Skiing Moguls – they can be polarizing. Some people love skiing moguls – they’re challenging, give you a great workout, and you can catch some serious air. Others try to avoid them at all costs.
Love ’em or hate ’em, if you’re on a resort, sooner or later you’ll have to navigate a mogul field on the slopes.
In this article, we’ll cover some key tips on how you can improve your mogul skiing. If you love them already, you can use the tips to learn how to rip down the fall line. If you hate ’em these tips will help you navigate them more confidently, and who knows…. you might end up having fun?!
What are moguls and how do they get there?
The term mogul comes from the Austrian German word mugel which means a mound or a hill. They usually form from skiers and snowboarders doing what they do — turning.
At a resort with people turning and stopping in similar pathways, little grooves are cut into the snow and mounds begin to accumulate. Once the little mounds are there, skiers take the same paths over and over again, and a mogul run is born.
Alright, how do I ski Moguls? – Mindset
Before we jump into specific pointers that may help you in skiing moguls, I want to quickly talk about the mindset you need. Basically, either you ski the bumps, or they will ski you.
That goes with many things with skiing, but the more you are intentional and tackle the terrain or the right bump line head-on, the more confident and able skier you will be.
A controlled, intentional skier, will maintain the right contact with the snow as they head downhill through any kind of terrain. So, ski the terrain, or the terrain will ski you.
With skiing moguls, you want to have your weight low and centered. You want to imagine the center of your weight being at your core with a still upper body and mobile lower body. Have your knees bent, and stay centered over the skis. If you are back too far, the skis will run out from under you, and you’ll go into your backset.
If your stance position is too far forward, then you’ll risk going over the front of your skis, and also decreasing the mobility of your legs.
You want to have your weight 40-65% forward for smaller moguls and 30% forward for larger moguls.
In addition to the photo below, as you scroll down, you’ll see a video of a pro skier. Watch how he maintains a neutral, slightly forward stance to aid his balance as he initiates each turn.
Focus and Choosing Your Line
A big key to mogul skiing is to envision your desired line before you start. You want to try and look about four bumps ahead which means you know precisely where you’re turning well before you get there.
Choose a sequence of turns that seems to have a natural rhythm to help you and your legs develop a good feel for each turn. Try to get into a rhythm and always be thinking 2-4 turns ahead of where you are skiing.
Control your speed
One of the key techniques for good mogul skiing is to learn to control your speed. The two main ways for a skier to control speed on moguls are with their legs and with the way they turn.
As you charge down a bump run, you can push your legs against the front of each bump. This flexing, sort of like your pushing against the front of the bump, instead of just popping over each bump, will provide some speed control. Remember to push against the bumps as you head down.
Without speed control, you’ll end up like this guy:
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Don’t be that guy.
You can also add a slight turn cut/skid into each mogul as your able. Each mini-skid will be like a mini-hockey stop that should employ the edge of the skis to scrub some speed from your run. That way, you won’t feel like you’re making a straight charge down the mountain.
In the video below, you’ll see both the skier flexing against the bumps and employing micro-skids to control his speed as he charges downhill.
To pole plant or not to pole plant
Pole planting while mogul skiing can be quite helpful, especially as you’re learning.
The right pole planting will help to keep your body charging daw the fall line as you negotiate your mini turns. It can also help your body to develop a rhythm and create focus as you look ahead.
As you advance, though, you’ll notice if you can carry speed through the terrain that the pol plants will actually create a greater challenge. You will ultimately be moving too fast to benefit from pole planting. Take a look at Olympic skiers. You’ll see that as they pick up speed on a mogul run, that they don’t end up using their poles that much.
Turn on top or in between?
The turning technique that you use when skiing bumps will depend on your goals and confidence. If you are looking to charge a bump run, then you will want to make sure each turn is in between, or at the trough of the bumps. This will ensure you maximize the contact with the snow that you maintain through each turn.
If you are just looking to get through the run on your way to a different point on the mountain, then you may consider the top turn method. This method has you turn on top of each mogul. As your ski rides over the top, this will allow you to quickly pivot without losing your balance. This technique will only work on a more gentle piste or slope.
Learning Mogul Skiing Techniques
As with any new skill, it takes practice. I would recommend starting on a softer slope, likely a Blue run, with small and more shallow moguls.
Work hard on maintaining a slow speed as you ski through the bumps. As you ski think about the points of skiing technique mentioned in this article — owning the moguls, maintaining the right pace, rhythm, stance, etc.
As soon as the skills continue to develop, slowly you’ll move toward larger steeper mogul races. Put the basic steps in your head like a mantra – hands on the front, athletic position, look down the falls line. Keep this in mind and focus. Stick to the basics, start slow and then progress.
Keep a distance from the view of the chairlift if you want to practice without fear of judgment and fall. – Make sure you practice somewhere you feel comfortable.
Wrapping it Up – To Ski Moguls
If you can keep these ideas in your head for your next trip to the mountain, you’ll be much more prepared to ski moguls.
Navigating a mogul field can be both scary and exhilarating….or both at the same time. We hope this article has been helpful, even if you don’t love the idea of skiing bumps.