Skiing The Bumps
Moguls are bumps on ski runs made from skiers pushing snow into mounds as they make turns. Moguls tend to grow as more skiers ski the run and follow in the troughs creates by earlier skiers. Skiing moguls bounces us up and down. It’s an adrenalin rush for many.
Surprisingly, we’re universally programmed to like bouncing. In the womb, we bounced as our mother moved around. It’s a surprisingly comforting feel. That’s why as a baby we were bounced up and down by our parents. It’s why we loved bouncy swings. It’s why the bounce house is a favorite at kid’s parties. And its why amusement park rides, real or virtual, often build in bouncing effects.
Bump skiing is can take years to master; great bump skiing decades. On my GNASA, I met Joey Cordeau at Sun Valley, a four-time World Mogul Champion. Here’s a video of him teaching at Mt. Hood.
In my early 20’s I wanted to learn to ski the bumps. I remember a perfect day at Grand Targhee where 6 inches of snow had fallen the previous day. I found an uncrowded, wide gully with perfectly spaced bumps. This was going to be my learning field.
I skied this gully all day. I tried everything I could think of to teach myself how to ski the bumps. I extended in troughs, contracted in troughs. I tried to ride the sides. I tried to bank off the sides. I planted poles on the top of the bump and the bottom. I planted my pole behind me, next to me, and in front of me. I twisted my upper body, and kept it still. I kept my body in the fall line, and out of it. I looked at my feet, and three moguls ahead. I tried carving, and sliding my tails.
I fell a lot. But over the course of the day I began to get a rhythm and a sense for what was working. I built on this and over the course of several years I began to feel comfortable in the bumps.
Decades later I started taking bump classes at Taos. The classes changed my bump skiing forever. I had literally spent 15 years with marginal bump skills. I should have taken bump classes early.
Bottom line, take bump classes.
There are numerous ski techniques. They often differ because they were optimized for specific types of terrain. Nowhere is this more legitimately on display than the debate between bumpers and carvers. It’s been three decades since mogul skiing first appeared at the Winter Olympics. The debate between bumpers and carvers, is well, bumping verse carving.