Saturday, March 17, 2007

Check Out the New Mogul Skiing Forum

There’s a new mogul skiing discussion forum online and it’s quickly becoming a home to a bunch of bumpers. If you like talking technique, equipment, terrain and everything else to do with mogul skiing, check out

I’ve also heard a rumor that a new mogul skiing website will be up and running in the months ahead at -- a companion site to the new forum. So keep your eyes open for that, too.

Hope everyone’s enjoying the spring bumps!


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Thank You, Readers

As many of you already know, I self-published my book, Everything the Instructors Never Told You about Mogul Skiing. And as many of you can probably guess, I don’t have a huge marketing budget. But word about the book is getting around the slopes, and “Everything” is ranked #3 today among ski books on In other words: the book is whuppin’ the tails of literally hundreds of traditionally published, big-budget ski books on Amazon!

It’s also selling well through,, other web bookstores, and a number of brick-and-mortar, ski-country bookstores. For this, I thank those of you who are recommending the book to friends and thereby providing me with my most valuable book marketing.

A special thanks to the people who’ve taken the time to submit reader reviews on K. Ibarra of Seattle; Steven Whitmore; John Metzig of Southern California; James Shohet of Chicago; Albert Reiner of Steamboat Springs, Colorado; “Bill” of Washington DC; “Ski Bum Wannabe” of New Hampshire; and G Blasko of Connecticut.

There’s a lot of fun to be had in the moguls. And when you use the right techniques, moguls aren’t half as hard as most skiers think they are. For years, I’ve been frustrated by the instructing establishment’s ignorance of real mogul technique. This is what motivated me to write the book. And now you, my readers, are helping me get the word out, helping me bring mogul skiing to the masses. Again…


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Rippin’ Bumps in Southern NH?

Could it be that southern New Hampshire’s little Pats Peak, with just 710 feet of vertical, will have rippin’ bumps this season? Here's some text from a recent Pats Peak news release:

“This year Pats Peak is solidifying its grip on the best steep/bump skiing in Southern New Hampshire. The Hurricane trail will be home to the only fully automatic SMI fan guns in all of New England. Snowmaking pipelines will charge automatically and guns will turn on and off as temps permit. Blizzards will be produced almost every night to keep the best bump run in Southern New Hampshire in great shape all season long…. And to showcase Pats Peak’s obsession with snowmaking, they are also adding two high capacity water pumps to force the snow out even faster…. With the addition of night lighting on the Hurricane trail, it will be open day and night….”

So, why do I care about this tiny area that I've never skied? Two reasons. Firstly, this summer, my wife, my dog and I moved from the White Mountains of northern NH to the Concord area, and I’m now living just 13 miles from Pats Peak. For months, I‘ve been thinking that the nearest decent bump skiing would be 45 minutes or more away. After I read this press release this past weekend, Otto the rottweiler and I drove out to Henniker and hiked up Pats Peak to see this Hurricane trail for ourselves. It’s tough to judge steepness in the summer, isn’t it? But the trail did look relatively steep. I don’t know… maybe as steep as Cannon’s Rocket trail? Maybe as steep as Zoomer? Or Loon's Flume? Steeper than Waterville's Tyler, I think, but no True Grit. It's tough to say. Otto thought it looked like it could hold a good B-level course, anyway. I’ve never skied bumps at night, but a little nighttime mogul skiing could be just the mid-week stress reliever I need down here in the south. And this trail could be just what I need on those Saturday’s and Sunday’s when I don’t feel like making the long drive to the bigger mountains.

And the second reason I care? Because I love to hear (as I know so many of you do) about mountain managers who embrace mogul skiing and try to provide terrain for us bumpers.

Check the place out for yourself at

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Bump Skier Fitness: Get Light for the Moguls

Chances are, the single best thing you can do for your mogul skiing this summer, fitness-wise, is to lose extra weight, to get light for the moguls.

A lot of skiers spend a lot of time thinking and talking about skiing-specific exercises, the latest conditioning techniques of world-class skiers, the newest gym gadgets or machines that are supposed to condition skiing muscles, and so forth. For skiers who are already in world-class shape, these things might provide a conditioning edge. For most recreational skiers, though, this stuff is just a silly distraction.

The average recreational skier carries extra weight. (I know I’ve carried extra pounds, at various times!) How many pounds could you stand to lose this summer? Ten? Twenty? Thirty?

Think about how this extra weight affects your skiing. If you said “ten pounds,” pick up a ten pound dumbbell and imagine skiing around all day with that much weight in a backpack. Are you 20 pounds overweight? Imagine carrying around two dumbbells then. It's a lot of weight to carry, isn't it?

Now imagine carrying, supporting, that much extra weight, with your legs, with your knees, through every mogul absorption, for a full day of skiing. The results? Greater fatigue; more wear on your knees, hips and back; slower reaction times; and a greater chance of injury.

If you’re carrying extra weight, don’t waste time worrying about World Cup workouts or new gym toys. Set a simple, straightforward conditioning goal for yourself this summer: lose the extra pounds, however you can do it. Get light for the bumps! You’ll ski better, and your body will thank you this winter with fewer aches and pains at the end of each ski day.

Hope you bumpers are all having a great summer!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Interesting Ski Forum Thread

Hello mogul skiers!

Hope you’ve all had a good mogul skiing season. And hope to hear from those of you who’re headed west this summer for glacier bumps!

You may be interested in the discussion that’s been unfolding on the forum. The forum is home to many instructors, and they’ve been discussing mogul skiing and my book under two threads: “Dan DiPiro’s Mogul Book” (under the “skiing technique” section) and another thread called “PMTS and Moguls.” It’s been interesting to watch these instructors digest the ideas in the book, and pleasing to see that so many instructors like it, despite its title!

One instructor on that site asked me if my title was “based from research and truth… Or was it designed to [just] capture the buying audience?” Thought my response to him might interest you. Here’s how I responded:

“Had the book not been based on my actual, extensive experiences with, and heartfelt beliefs about, mainstream mogul-skiing instruction, I would not have been motivated enough to do the project and see it through to publication. It was a ton of work and I could not have found motivation enough had the project been based on boloney. The writing wouldn’t have held together, either. A good book can’t be held together by bogus ideas or marketing fluff. Its ideas have to be real, have to ring true.

As for my “research”…. Some years after my retirement from competition, I returned to my home mountain – Cannon Mountain in Franconia, NH – and joined the ski school. I taught full-time for two years, and part-time for three. Throughout all of these years, I attended our ski school clinics avidly. I spied and eavesdropped on my colleague’s mogul lessons, and on PSIA exams and clinics given in the moguls. I read PSIA mogul-related articles. I also watched my colleagues (~120 of them) ski the moguls, and listened to them talk about mogul skiing. (By the way, for the mogul-skiing instruction I did during these years, SKI Magazine recognized me as a Top-100 instructor for bumps.)

I get my mogul skiing knowledge from years of competition. I competed in two freestyle national championships, qualified for a third (injured, didn’t ski), and qualified for NorAm competition, too. At one point, I was ranked 21st for moguls in the U.S. These days, I keep my hand in the competitive realm by coaching young mogul skiers at Waterville Valley Ski Area in northern NH.

Since becoming a coach at Waterville, I’ve been able to watch the Waterville instructors ski the moguls, and eavesdrop on their in-house mogul clinics and mogul lessons. I even get to watch the children I coach ski through the moguls right next to Waterville instructors. An interesting comparison.

Over the years, I’ve also skied all over the northeast and made many trips to Colorado and California ski areas, so I’ve observed mogul lessons, now and again, at other areas, too. Based on all of these experiences, I believe that…

  • Most instructors don’t ski the moguls with a very high degree of comfort, primarily because they aren’t equipped with the right training to do so.
  • Most instructors don’t ski the fall line in moguls and don’t teach their students to do so, even though fall-line mogul skiing is attainable for the fit, advanced skier. In bumps, most instructors ski and teach a round, meandering line more reminiscent of groomed-trail carving than of the skiing done by experienced mogul skiers.
  • Most instructors have a far greater understanding of alpine racing techniques than of mogul skiing techniques.
  • Most instructors cannot explain the technical advantages of skiing with one’s feet together in the moguls.
  • Most instructors cannot explain why a heavily steered turn can actually be efficient in the moguls.
  • Most instructors tend to think of heavy steering as a necessary compromise or necessary sloppiness, when it can, sometimes, in fact, be good mogul skiing.
  • Most instructors have never heard of controlling speed with absorption and extension.
  • Most instructors who teach mogul skiing spend far too much time talking about the turn and not nearly enough time talking about absorption and extension.
  • Most instructors do not stand tall enough in the moguls to maximize performance and ease.
  • Most instructors are completely unaware of the equipment tweaks that can make mogul skiing easier and more enjoyable.

I have other heartfelt beliefs about the way the instructing establishment views and treats mogul skiing, but these ideas, above, are the ones most central to my book.

I’m receiving lots of positive responses to the book, and believe it is striking a chord with the downhill skiing masses. I take this as an indication that my ideas are at least somewhat well grounded in fact… in what’s really, actually going on out there in the mainstream instructing world.

Happy bump skiing to you, and many, many thanks for buying and liking the book!

-Dan DiPiro”

Everything the Instructors Never Told You about Mogul Skiing
A how-to book by Dan DiPiro

Monday, March 13, 2006

Baffled by Bumps

Has ski history kept you from mastering moguls?

[Re-posted from October '05]
You’re a fit expert skier, but you’re yet to master the bumps. Over and over, you’ve watched those mogul skiers who glide so fluidly, so effortlessly through the bumps. But when you jump into the zipper line, it spits you out after just a few turns. So, what is it about mogul skiing? It can’t be all that difficult, can it?

Actually, mogul skiing is not so much difficult as it different. That is, different from groomed-trail skiing. The bumps require a special set of techniques that are not widely known outside of competitive mogul-skiing circles. And why are mogul techniques not widely known among members of the skiing mainstream? History, my friend. Ski history.

With your mogul floundering, you’re paying for, among other things, a mistake made more than 30 years ago by the now revered American racing coach and ski-instruction author Warren Witherell. In 1972, Witherell’s book, How the Racers Ski, gave the downhill skiing masses their first comprehensive, understandable explanation of modern racing technique: in particular, the carved turn. The book influenced skiers everywhere. Its message permeated ski coaching and instruction, and helped to improve the skills of countless racers, instructors and recreational skiers. But the book claimed to be more than it was. It claimed to offer no less than “the fundamentals common to all great skiers.” In fact, it offered only the fundamentals common to all great groomed-trail skiers.

Venture away from the smooth, groomed snow, to the bumpy side of the mountain, and the value of racing technique suddenly disappears. Real carving isn’t even physically possible in a tight mogul fall line. The purely carved turn isn’t fast enough for the bumps. It’s also too wide for the bumps, and it requires more ski-to-snow contact than the bumps afford. Also, the racer’s crouched posture and relatively wide stance don’t allow for the rhythmic and coordinated absorption and extension movements necessary in the bumps. In other words, in the moguls, racing technique will get you into trouble. Yes, I know, a few of the more athletic racers out there can ski soft, forgiving moguls with a bit of speed. But have you seen many racers who can ski big, irregular, icy bumps with quickness, smoothness and efficiency, while staying in the fall line all the way down a steep hill? A good mogul skier can do it all day long.

When Witherell described alpine-racing techniques as “the fundamentals common to all great skiers,” nearly everyone believed him. Race coaches believed him. The instructing establishment believed him. Recreational experts believed him. And nearly everyone still believes him to this day. Most skiers, including many instructors, believe that carving and all of the techniques that surround carving are the only legitimate downhill skiing techniques there are. Listen to the advice and instruction that’s commonly passed around by the expert masses these days and you’d think that mogul techniques don’t even exist! Instructors and other groomed-trail experts are constantly suggesting that the narrow, legs-together stance is outdated and incorrect, and that a carved turn is, in all circumstances, superior to a more heavily steered turn.

Although most ski schools do offer mogul skiing lessons, you’d be hard pressed to find, at a traditional ski school, an instructor who knows why the narrow, legs-together stance is technically advantageous in the bumps, or why heavy steering can actually be an efficient means of turning in the bumps. You’d be hard pressed to find an instructor who can explain the crucial importance of absorption and extension in the bumps, or who can ski the zipper line with the speed, smoothness, efficiency and control of a real bump skier. Just as difficult would be finding an instructor who doesn’t traffic in one or more of the common mogul-skiing myths (e.g. fall-line bump skiing is an "extreme" sport meant for daredevils only; mogul skiers aren’t good technical skiers; of the several different ways there are to ski the bumps, none is any better than any other; et cetera).

Today’s mogul myths are no different from other myths that have cropped up throughout ski history only to be eventually disproved and disregarded. The Norwegians used to say that skiing steep, alpine slopes was impossible. After alpine techniques were successfully developed, the common myth said that alpine skiing wasn’t safe enough for the recreating masses. (Daredevils only, they said. Sound familiar?) Hannes Schneider then disabused his contemporaries of this ski myth by developing a safe way to teach nearly anyone to ski downhill. Likewise, today’s mogul myths will pass and the expert-skiing masses will learn to ski bumps, once people gain access to real mogul technique.

At heart, perhaps, we North Americans are still just sappy colonials, endlessly impressed by things European. Alpine racing is, after all, alpine; it comes from the Alps, from Europe, and is done best by Europeans. Yes, yes, I know; every 20 or so years, a Mahre or Street or Miller comes along to produce a blip on the world’s alpine-racing radar. But, let’s face it; alpine racing has been pretty much dominated by Europeans, and we colonials have always been endlessly impressed. “Oh, my!” our skiing mainstream said to itself back in 1972, “Mr. Witherell says the alpine racers all carve their turns. We must all do as the great alpine racers do! You’re no good if you don’t carve like the great alpinists!” And our skiing mainstream has since all but ignored the downhill-skiing techniques that we colonials have pioneered: mogul techniques.

Over the last 20 or so years, America’s kneeling at the racing-technique altar has become an exceptional irony. While the U.S. has produced just a few great alpine racers over the years, we’ve produced many great mogul skiers and we pretty much dominate World Cup mogul skiing today. To put it another way: mogul skiing is the sort of downhill skiing that American competitors do best and that American competitors often do better than anyone else in the world.

On the World Cup bump circuit, it’s not uncommon for the top ten finishers of a contest to include five or more Americans. America has so many good mogul skiers that it’s also possible for an almost completely different set of five American mogul skiers to finish in the top ten a few weeks later. America has enough great mogul skiers to field two or three viable World Cup teams. The American mogul competitor’s biggest challenge often isn’t competing against skiers from other nations, but, rather, earning a spot on the U.S. team. Yet, the average American skier is unaware of America’s mogul skiing prowess, and unaware of authentic mogul technique.

Moguls crop up everywhere we ski, and everyone wants to know what to do with them. (A recent SKI Magazine poll says 34% of skiers want to improve their bump technique more than any other aspect of their skiing.) But ski history has led our instructors and recreating masses to a narrow definition of skiing excellence, a definition built almost solely on racing technique. And so the average expert stumbles through the bumps, trying to apply racing technique where mogul technique is needed. Perhaps, however, the future will allow our instructors and skiing masses to turn away, for a moment, from How the Racers Ski, and to learn something about how the mogul skiers ski. It would only make for better, more versatile skiers. And then, maybe, your local ski school could teach you to ski that zipper line like the bumpers ski it.

[Buy Dan's book, Everything the Instructors Never Told You about Mogul Skiing, at,,, or ask for it at your local bookstore.]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Attention, instructors: In the bumps, it's no longer all about the turn.

I was training a few mogul competitors in the bumps the other day, when a group of instructors skied through the course. At one point, these instructors stopped nearby and I was able to hear what the clinician was saying to his group. It didn't take me long to determine that the clinician was falling into the same old mogul instruction trap that has been catching up most instructors for years: he was talking about nothing but the turn, nothing but the left-and-right dimension of skiing.

If traditional instructors are ever going to develop decent mogul skiing and mogul instruction skills, they're going to have to make a major change in the way they think about skiing.

On groomed terrain, yes, the turn is nearly all important, nearly all that matters, nearly your only source of control. In the mogul field, however, the turn is only about half of what matters. I'd even argue that it's less than half of what matters. In the mogul field, absorption and extension -- the up-and-down leg movements that allow your skis to ride smoothly along the bumpy contours of the snow -- are just as important, and perhaps even more important, than the turn.

Because instructors pay a lot of attention to the ways in which alpine racers ski, and almost no attention to the ways in which mogul skiers ski, the mogul skier's absorption and extension movements, which don't exist to any appreciable degree on groomed terrain, are practically unknown to the instructing establishment. And this is why most instructors cannot ski the bumps well or teach you to ski the bumps well. Their skiing model, their conception of the sport, precludes the existence of the very skills, the very movements, that make mogul skiing possible.