Skiing How-To: Bumps

howtoskimogulsWith the 2013/14 Ski Season off to an excellent start (over 100″ of Champagne Powder already!), it’s a good time to start our monthly series of skiing How-To’s.

This month we start with bumps. Loved by many, but intimidating to many more, bumps don’t have to be scary.  Indeed they can be fun, not to mention a great way to sneak in a workout. Follow our important tips below and all the while keep this this mantra in mind: Take. It. Slow.

How to Ski Moguls

Take it Slow
When starting to ski the bumps, don’t plan on a race. In fact, don’t even plan on any sort of time frame whatsoever; take it slow.  You won’t be racing down a mogul run like the pros today, and probably not tomorrow or next week either. But be patient, learn the skills and initiate muscle memory, and you’ll start speeding up in good time.

Keep it Easy
No, we don’t mean find a green run, but find the easiest bump run available.  This means not too steep and smaller moguls, so you can practice your skills without adding in the intimidation factor.  The skills you learn on the easier runs will apply to the harder runs later. If you’re skiing in Steamboat Springs, a great option is Norther. Save runs like White Out, Twister, and Hurricane for after you feel very confident.

photo1Use your Legs
Crucial in mogul- success is absorption, and 99.9% of this is done with your legs and abdominals (for stabilization). Think of your upper body as staying relatively motionless on a vertical level, while your legs absorb the changes in terrain. Keep your feet (skis) in contact with the snow at all times, pressing into the mogul wells and then up with each bump.

Narrow your Stance (a little)
Unlike on the groomers, when your feet should be about hip width apart, in the bumps you want your feet closer. Not touching, but closer so as to more easily maneuver the bumps.

Turn Ahead of the Mogul
Contrary to popular belief, you don not turn on top of a mogul. You want to turn around a mogul and slide into the next one (more on this in a minute).

Reach Downhill
Like we said above, your legs are doing the majority of work in the moguls, and so your hands and upper body should be relatively still, always reaching down the hill. Keep your eyes looking down and hands reaching down, touching your pole lightly on the top of each mogul as you turn around it (note we said touching your pole – much better phrasing than planting, which is too aggressive).

Establish a Rhythm
Another important part of mastering mogul success is speed control and rhythm.  Keep a mantra in your head, such as “Reach, Touch, Turn, Slow Down.” and repeat with each turn down the hill. Reach your pole, touch lightly, turn around it, then slow down in to the next mogul and repeat.

Be Kind to Yourself
Lastly, be kind to yourself!  Patience is key and you won’t master moguls the first run. Devote a half hour to “practice” and then just go ski and have fun. Getting frustrated or tired will only cause problems, and skiing is supposed to be fun, so never let yourself get too upset.  If that happens, take a break and head for your favorite aprés happy hour spot!

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