We’ve demystified the following 5 myths about skiing:

1. Moguls always make skiing harder.

Ski resorts spend millions each year catering to skiers’ fear of moguls. Grooming snowcats smooth out thousands of trails each night. However, with a little knowledge and technique, skiers can be buddies with bumps.

A somewhat soft mogul field can certainly be easier than a scraped-off smooth slope. The rounded backs of moguls make wonderful pivot points for making turns. A curving sideslip around the mogul can be used to scrub speed. The back of a big bump can even be used as a sort of backstop to steady control before rhythmically continuing down the slope. Look at moguls as sort of a physical metronome to keep that rhythm and guide your line.

Here are a few of North Americas favorite mogul runs.

5 Common Myths About Skiing

PHOTO: Eric Wagnon

2. The number of trails or lifts always accurately reflects a ski areas size.

A ski area’s trail-number total can be easily skewed by a little marketing manipulation. Divide a trail into an “Upper” and “Lower” and one run turns into two. Also, the longest run claim often isn’t what you expect it to be. It’s usually a meandering catwalk that not many people would actually want to ski for its entire length.

The number of lifts is another inaccurate gauge for size. For instance, both Aspen Mountain and the much-smaller Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area in Minnesota count eight lifts. “Skiable acreage” is a much better measurement that shows Aspen being almost 20 times bigger than Hyland.

5 Common Myths About Skiing

PHOTO: Hal Williams

3. Trail ratings always accurately measure difficulty.

The fine print on most trail maps reminds skiers that trail ratings are relative to that ski area. As a result, a blue at Snowbird or Taos may be as steep as a black at Northstar or Buttermilk.

Especially at the higher end of the challenge spectrum, snow conditions play a huge role. A double-black chute under 6 inches of fresh snow may be more forgiving than a single-black full of glazed-over, rock-hard moguls.

5 Common Myths About Skiing

Northstar trail map. PHOTO: Eric Wagnon

4. Youll break your leg.

Once upon a time, leg fractures were the typical ski injury. Think of sporting a big plaster cast by the fire in a 1970s lodge. Changing technology in skis and bindings has made actual leg-bone breaks quite rare. Unfortunately, tears of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee have become this era’s injury.

Check here for The ABCs of Avoiding ACL Injuries While Skiing.

5. Skiing ends after Spring Break in March.

Skiers can’t wait to ski on WROD (“white ribbon of death”) manmade snow in October. After March, they strangely leave lots of good natural snow coverage and even powder untouched. Many ski areas close for the season not because they run out of snow. Rather, they run out of skiers.

5 Common Myths About Skiing

PHOTO: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

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  • surfskibum

    With #5, many resorts operate on leased federal land and have to close by a certain date such as Alta, while other resorts such as Snowbird that are privately owned can stay open as long as conditions permit (which this year will not be that late…)

    • Eric Wagnon

      Indeed, federal land is a factor at many resorts. In that regard, Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana is kind of interesting in that just part of the layout (Hellroaring Basin) closes a week-or-so earlier because of a bear habitat agreement with Forest Service.

      On the other hand, the best example of the spring-break guest drop-off would probably be Red River Ski Area in New Mexico. They cater so much to Texas and Oklahoma families that they close when those spring breaks are finished (March 22 this season). Taking a look at the web cam as I’m writing (March 26), there’s still plenty of snow coverage.

  • Clem Kadiddlehopper

    My favorite moguls are flat. Much easier to ski over.

  • Monta Taylor

    Sufskibum is totally accurate!

  • Can snowplow

    Man made corn snow becomes extremely grainy and super heavy and most people do not have adequate strength to enjoy more than a few runs. Who’s willing to drive 4 hours for a couple of runs on man made corn and what happens if it stays frozen all day?

    • tim

      clearly you have not done any spring skiing and thus don’t know any better. But that’s fine – this is what the majority think and thus the majority stay away….which is good. Hence, the other great aspect of spring skiing – no crowds. So keep thinking that way…you’re right.

  • Gary

    Pond skimming across Lake Reveal.

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