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Last fall, Jonny Moseley strode into my office with a bone to pick. “Moguls don’t need to be as hard as everyone makes them,” he insisted. As the magazine’s instruction editor and a mediocre-at-best bump skier, I was all ears if a little skeptical. I constantly hear from readers who want to improve their mogul technique, but can any of us really hope to shred like Moseley? What’s more, can an Olympic champ who pinballs zipper lines in his sleep break it down in terms we mortals can understand?
Turns out the answers are yes and yes. I made Jonny put his money where his mouth is last week at his home mountain, Squaw Valley. He delivered. You’ll be able to read more of Jonny’s tips in the magazine next season. Until then, here are a few nuggets of wisdom and an on-slope demo from the legend himself.
The backside of a mogul is actually very steep. It could be 35, maybe even 38, degrees. When you come up over the top of a bump, you have to step onto its backside and onto your new downhill ski immediately. If you let yourself ride even to the toe of your boots before you start to turn, by the time your skis hit the snow, you will have fallen two or three feet into the trough below the bump. And if you fall two to three feet when it’s that steep, you’re going to pick up an exponential amount of speed with each bump. That’s what people do. They get air, they land hard, their feet shoot out from under them, then they hit the next bump, catch more air, land again and soon they’re gone. You’ll make three to five turns and blow up.
As you come across the top of a bump, you have to get your upper body out over the top of your uphill ski, which will quickly become your new downhill ski. Everyone does this when they’re skiing normally. When you’re doing a GS turn, you have a lot of time to do it. In bumps, this move needs to happen so much faster.
A major key is a pre-jump, which is supposedly an alpine racing technique but we all use it. It’s what you do when you jump a cliff or come over a knoll. Think of the crest of a mogul as a chain-link fence. You walk up to it, squat down, explode up as hard as you can, throw your hips through and up, and at the apex of the jump, you suck your feet up. That’s how you jump anything. Don’t let the mogul push your feet: Actively suck them up. Jump before you get to the crest of a mogul, pull your feet up and over, land softly and high on the backside then skid to dump speed.
SKI Magazine director of instruction and PSIA Team Captain, Michael Rogan, gives his best tips on how to ski the bumps and moguls in this episode of Essentials Clinics.