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What is Mogul Skiing?
Wikipedia describes mogul skiing as ” a freestyle skiing competition consisting of one timed run of free skiing on a steep, heavily moguled course, stressing technical turns, aerial manoeuvres and speed”
But most holiday skiers describe moguls as a bit of a nightmare and would not be disappointed if they didn’t see another one in their life.
For those who don’t know, moguls are hard packed bumps of snow that are created when lots of people turn in the same place. Generally lots of lumps will form next to each other making a very bumpy section of slope called a mogul field. Moguls are not a consistent size, shape or pattern so when skiing a mogul field every turn needs to be different which is what makes skiing a mogul field so difficult.
(Chatel local and Olympian Ben Cavet shows us how it’s done!)
Top tips for skiing moguls
Mogul slopes vary in difficulty depending on length, size of moguls, steepness and snow conditions. So when you think it’s time to start skiing moguls we would suggest finding a short stretch of bumps, maybe 6 to 10 bumps long which are not too big. Build your technique, balance and confidence on these before tackling larger mogul fields.
Have a lesson
Skiing bumps requires a different technique to a normal turn on a piste. Generally speaking a mogul turn needs your legs to be closer together, more foot rotation and more flex in the knees. So we highly recommend having a mogul specific lesson to get you started with the right technique. The Chatel ski club specialises in mogul skiing thus we are very fortunate to have some of the best mogul instructors in Europe. We work with Pierre Ochs who was French and European Champion and competed in two Olympic finals – there is no one better qualified to teach you the best way to ski moguls!
Control your speed
When skiing bumps it’ss very easy for you to gain too much speed and then not have the time to start your next turn before hitting the next mogul (which will usually end up in a wipeout). So it’s very important to keep your speed under control and we would recommend when starting to almost come to a stop after each turn. Then as you improve so will your controlled speed.
Follow someone better
One of the hardest aspects of mogul skiing is choosing the right line through the bumps. This only comes with experience but you can learn a lot by following someone better and seeing which line they choose.
Keep your weight forward
If your weight is too far back and you are sitting on your heels then your skis will race away from you at the end of your turn, making you pick up speed and lose balance. Try to keep your weight further forward; one of the best ways to achieve this is to have your hands right out in front of you so you can always see them. It’s very difficult to have your arms forward and your weight back.
Bend ‘ze’ knees
This is the classic French ski instructor comment however it’s very true in the moguls as they are your most effective shock absorbers. When skiing over the moguls you want to keep your skis on the snow and reduce jumping off the top of the moguls; this is because when your skis are on the snow you can turn and control your speed and direction thus you are more in control. So when entering each mogul allow the bump to push your knees towards your body and then extend your toes, ankles and knees when coming over the top of each mogul keeping your skis on the snow.
When you ski moguls do not try and traverse across the piste, because as you travel horizontally you head towards the side of the next mogul which forces you to go downhill to go below it, thus picking up speed before you hit the side of the next bump, picking up more speed and so on. So when skiing bumps choose an imaginary corridor about two meters wide and try to stay inside it.
When skiing moguls your upper body will / should be facing down the mountain all the time. You will be attacking the fall line, which can be quite daunting. So be confident and have fun!
Good luck and if you would like some more information about specific mogul lessons please don’t hesitate to contact us.