Bump Skier

Ski Tips

As thoughts occur up from time to time that may be of some use to beginning, intermediate, or advanced skiers or other snow riders, we'll place those notes on this page.


 

CRUD & CHOP:

We were blessed with 30" of snow over a period of three days & I was stuck in the office for that period so didn't get a chance to experience some of the good light powder that came down initially.

When I finally got out into the crusty broken up stuff on the third day, it was with the same trepidation that I suspect all skiers must feel the first time they venture into those tough conditions. I started out very tentatively and consequently came close to auguring in on a number of occasions on my first run down a fairly steep slope.

Finally part way through the second run the light slowly came on in my head. I separated my skis a bit and started using more up motion to initiate and a whole lot more down motion to finish. As I look back on the "learning by feeling process", I think the key issue was getting on and off the edges more quickly than on groomed slopes.

In other words you could not be lazy and stand on a flat ski in this difficult kind of snow. Any attempt to do so resulted in a caught edge and a quick trip to the ground.

After a handful of runs, I was able to allow my feet to close slightly and as my balance became better established, my confidence grew and I was able to ski faster and follow a straighter line down the hill. So the keys to skiing better in the crud may be:


BUMPS!

Everybody's favorite subject - at least mine. The moguls are an always changing, always difficult challenge. From the softness of fresh powder bumps to the concrete ones that develop when snow's not fallen for several days, the bumps are never forgiving.

For the beginning bump skier it's important to tackle runs in gradually increasingly levels of difficulty. Confidence is critical in this discipline, so don't just automatically seek out the steepest, roughest section you can find on the mountain. Choose terrain that offers nice round, large diameter moguls with easy troughs, so that you have plenty of time to make decisions and gradually acquire the ability to pick a solid line down the hill.

As your abilities improve, vary the way you ski these easier bump runs. Most of us depend too much on a deflective pole plant to initiate the turns, so leave your poles at the top of the hill and try some runs bare handed. Then add pole plants very lightly for a while followed by a more deflective pole plant later.

Lastly, follow the listed strategies as best you can once you're able to stay pretty much in a perfect line down the hill.

As you begin skiing faster and faster through bumps, you will find it essential to become more aggressive in the extension/forward movement of the hips in each trough. The compression itself remains a passive, reactive maneuver, whereas the extension/hip movement becomes more and more active and forceful. Enjoy the moguls. They are the most challenging part of skiing (racing of course, excepted).

Here's a rough drawing that somewhat illustrates what was discussed above.

FAT SKIS

Just a couple of quick comments for those of you who may not have yet skied this kind of profile. These are very turny types of skis. Unless you're on one of the narrower profile models, it takes very little movement to initiate an arc. Because the accepted preference is to ski basically in the fall line in junk and powder, rather than use a strong rising motion with both legs, try straightening the uphill leg only to initiate.

Then soften that "turning leg" either rapidly or less rapidly depending on how you wish to scribe the radius of the turn. With some experimentation you'll find that you can make easy adjustments to your arcs simply by varying the speed with which you bend the outside leg following the turn initiation.


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