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Skiing moguls is like putting a puzzle together

By Kimberlee Hutcherson
SUN Columnist

To me, skiing moguls is a lot like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. You have all these pieces. Each one is important. They all fit together to make the whole picture. If there are pieces missing, you can still work the puzzle, but the final result is not nearly as pretty.

Now think of this in terms of skiing moguls. The more pieces you have to the puzzle, the better your experience and final results will be. So, the pieces represent your movement skills.

Flexing and extending, rotary and edge control movements; I addressed these skills in further detail in previous articles, so I won’t take the time to break it down for you now, but I do want to spend some time on rotary as it applies to skiing bumps. Turning your legs, feet and skis has to happen very aggressively and independently from your upper body. Your legs will turn very quickly as your upper body (hopefully) stays stable and balanced. The term for this maneuver is called a short radius turn.

Here’s the problem with people skiing short radius turns — there’s a real tendency to pick up the ski that’s on the inside of the turn to match the ski on the downhill or outside of the turn. If you are picking up a ski, that only leaves one on the snow, which reduces your stability by half. Your balance is greatly compromised. Two skis on the snow gives you the much-needed platform to remain more stable. The reason why people tend to pick up the inside ski is because the knee ends up getting in the way.

This is difficult to explain on paper, but if you are one that tends to pick up your ski, then you will probably understand the knee thing. It is tipped in because you haven’t yet rolled the ski toward the outside edge or baby toe. Unless you are actively moving that knee out of the way, your ski tips will cross. Hence the reason why people pick up that inside ski. It’s a survival tactic to keep from tripping over the front of their skis.

Most people can get their skis to cooperate when they are making a medium or large radius turn, because they have more time to move that knee out of the way. It’s the same tactic, but you must do it very quickly in the short radius turn. Instead of picking up your ski, try rolling the inside (inside being the knee that is inside the turn) knee uphill. Lead with the knee. Don’t make it an after thought. Steer with your knees rather than with your shoulders. This will take a lot of practice, but you will love the stability it offers. Stability means control and balance.

Remember, a lot of the time you won’t be skiing the bumps “right.” Ski them anyway. It’s worth it for the times when you do get them right. This must be why people golf.

This story was posted on March 6, 2014.