5 tips for better skiing on mogul slopes
You feel like you have confidence and the ability to ski reasonably well, but when you find yourself in the moguls, everything starts to go horribly wrong, but why?
First you need to decide if you are ready to sail on this illusory beach. My argument is that 99% of skiers move too quickly to moguls before they have the necessary skills. This leads to a deep-rooted fear and aversion that turns into a pattern of disillusionment from the start.
In my opinion, you will always suffer in the humps until you can ski steep slope terrain with dynamic and varied short turns along with strong body alignment and well-timed pole use. If your arsenal consists of only one type of short curve, ask for trouble when the terrain becomes challenging. Some skiers manage to struggle down a zipper line or mogul slope in the mistaken belief that they can ski moguls, but in reality they simply embed poor and inefficient motor patterns into their skiing.
Proper skiing through a zipper line should feel smooth, controlled and dynamic, rather than stuck and surviving. Educating skiers to be more aware of the basics will lead to the first positive steps toward easy mogul skiing. Here are 5 tips for skiing better moguls;
On the slope, exaggerate the movement pattern required to go over the bumps. If you can’t bend and stretch and make positive forward and backward movements on the ski on groomed slopes, I don’t know why people would think that when they enter more technical terrain they will suddenly be able to do something they normally can never do while skiing. Isn’t it logical to practice something new, challenging and, let’s face it, scary in a controlled environment? Don’t assume that when it’s chopped off, you’ll suddenly be able to do movements you’ve never practiced before. Most skiers simply don’t rest enough on the slopes. An experienced skier is constantly in flux and his joints are always adjusting to the forces under the ski as he progresses downhill. The untrained eye may think they do little, but to stay in good alignment, they work much harder than you think.
Improve your core strength, your upper body needs discipline! With nearly 70% of your weight sitting above your waist line, any disruptive upper body movement will only result in a battle with the terrain under your skis as you create an awkward moving arm that is difficult to control when going down a bumpy hill . If you don’t realize the importance of core tension and power in skiing, you will never join the ranks of an expert all-mountain skier.
Try to let your legs guide you through the terrain in flexion and extension rather than trying to guess the movement pattern. Many skiers understand that they should stretch and bend to accommodate the contours of the bumps, but I find that they are always out of sync and misjudge the timing. If you avoid locking your muscles but ski with a more relaxed feel, when you hit the back of the moguls the resulting force will push your legs up toward your chest, and when the force on the back of the bumps subsides, your more relaxed legs will shoot you back down for better snow contact and, more importantly, better timing. This tip only works if your feet have something to rest against, so a solid core is required.
Keep your elbows toward your sides and have a productive pole plant. If your arms tend to swing around a lot, learn to keep them steady and fixed on the slopes, and bring your new pole alignment to the moguls. If your shoulder falls back after each pole plant, you can forget about drawing a successful line on the moguls. Poor bar movement is often related to poor balance, so you may need to review some of the basics.
Finally, check your equipment! I know that a bad worker blames his tools. However, when skiing, certain ski bumps, ill-fitting boots, boots that are too stiff, skis that make the job harder, poles that are too long/too short, etc. will only add to the already existing mountain of difficulties. It surprises me that every season I encounter so many skiers with shoes that are way too big. The boot is your lever to move the ski, and if it’s too big, either in length or width, you lose the ability to get the foot speed you need for moguls. The sweet spot under your foot and the set in the middle of the binding are misaligned and this only leads to more trouble. If you find that you are constantly getting caught on the ends of your skis, the boot is probably too stiff. Beginners need to use appropriate equipment to help them learn.
Well, there you have it! Prepare to be frustrated and challenged as you put in the miles to improve your bump skiing. Most skiers simply avoid the moguls and that’s one reason they don’t improve. Sometimes we have to jump in at the deep end. Have fun and keep smiling.