Skiing Moguls 101

Riley McDonald | | Industry NewsIndustry NewsBrainsBrains
Moguls at Mammoth
Moguls Ski Run at Mammoth Mountain, picture: Mammoth Mountain Facebook

At some point in their career, all skiers will come face to face with the dreaded bumps. Skiing down the seemingly haphazardly shaped and placed moguls can be intimidating if you have no knowledge or experience to guide you. I am here to help this be a less painful process for you, and perhaps even make it an enjoyable experience!

First and foremost, don’t be intimated by the prospect of falling or looking silly. Every skier was once in your shoes, no one was born knowing how to perfectly navigate the bumps. Now that we have established that, let’s dive right into how to become an expert mogul skier:

  • Before tackling the moguls, make sure you have a basis of technique backing your skiing ability.

    Technique is very important in skiing, and approaching uneven terrain makes it even more crucial. To acquire this technique I suggest signing up for a lesson, even if you are an experienced skier, you can sign up for a more advanced class. If this is not a financial option, you can always turn to the trusty-dusty YouTube University! There are plenty of very helpful skiing videos on YouTube, I highly suggest Stomp It Tutorials.

  • Now that we have the technique covered, let’s hit the moguls!

    Choose a mogul run on the mountain that is on par with your skiing ability. I also highly suggest waiting until mid-day or afternoon for your first time if there are icy conditions. This allows the sun to soften up the snow a little, icy moguls are a whole other beast in themselves. At the top of the run, take a moment to pick a line, you may not stick to it perfectly, but having a plan never hurts. Choose a path that you feel comfortable with.

  • Pole plant.

    This is non-negotiable. Your form when skiing moguls is important, you need to adopt a more narrow stance, your shoulders should be over your toes, and your arms should be in front of your body. As you approach the mogul, plant your pole on top of the bump. After your pole is planted, start pivoting your skis, then turn around your pole. Repeat this cycle with your other arm on your next turn. (Check out the below photo, you can see the skier’s pole is directed toward the top of the next mogul, where he will plant then pivot.)

moguls skiing, pole planting
Mogul skier pole planting, picture: Park City Mountain Resort Facebook
  • Stay loose, stay active.

    Picture how your car drives over a rough road, it has shocks to absorb the bumps. The stiffer the shocks, the more uncomfortable and sloppy the drive. Imagine your legs are shocks, keep them loose, and allow your legs to absorb the bumps and extend in the valleys. If you’re stiff, the moguls will throw you around and you will lose control. Staying loosened up helps you keep your rhythm.

  • Finding a rhythm and sticking with it.

    This may mean that you will find yourself skiing over some bumps instead of in between them. The moguls won’t be kind enough to move out of the way for you and unless it is a professionally built mogul run for racing, the bumps will be different sizes and spaced out unevenly. Don’t sweat it, skiing on top of the mogul is always an option. The most important thing is to stay loose and keep your rhythm. Once you are more comfortable, you can stay in the troughs completely to ski the fastest line down the mountain.

That’s it! Keep all these tips in mind until they are second nature. Don’t get frustrated, it is a learning curve. If it seems to be going poorly, it usually means that you aren’t completing all of these steps, in most cases, it is a result of you being stiff from nerves or out of frustration. Stay calm and keep trying! You will get the hang of it after some practice, and maybe even fall in love with moguls!

professional mogul skiing
Professional mogul skier at Deer Valley, picture: Deer Valley Resort Facebook

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5 thoughts on “Skiing Moguls 101

  1. Best piece of advice ever given, pretend you are holding a lunch tray in front of you AND say 1 bump, 2 bump , check your speed. 50 and still able to ski them.

  2. I know websites have to crank out garbage articles for SEO purposes, but could you at least try a little bit? Besides stuffing a bunch of keywords, all you did was say, “Plant your pole, stay loose, and send it broski”. Seriously, that adds no value to someone who was actually hoping to learn something.

  3. Ok yabbo. Let me tell you about the glory days, when every east coast boring transplant was a bump fag, that’s what we called them. They came from back east and they all loved the moguls, couldn’t get enough, and they hated powder. Hated fresh snow because they couldn’t ski it, no phat skis yet. So we native locals could ski the freshies all day because the powder frenzy didn’t exist until the advent of the bloody phat ski. Those were the days.

  4. IMHO – this feels like Moguls 201 not 101.

    101 should include:
    * It’s not a race – you can take it slow as you learn
    * Look ahead it’s about anticipation more than skiing on a groomer

  5. No matter how many years go by, it still blows my mind that there are a few people out there who actually enjoy skiing moguls.
    Have at ’em!

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