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Skiing the moguls

jack97

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These kind of mogul fields don't exist anymore. These roundish half peach shaped mounds with perfect sinusoidal lines between them seem to be a thing of the past. What we do have is something looking more like bunch a banana shaped ridges that have a lot of perpendicular orientation and a lot of space in between. No rhythm or line, just a slog.

Two weeks ago I had a vacation week at Sugarloaf. There was a ton of good snow and moguls, but my favorite runs like Ripsaw, Bubblecuffer, Winters Way, Boomauger that usually grow some fabulous lines of moguls all sucked. Weird bumps all over the place.
I don't know what changed, wide skis? snowboard made lines? Who knows.
I don't ski anything wider than 80mm under my feet and in spring, I really like to bring out by "skinny" K2 Kevlars from the bygone era and dance in corn bumps. No more.
I could never do even a fraction of what the video shows, but I could do some and that was a blast.

Lots of things changed, I agree that some bumps have taken on weird shapes and we have some wide spacing in between. I will say that you will find a more symmetrical formation on trails where they seed them or they were cut by skiers would can make a short and consistent radius turn. That's where I will see some who can skip across each trough like some in the vid below. See the guy with the Brady jersey and Harley D emblem, he was a former mogul coach from the Northeast.



IMO, for the present day mogul skiing, its about versatility as mentioned by BMM. Each trail and resort I go to has it own formation. Sometimes when I see a line where the bumps are tightly spaced and has a smooth rounded front side that's where you can make skip across the trough and make those deflection turns. Maybe its not the length of the trail, but they do exist in a sections.
 

kingslug

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I really tried to learn the "correct way" to ski moguls and got OK at it but found it difficult to really do it right...then I discovered "My" way of doing it..so yes my goal is to get down the hill and have some fun doing it. And I like doing it on fat boards. I'm not wiped out at the end of the day. I was wondering where the mogul fields of old went too. Hunter used to set up a B course on Eisenhower and that was difficult.
My favorite bump run now is Chin Clip..its never ending ..but at least gone are the days when I would come upon a mogul field with no way around and..die. I seek them out now ( except when its all ice). Maybe snowboards and fat skis have changed the fields..what else could have?
 

machski

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I really tried to learn the "correct way" to ski moguls and got OK at it but found it difficult to really do it right...then I discovered "My" way of doing it..so yes my goal is to get down the hill and have some fun doing it. And I like doing it on fat boards. I'm not wiped out at the end of the day. I was wondering where the mogul fields of old went too. Hunter used to set up a B course on Eisenhower and that was difficult.
My favorite bump run now is Chin Clip..its never ending ..but at least gone are the days when I would come upon a mogul field with no way around and..die. I seek them out now ( except when its all ice). Maybe snowboards and fat skis have changed the fields..what else could have?
Yes, I would say more so than snowboards, fat skis have totally changed the shape of mogul fields. There is just no way around that fact. My favorite ski in my current quiver for moguls are my K2 Chargers (grant you, a but stiff but the 74 underfoot allows for close stance and quick, precise turns needed). I will ski them with my bigger all around skis (Pinnacle 95's and now Mindbender 99's) but I can totally feel the difference and it's huge. The wider skis if real powdery or super mush spring do ok and I can go at a decent clip, I think mostly because I can climb the sides of the bumps rather than stay in the troughs. But just be that description, you can see how that technique will shave and straighten out the side of the bumps. If they are firmer, I revert to trough but always find myself standing ontop of each edge. They are just too wide to ski in a tight stance. With the Chargers, I can stay in the trough and never find myself stepping on one ski with the other. I'm not suggesting fat skis are bad here, just pointing out that they do ski differently in the bumps and even on flat snow. So fields built up primarily from skiers on fat skis will form up differently than when we were all on long, narrow skis.

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granite

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Hips up-ski tips down. Hips down-ski tips up. Hips up-ski tips down. Hips down-ski tips up. Hips up-ski tips down. Hips down-ski tips up.

Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down.

Hands in front. Hands in front. Hands in front. Hands in front. Hands in front.

Knees and feet together. Knees and feet together. Knees and feet together. Knees and feet together.
 

BushMogulMaster

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Maybe snowboards and fat skis have changed the fields..what else could have?

Snowboards, fat skis, and especially in New England, tele skis, have changed the shape of the fields. Along with that, ski technique changed drastically from a partially skidded turn with edge set as the primary turn, to a purely carved turn made possible and accessible to the masses by shaped skis. Then fat skis which allow high speed, wide radius turns over terrain that used to require lots of fast turns. Tele turns tend to "chop off" the downhill side of the mogul, changing their shapes.

But grooming practices across the industry have also changed the presence of moguls, and their shape. The more we groom, the less moguls are available for people to learn. Very few ski resorts leave moguls on lower-level intermediate runs, so skiers are forced to steep, intimidating terrain if they want to learn. With fewer people skiing bumps well, fewer and fewer well-formed bumps appear. With the widespread adoption of winch technology, even the steep terrain was easily groomed. The more a run is groomed, the more firm and icy the base will become. New bumps will not form into nice lines, as the icier patches underneath will shed/sluff the snow, leading it to pile up in odd places. As skiers without the requisite technique try to ski this terrain, they side slip into the piles, turning them into unwieldy mounds in no particular logical order.

I'll spare you the long-form version here, but I did write something about this a few years ago. https://www.saminfo.com/speakout-issues/4241-speakout-where-are-all-the-moguls
 
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BushMogulMaster

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I really tried to learn the "correct way" to ski moguls and got OK at it but found it difficult to really do it right.

As Glen Plake said in Fistful of Moguls: "Of course it's difficult! Skiing is a difficult sport!" :wink: Yep, skiing moguls well will wipe you out. It's definitely a highly athletic discipline, nothing at all like cruising.

But here's the thing: are you having fun? Are you satisfied with your skiing? If so, then don't sweat it. At the end of the day, unless you're competing, there is no single "correct" way. There are a few incorrect ways which can lead to injury, out of control skiing, etc., and there are lots of other ways that are less efficient, less "pretty", less xyz, etc., etc. But if you like the way you ski and you're having fun, go for it. I've just found through coaching quite a few bump clinics that once mogul technique really clicks, it shifts the entire skiing paradigm for people, and things that they used to avoid or struggle with are now their favorite part of the sport. So with all that said, remember that skiing should be fun. If an active, intensely athletic and physically demanding form of skiing doesn't appeal to you, ski the terrain and the turns that does appeal to you. But I'd still say fill up that toolbox with different techniques to allow more efficient, terrain-appropriate turns, so that you have them at your disposal when you need them.
 

deadheadskier

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I was going to say, over grooming is one of the bigger culprits. Places that leave their bump terrain ungroomed all season tend to have better bumps.

Wildcat is one of the better Eastern mountains for bumps. Of their 48 trails about half never see a groomer all season. Now this definitely limits terrain options during thaw and refreeze events or when there's a natural snow drought, but overall it creates a better product when the ungroomed trails are in play. The mountain does still have a fair amount of irregularities on many of the bump trails, but that's often due to things like double fall lines that prevent people from skiing in a uniform rhythm when the bumps are forming early season. You still can find plenty of places with good zippers for 20 bumps or so and then you just readjust your line.

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Domeskier

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I think one of the reasons inexperienced mogul skiers shy away from standard mogul technique is that most of the examples they see (especially on the internet) are experienced rippers gunning it down steep terrain and they assume it's only suited for that type of skiing. In fact, standard mogul skiing technique facilitates excellent speed control and stability in the bumps.

Junho Seo's youtube channel has a bunch of nice instructional videos illustrating good form and control. They are in Korean, but non-Korean speakers can still get a lot out of them. Here's a good example:

 

BenedictGomez

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But grooming practices across the industry have also changed the presence of moguls, and their shape. The more we groom, the less moguls are available for people to learn. Very few ski resorts leave moguls on lower-level intermediate runs, so skiers are forced to steep, intimidating terrain if they want to learn. With fewer people skiing bumps well, fewer and fewer well-formed bumps appear. With the widespread adoption of winch technology, even the steep terrain was easily groomed. The more a run is groomed, the more firm and icy the base will become.

Preach!

I've speculated this for some years now. It's a self-fulfilling negative feedback loop. It's similar to the logic of why I'm worried EPIC & IKON will lead to decreased beginner skiers due to their artificially high single day ticket prices designed not by financial logic, but by a desire to push people onto season passes. Another negative feedback loop. My heart hurts a little every time I see a Stratton or Deer Valley post on Facebook about their miles of "perfectly groomed corduroy", as if that's supposed to be a great thing. Ugh...

Moguls on lower-angle terrain are so rare today that you NOTICE them in the rare event you find them. I skied Mont Sutton for the first time last month, and that place does minimal grooming (and I say that in a wonderful way). There were moguls everywhere! I was pleasantly surprised & decided to work on some basic mogul stuff on bumped-up intermediate terrain that wasn't very steep. It was fantastic. The other thing I noticed about Mont Sutton is there were a lot of really great mogul skiers up there in zee French Canada. What I dont know is, is it the chicken or the egg? Are there solid mogul skiers at Mont Sutton because they come there for Sutton's bump terrain, or did they become decent bump skiers because they're forced to ski bumps from being local to Sutton.
 

jaytrem

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Moguls on lower-angle terrain are so rare today that you NOTICE them in the rare event you find them.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some lower angle bumps at all 3 PA Peaks areas that I went to a couple weeks ago. I figured we would be skiing groomers the whole time, but they were actually real nice bump fields. Liberty and Roundtop also had some steeper ungroomed stuff.

Further north we can at least always count on the trees having bumps. Luckily they haven't figured out how to groom them yet.
 

cdskier

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Moguls on lower-angle terrain are so rare today that you NOTICE them in the rare event you find them.

I agree that we need more of this. Belleayre used to have moguls on every type of trail to allow people to progress. Not sure if they still do, but that was great to help build confidence on mellower bumps.

I think Sugarbush is another place that does a pretty decent job of offering some lower-angle bump runs (Lower Domino, Moonshine, Semi-Tough, and even Walt's at times). I'd definitely like to see more of this.
 

kingslug

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This is why I like Stowe..there are some good intermediate mogul fields lying around. Right at the bottom of liftline is a good small one by the lift tower..lower National..lower Gulch. Even the top of the runs at the Gondi get bumped up. Over at Spruce Upper Smuggs, West Smuggs. Its probably why there are so many good bump skiers there. SB is even better...the kids are phenomenal..even on the super steep icy ones..they don't seem to notice it at all.
I started at 31 so I don't have any of that early experience. Which is why tree skiing in moguls is my current nemesis now. Mistakes in there can be fatal.
 

jaytrem

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Which is why tree skiing in moguls is my current nemesis now. Mistakes in there can be fatal.

Nah, I'm sure you're skiing the bumps slower in there, so I'd say severe concussion at the worst!

I do have a friend who won't let her kids ski the trees. I'm always trying to convince her that's the safest place to be. No chance of flying off the trail at 30MPH, and odds are an out of control skier will hit a tree before they hit you.
 

BenedictGomez

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Nah, I'm sure you're skiing the bumps slower in there, so I'd say severe concussion at the worst!

I do have a friend who won't let her kids ski the trees. I'm always trying to convince her that's the safest place to be. No chance of flying off the trail at 30MPH, and odds are an out of control skier will hit a tree before they hit you.

THIS.

Skiing the trees is way safer than skiing intermediate trails.

If you want to ski extreme levels of danger, try a groomed intermediate trail in the Poconos on a Saturday afternoon.
 

Siliconebobsquarepants

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I like how Blue will leave “Bailout “ option by grooming part of the trail. Years ago I was at Killington and a intermediate friend unknown to me followed me down Outerlimits .I stopped and looked uphill to see him loose a ski and land on top of a mogul, he got up with a dislocated shoulder. A couple of surgeries later he was still having a rough time.
 

makimono

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To the point of the original post (I think), the zipper line isn't the only way to ski moguls. Love what Marcus Caston did in his Return of the Turn series bringing back a 1970's hot dog style of skiing - on what...98 width Blizzard Bodacious? Love it!

 
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