Myth: The really great skiers you see ripping zipper lines down moguls know exactly where and when to turn.
That belief is probably the biggest hoax in skiing, one that’s kept many intermediate and even advanced skiers from succeeding in the bumps. Skiers desperate to conquer moguls believe that they must attack them from top to bottom with a fully fledged plan in place, knowing exactly where they’re going to turn before they even start down the run. They think that without a plan, they’ll never make it down alive.
Here’s the thing: Even great skiers have no idea what their plan is in moguls. Moguls are chaos (at least, at resorts they are), and so experts have to improvise just like everyone else. They may be more skilled and can react more quickly, but they still figure out their line as they go.
So the secret to bashing bumps successfully is not necessarily being better at visualizing your line or going in with a steadfast plan, but being OK with not having a plan.
“It is really difficult to think that you can pick a line that lasts 20 to 30 turns and remember it,” says Michael Rogan, professional ski instructor and head coach of the PSIA Alpine Team. “You’re going to get four or five at the most. Once you get into the third turn of that section—the rest you just kind of have to figure out and wing it. That’s the beauty of moguls. You realize you’re good enough to figure it out on the fly and still keep linking turns.”
If you’re not quite there yet, try Rogan’s “Lane-Switch” mogul drill. Practice finding your line around just three or four bumps at a time, then force yourself to commit to a new line to get in the habit of winging it and linking it.