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Skiing moguls: part two

By Kimberlee Hutcherson
SUN Columnist

No two moguls are alike and they are constantly changing. The bump run that you skied in the morning will probably be quite different by the afternoon. That’s why its important to know your skiing skills and be able to apply different tactics to adjust for the changes.

There is a huge variety of ways to ski the moguls and, really, there is no “proper” way. As long as you are rhythmically linking turns, staying in control of your speed and staying in balance, you are successfully skiing moguls.

I personally am not a one-trick pony. In other words, I don’t always ski just the zipper line. I like to use the backs, sides and especially the tops of the moguls. There is usually better snow on the tops, which helps me shave off some of the unwanted speed. Also, the top of the bump can be a great place to turn.

Skiing the zipper line of a mogul field takes courage, commitment and strength. The best person I’ve seen ski the zipper line was one of my former co-workers named Warren Phipps. He exhibited these qualities. I, however, do not. That’s why I rarely ski the zipper line.

If you have always struggled in the mogul field because you thought you had to ski the troughs and the line made by someone else, take heart; there are other options. You can have success. You don’t have to be a teenage athlete to ski bumps.

A mogul field is not a good place to practice the fundamentals such as pivoting and skidding your skis, short radius turns and an effective pole plant. Practice these skills on a groomer first. When you get pretty good with these skills, then you’re ready to head into the moguls.

So now let’s address one of many common mistakes skiers make in the bumps.

Skiers almost always tend to sit back on the tails of their skis. This causes their skis to propel forward as the body gets left behind. To keep this from happening, make sure your legs are flexed with your shins pressed to the cuff of your boots. Your hands are up and in front of your body. It’s important to keep your center-of-mass moving forward by mentally committing to each turn. If you are hesitating before committing to the new turn, that hesitation will leave you in the back seat.

Going slow for a while will really help you be more willing to keep your body perpendicular to your skis. Fear makes you hesitate and hesitation makes your fear come true. So, again, by slowing down, it will reduce the fear factor. Reaching out with your pole and touching the snow also helps drive the body forward. Obviously, there is a lot to this mogul skiing. I think that’s why it’s so satisfying when you can start to successfully navigate a mogul field. It can be very exhilarating.

This story was posted on February 20, 2014.