You helped us put together a list of North America’s favorite mogul runs, but how do you ski them? Here are a few tips:
1. Think of moguls as your allies, not your enemies.
The upslope of a big mogul can act as a bit of a backstop to help you scrub speed before continuing down the slope. The bumps also give you an easy place to turn. When your skis are going across the crest of the bump’s backside, the tips and tails are off the snow for a moment, so it’s an ideal place to use as a “pivot point” for changing direction.
2. Keep tips in contact with the snow.
Once the skis start coming around as you are changing direction, think of pressing your tips on the snow down the face of the bump. That thought keeps your weight forward, so your edges are on the snow and doing their job keeping you in control.
Think of yourself as a flowing stream of water, nicely rolling over rocks without any splashing or whitewater. This visualization tip is not a hard-and-fast rule. Advanced mogul skiers may choose to spend some time in the air coming off a particular bump or two for fun and variety. They may even “zipper-line” down a bump run like in an Olympic mogul competition. There’s a difference though in making a style choice and just getting bounced around in a mogul field.
3. Plant your pole on the top of the bump.
If up on the backside of a bump is an ideal place to initiate a turn, then the pole plant naturally lands right on top of the bump. In fact, the pole plant makes a great cue to begin the turn. Swinging the pole forward to “pop” (think bubble-wrap) the very top of the next bump where you want to turn tends to keep you forward and in rhythm.
4. Narrow your stance.
Back in the day, all the cool skiers looked like their ankles were locked together. Changing ski technology has led to a generally wider stance in modern skiing.
Nonetheless, a fairly narrow stance is still a good idea in the bumps. Logically, you don’t want a really wide stance that gives you one leg way down in a trough and the other on the top of a bump.
5. Ski with good fundamentals.
As with any challenging type of terrain or snow condition, there are some tricks (such as a narrower stance in bumps) that make things easier. Nevertheless, mogul skiing is still skiing. Moguls just tend to highlight technique flaws that are already present. You can often “get away with” not keeping your upper body facing down the fall line on a blue groomer. However, let your uphill hand drift behind you in big bumps and it won’t be pretty.
great tips, definitely want to focus on planting the pole on top of the bump and pivoting the skis around the bump. It’s all about rotation in the moguls!
Skid the fronts hard on really steep mogul fields. Nice article. Always tougher to explain than just do.
Thanks! Nice of you to say.
Great article Eric, I was thinking of this article especially the first point while skiing Kodiak at Whitefish. I was traversing across to the right (which leads to my weak turn) and I found myself on a proud bump — boom skis turned and I was to able to start turning. I also agree very strongly with your last point — if you are skiing with solid technique it really doesn’t matter what the terrain is, you should be able to do it.
The one thing that has me wondering though is the difference between Midwestern style moguls and Western style. I have a hard time thinking of what I was skiing in at Whitefish as moguls. The Kodiak moguls seemed more like chopped up powder than the ice studs I am used to calling moguls. If I had to I was able to carve my skis through the mogul something that does not happen with the moguls around here.
That was fun, when I was home I waited for some sunshine and warmth to soften up a “wild” area at Ski Brule and I started to skiing it — something I had never done before.