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Mastering Moguls

Written by Dugald Morrow   
Friday, 21 November 2008

Only a small percentage of skiers ski moguls well. Many advanced skiers can ski groomed pistes beautifully, but fall apart on the moguls. A skier who has mastered the art of moguls makes it look easy since the motion is fluid and seemingly effortless, however, this is definitely not the case.

The key to mastering moguls is learning the compression turn and being able to link them in quick succession.

In a compression turn, the directional change of the skis is initiated shortly after full compression when the

skis begin to slide over the crest of the bump and the weight on the skis is reduced. Most of the ski's directional change occurs when the legs are extended. During this phase there is minimal weight on the skis, however, they should still be on the surface of the snow. The amount of directional change of the skis is dependent on the terrain, snow conditions and speed. Greater directional change will, of course, reduce speed and help maintain control.

If you watch a good bump skier from behind, you will notice their upper body (hips and above) faces and descends relatively smoothly down the fall line whilst their legs zig zag from side to side and absorb the bumps in linked compression turns. This is what you are aiming for.

Single Compression Turns

The best way to learn moguls is to start by mastering the single compression turn. On an intermediate groomed trail, try a compression turn at a slowish speed. The compression turn is initiated by flexing your knees and pulling your feet up. This has the effect of reducing the weight on the skis which is necessary for any non-carving turn. Start to extends your legs when you are about half way through the turn.

You may find a small bump or irregularity on an otherwise groomed trail will help give you the feeling of compressing on the flatter section and extending on the steeper section of the terrain.

Remember that through the whole of the compression turn, your shoulders and hips should be facing down the fall line of the slope.

Linked Compression Turns

Once you have the feel for single compression turns, you can try linking them together. You can still do this without moguls.

When linking compression turns, it is critical you get your balance correctly over your skis. A common mistake is to lean too far backwards. Another common mistake, especially when you move from groomed trails to moguls, is to turn your shoulders across (or even worse up) the slope in an instinctive response to slow down. Moguls need to be approached in a positive and confident manner to ensure you are centrally balanced and remain facing down the fall line.

Last Updated ( Friday, 21 November 2008 )


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