of diagram, even if it just shows the path through the bumps?
post #9 of 31
I was skiing bumps with Pierre Wednesday night. I thought of it as making my turn 2-3 feet earlier in the bumps than I normally would if I were taking the zipperline. We were skiing around the bumps instead of at or through them. The tips of the skis are always in contact with the snow. ie. if you ski over a bump, the tips of the skis must leave the snow as you approach the top of the mogul.
post #10 of 31
Give up bumps because of age? No way! Bump skiing done badly is definitely hard on the knees and the rest of the body. When you're in the groove though, it's a thing of beauty... When I'm skiing 'em right they don't hurt....

What do people here (especially the long time skiers) think of the effect of boarders on the bumps. From my angle, the boarders really seem to be wrecking the bumps. By skiing back and forth accross the mountain (instead of down) they leave big grooves across the moguls and ruin them.... At my local area, I wish they would create some skier only sections of the mountain (especially if they want to groom some future freestylers)

post #11 of 31
Wouldn't bad skiiers wreck the bumps too?
Bad skiiers wreck in the bumps therefore wrecking the bumps. Bumps are just flat hills that have been wrecked. Rain in Ohio wrecks our bumps, but Pierre likes it that way.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Boarders positively enhance bumps. They round them out quite nicely in comparison to the dirt bag punks who make them long and troughy. I really don't meet bumps that I don't like.
post #13 of 31
Thread Starter 
milesb, if you are skiing bumps there is what looks like a miniture half pipe between each one. If the bump you are going around is on your left, ride up the right side of the mini-ppe. If the bump you are skiing around is on the right, ride up the left side of the mini-pipe. Hope this helps.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ February 14, 2002 04:28 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #14 of 31
I'm not a very good skier. I usually wreck bumps that have built up in the afternoon (ambition for next year: ski bumps without stopping after every few). It's not just boarders.
post #15 of 31
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Frances:
I'm not a very good skier. I usually wreck bumps that have built up in the afternoon (ambition for next year: ski bumps without stopping after every few). It's not just boarders.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Do you mean you wreck boarders as well, or that you are like a boarder, pisting the bumps?

post #16 of 31
We have some beautiful, steep couloirs at my local hill. They're really, really narrow in sections. 99% of the snow boarders come in, realize they can't ski it, then slide sideways down the trail. Say g'bye to all that powder and hello to rocks and branches... Lower down where it gets less steep they ski back and forth traversing the trail and leaving behind big rutted out bumps which are not fun to ski.... The 1% of the boarders who can handle the terrain though are awesome and definitely cool to watch.

Are all bumps fun to ski? Some are definitely better than others. I have memories of amazing, soft bumps on sunny spring days at Alta, the kind that explode when you hit'em right. Frozen, icy bumps on the other hand-- they make me knees creak. That course the women freestylers were skiing on the Olympics looked like fun....
post #17 of 31
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pierre eh!:
With absorption on the front side and extension on the backsides of bumps, our body mass is constantly speeding up and slowing down. On the front side of the mogul we check the speed while absorbing thereby slowing the body mass down. This results in the pounding we take. On the backsides of the bumps we extend our legs and accelerate once again, repeating the action.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


I can't say that I agree with this completely. If we absorb the front of the bump, we are lessening the edge pressure, and when we extend on the backs of the bumps, we are increasing the pressure, allowing the skis to turn and control speed on the backs of the bumps. This is what we want. The pounding, as I see it, comes not from there, but from the skidding into the front of the bump, and having the skis immediately lose their downhill momentum, getting thrown sideways. The key is to keep the skis moving in a forward direction (and NOT straight down the fall line) as they encounter the bump. Then, by actively retracting as the skis move forward and over the bump (can be on the side of the bump or the top if you have long legs), then actively extending as the skis crest the bump, you then have enough edge pressure to affect your direction, allowing you to get the skis to move forward and across the fall line on the steepest part of the bump, therefore, not allowing the skis to accellerate as much as if they were going straight down the fall line.

I am NOT disagreeing with your exercise, or the way you are teaching people to ski the bumps (the troughs), which is a very good way to ski in the bumps, just that saying that absorbing the front and extending down the backs is the reason people take a pounding and accellerate too much. If you explained it more as the line you choose, I think it would make more sense. Don't choose a line OVER a bump, but around it, and don't slide into it.
post #18 of 31
JohnH Could not agree more. As a 55+ that likes to think he can still get it done in most bumps, your thoughts combined with a subtle bicycle pedal seems to work best for me. Not everybody's cup of tea but again shows that there are lots of ways to keep having fun on the snow!!!
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
I have to figure a different way to explain this. I can tell from your answer that you are not understanding what I am saying. Its hard to explain something in words for bumps because they are so complex. The line that I am skiing isn't even close to the traditional line and is not down in the troughs. There is little speed control in a traditional technique like you are explaining or in skiing the bottoms of the troughs. I am going to have to get video tape.
I working with more people on this technique it appears to be more a tactic than an entirely new technique as skiers without real good technique are showing drastic improvements in speed control and comfort.
post #20 of 31
I'm new at mogul sking. Seen tapes, read books, even took a class. What I have found that works for me is to do all of the stuff: pole plant, wrist forward, weight forward, yadayadayada. But the biggest break through for me was when I started to make my turns before the chrest of the mogul (Weight transfer). Suddenly, it all started to work and I felt comfortable. Wow at 50 I am sking MOGUL's!!! Not bad for a guy who started sking last year.
post #21 of 31
I just had 3 wonderful days of mogul training, from 2 completely different coaches.

Coach #1: When you are racing, the gates tell you when/where to turn. Take moguls as if it were a race course. Ski with proper extension/flexion, and the moguls will tell you where to turn. Neat stuff carving your turn on the uphill side of the mogul as you cross the fall line.

Coach #2: Instead of looking at the "zipper line", look for crests to control your speed. At the crest, change your rotation to control your speed. If you find yourself in the "back seat", do a short radius turn....wham, back in control.

A lot of mileage, and using different words. Some of the things we talked about: fear, trigger words, technique vs tactics.

With the mogul season coming up, enjoy!!! I will!!!
post #22 of 31
I ski a lot of bumps too. Sometimes all day. My opinion is that most of bump skiing is done on the fly.

Out here in CO, the bumps are close together - really close together. Then, some of the runs are moderately steep. I'd call Highline (at Vail) a steep bump run.

Sure, there's always a plan; keep your chin up, pull the free foot back, keep the pole plants coming, check at the side of the bump. But after that, things happen too fast. I think it just comes down to quick reactions.

Then, there's this whole idea of standing at the top of the run then picking your line. I just don't think it's realistic. Something always comes up to change your line; like a jagged bump or a nasty trough.

Now that being said, I've never had the chance to train with a great bump skier.
post #23 of 31
Hmmn, it is almost peak bump season, at least the slush bump season. As I get /////shudder///// older, and am currently experiencing a lull in days skied per year, strategy in the bumps is of the utmost importance. Snow contact is at a premium. Contact means low impact. I'm not in the shape I used to be, I weigh more, I can't slam rock hard bumps all day... I'll pay the price if I do. Crisp quick turns, hands out in front, push down those tips, balance first then speed....Line makes all the difference, I want the zipper line, I want to study that line if I can, to avoid any pitfalls that SCCA has mentioned. I want to know what's down there before I go if possible....I want to see if any body down below is potentially going to be crossing my intended path....I want to RIP!

It's Friday, I'm rambling and I want to ski...... But I'm not going to for at least another week.......

MMMMM, slush bumps....mmmmmmm
post #24 of 31
Yeah, if you go too fast you can't enjoy bumps. I always think I get too self-conscious about taking my time in bumps cause all the 'cool' people take bumps fast. But they're a lot more enjoyable if you go slow.

The good thing about slush bumps is that the picking up too much speed problem gets eliminated.
post #25 of 31
I finally got a chance to really play with this for a few days. In the picture, the green path shows a typical "slow line" through the bumps, the red path is the zipperline, and the blue path is the "nutty line".

Some things I observed:
1. Be prepared to look VERY dorky when first trying this. Crossed tips, backseat skiing and flailing accompanied my early efforts, and I endured a few jeers from chairlift hecklers. Keep at it.

2. I found that gullies with bumps are the best for this line. It just flows better.

3. On the 3rd turn, the path actually goes uphill. This is common, and allows me to go VERY slow through the bumps.

4. On the 5th turn, the path goes slightly over the top of the bump before returning. This can happen if the side of the bump goes up too abrupbtly. As short as these turns are, sometimes I needed that extra bit of room.

5. On my shorty slaloms, a small extension or retraction (depending on the terrain) helped get the turn started, but on my Chubbs, a fairly straight legged pivot slip kind of turn worked best.

6. This is not an "easy" way to ski bumps! It takes alot of precision to pull it off smoothly like Pierre. Independent leg steering is particularly important. Perhaps when I get more used to it, I won't have to concentrate so much, but I was not able to just "let go" like when I ski the other lines.

7. It's not as exciting or fun for me as the zipperline. But I couldn't resist doing at least a few bumps in every run like this when they were formed just right. It CAN be done at speed, at least for a few bumps at a time (for me!).
post #26 of 31
Thread Starter 
milesb you need to move you're squigley lines up so that the outside radius is in between the bump and not on the tops of the bumps then you just about have it.
post #27 of 31
Originally posted by Pierre:
milesb you need to move you're squigley lines up so that the outside radius is in between the bump and not on the tops of the bumps then you just about have it.
Pierre, When trying to ski in the troughs my feet get too close together, I then take a dive. The bumps also get so large at times, that going over them gets difficult too. A nice normal bump run is no prob, though here in the east that is rarely found. Lessons out west are so cheap compared to here, but they don't get the ice. I'm in a quandry about this and can't afford $50.00 an hour for hours on end. Any ideas?
post #28 of 31
Here is a video illustrating my above post. Obviously the execution could be much better (damn stemming : ), but hopefully you can get the idea.

What's nutty is not how it looks, but how it feels. The skis really don't want to take this line, they have to really be coaxed. Too much concentration required after a few beers for me!
post #29 of 31
Originally Posted by Pierre
Your skis will be edging progressively through this portion of the mogul turn controlling speed.
Pierre you are one of my heroes. Do you mean 'progressively' in the same sense as used in the term 'progressive flex'?

My biggest trouble in understanding your explanation was in visualising the lateral position of the skis relative to body line, immediately at your extension in the front of the bump.
post #30 of 31

Cool Picture ! When Do You Use What ?

I did ( 15 y ago ) usually red when not too steep and I was energetic,
over the top when step to take off energy, and the long way when confronted with 2 meter high bumps and it was icy or steep ... if snow mud builds up in the troughs or on the hills , use that definetely to slow down and for splash effect ... smt . go where the mud goes , as that helps ... careful not to "overfly" top of bumps skidding over and not to loose rhytm in the fall line or so and then go uncontrolled over bumps ... 3 down and the forces blow you around ...
danger of roots undug and icy side of bump ... conical ones resist if one meets them to wrong way ...roots or earth patches can take some speed if you don´t turn on them .. smt mud is frozen in all kinds of shapes that will be a stopper if you didn´t see it ... long hills fall line get you kind of fast ... nutty best view ...
swing with body up and legs swinging but bumper vertical altitude in various fashions ... i did some very fast zipper with body and ski swinging like pendulum the hill doing most of the motion ... 15y ago we always had ski parallel in the bumps at any point with no hand width in between now it changed i think ... very dangerous if bumps are shaped like this and that or specifically ravines if snow frozen ... maybe borders create one big pile that freezes instead of two small ones that can throw you of your feet ... beers i say after skiing ... three normal techniques in Lech Ski School ... 20 y ago 130 dm ca 50 $ for 1 week ski school till evening in Lech 50 $ per hour very much but some want more ... UK Freeride camp ca 100 $ or DM per week I figured that is top ...

Bernhard Franz:
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Ski Instruction & Coaching › Article on Mogul Skiing, first edition.