Friday, August 12, 2005

Three Mogul Myths

Because mogul skiing is not well understood by the general skiing masses, it’s surrounded by myths. Here’s my first blog attempt to debunk three of these myths. If you think of mogul myths I’ve missed, be sure to leave a comment and explain.

Mogul Myth 1:
Mogul skiers are naturally good athletes with fast feet and no fear, but they aren’t good technical skiers.

Myth 1 Debunked:

  • Good mogul skiers are every bit as technically proficient as good alpine racers and instructors. Mogul skiers don’t lack technique. They use mogul technique, which is different from racing technique.
  • Good mogul skiers are nearly always good all-mountain skiers who know how to ski powder, trees and steeps, and how to carve a turn on groomed terrain.
  • As for fear: Skiers aren't good in the moguls because they lack fear. They lack fear (or their fear isn't as easily triggered) because they're good in the moguls.

Mogul Myth 2:
Mogul skiing is dangerous and especially bad for your knees.

Myth 2 Debunked:

  • When it’s done with the right technique, mogul skiing is not half as dangerous as most skiers believe. I’ve recently heard of a sports medicine specialist who says she sees more ACL tears in alpine racers than in mogul skiers. This might be due to a stabilizing lateral strength that mogul skiers develop in their knees, a strength that might be less well developed in the knees of alpine racers.
  • Good absorption and extension technique can make a mogul run feel smoother (less impact, less injury) than a jog on a hard road.
  • As compared to groomed, high-speed thoroughfares, mogul trails probably see fewer person-to-person collisions.
  • High-speed collisions with trees seem to be rare among mogul skiers, and more common among groomed-trail speedsters.

Mogul Myth 3:
There’s no single correct way to ski moguls; there are lots of different ways.

Myth 3 Debunked:
So long as you don’t crash into me, I don’t care if you ski moguls backwards on cafeteria trays. If, however, you want to ski moguls with maximum smoothness, fluidity, efficiency, control, comfort and confidence, and with minimum punishment to your body, there is in fact a single correct way to do this, and it is the way that mogul competitors ski. Over many years, competitive bump skiing has identified and refined the correct techniques for the bumps. Examine the skills of skiers who argue otherwise and you'll inevitably find that these skiers are unfamiliar with, or unable to execute, these bump techniques.



Blogger PTWithy said...

To me, skiing moguls is less effort than skiing high speed alpine turns. And way more fun.

Looking forward to your book — and skiing with you soon.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Mitch Kaplan said...

Bravo. It's about time mogul skiing badmouthing was countered.

-Mitch Kaplan, Vice President, North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA)

12:54 PM  
Anonymous joegm said...

mogul skiing is the most unrespected discipline in skiing today by the industry. and it makes no sense because as dan points out, america produces better bumpers than downhillers. the jib scene had something to do with that, for sure. i thought after moseley in 98 , bumps were gonna get their deserved attention and respect.
but the point of this post is
why is bump skiing ( in general ) the only aspect of skiing with no learning curve terrain? . u don't take a 1st time skier and toss em off a groomed out double black. these skiers have green trails then they move to blues then to blacks . beginner racers do not start out skiing on double blacks ( they have blue runs with their little flag poles set up to , oh my-what a concept , learn how to turn properly on a less steep pitch ) ... beginner jibbers do not start out jumping into 16 ft pipes or 40 foot tables ( they have little tables and mini pipes and mini rails to learn how to jib.
in addition to having very limited if not non existent quality mogul instruction, aspiring mogul skiers, of which i am one, usually get black and double black runs with absolutely no maintainence on them ( the old " natural " bump run- please- natural bump runs are great, if you live in mammoth,ca - on the east coast natural means junk 80% of the time ) to try and learn the hardest thing to do well on's a joke and it's unfair.... why do resorts just assume that if you are in a bump run trying to ski bumps, you must just already know how to ski bumps.? myself, blogger jsul and my other buddy had to harass the crap out of loon mt to put in a seeded bump run on a blue for 3 years. ( they actually did it , but it's low on the priority list in bad snow years. ) bretton woods, whichs likes to advertise over 100 trails, just can't seem to manage to dedicate 1/2 of one trail to a seeded bump run. ( or so the gm has told us ) bretton would be a great place to have a seeded blue bump run with their great snow and location. i know dd skis out of cannon and i like cannon for it's history and all that, but we gave up on cannon a few years ago after trying to work with the gm ( nate ) on some seeded bump lines on a blue....they actually looked us in the eye with a straight face and said " we can't dedicate the resources " blah blah blah .. yet they can plow hundreds of thousands into building a pipe or jib park or have no problem taking over multiple trails for the downhillers to set up pegs on ) and i don't mean to sound like i am rippin cannon.. i'm rippin the attitude, which is at 99% of the resorts....
and my bigger point is, this is all connected. no one cares about bumps because ofthe the perception of all of the myths dan lists....all those things get cut down with 1) proper learning terrain and 2 proper instruction.... it's taken my buddies and me 6 years of beating the crap out of our age 30's bodies with bad technique on lines that are junk 80% of the time like flume and paulies folly at loon and cannon , nh , before we finally started to understand how to "properly" ski bumps, as dan says. our learning curve would have been so much quicker if we had better terrain and instruction... let's start the mogul revolution.. DEMAND AT LEAST ONE - 1/2 SIDE OF A TRAIL OF AT LEAST 4 LANES OF AT LEAST 90 BUMPS IN LENGTH ( NOT A LITTLE MOGUL FIELD OF 10 BUMPS- RACERS DON'T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH JUST 5 GATES ) OF A BLUE TRAIL FOR SEEDED BLUE BUMP RUNS AT YOUR LOCAL HILL

12:58 AM  
Blogger Dan DiPiro said...

You know, here in the east, Waterville Valley has realized the learning value of graduated mogul terrain. WV builds bumps on beginner, intermediate and expert terrain and encourages that gradual learning of which you write, and of which I write in my book. It's no coincidence, by the way, that Waterville is home to the outstanding WVA BBTS freestyle program, and that the area has a richer freestyle history than any other area in New England.

As I wrote in another comment, the key to all of this (and to any "mogul revolution") will be skier education: teaching real mogul technique to the expert-skiing masses and helping them to feel the thrill first hand.

Thanks for the comments, Joe.


8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to second the complaint about the absence of blue bumps at most resorts especially in the East. It makes it enormously more difficult for those who want to learn proper technique without worrying about excess speed or steeps.

I hope any ski resort operators following this thread will consider the long-term value of helping people learn the bumps just as they understand the long-term business value in teaching their customer how to ski or snowboard.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Dan DiPiro said...

I'd agree: giving aspiring bumpers the graduated terrain they need to learn makes good business sense, so long as those skiers also have access to good mogul instruction. You're just providing your customers with another way to love the sport.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea, all good points - on graduated bump terrain. jay peak, to their credit, has novice glade skiing runs - to help the next generation of skiers appreciate the great glade+wood skiing system they provide at the higher end of the learning curve.
i started skiing bumps at superstar (killington) a few years back, and would have been greatly served by NOT having to brave the headwall with little clue as to how to how to make my way to the much more manageable middle. and i was no doubt a nuisance to those who were there to rip and zip.
nowadays, i see many aspiring bumpers at a loss on the limited, steep bump terrain at many areas, helping create an unpredictable and congested environment for the rest...mogul runs are the "punk rock ghetto" of the mountain's mainstream music scene - to use one metaphor...and that's too bad.
mike lopez, albany NY

11:20 PM  
Blogger Dan DiPiro said...

Thanks for your articulate comment, Mike.

7:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot of complaining about a lack of blue bumps. That's not the case in Colorado. At least in the Summit County/Vail Resorts region. At Keystone, Breckenridge, A-basin, there is a good selection of easy, beginner bump runs. About 90% of blue runs are groomed, the rest get as bumpy as a double black. That's where I learned a zipper line long before i took it to the steeper stuff.

8:41 PM  
Blogger Dan DiPiro said...

Glad to hear it, Anonymous. Thanks for your comment.

9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading some of the comments about the lack of blue bump runs, and a particular shot at Cannon, I felt I needed to comment. Cannon is a great mountain for the dedicated bumper.

The zoomer chair feeds a whole bunch of excellent and varied bump trails including two intermediate runs, Rocket and Gary's, that are almost always left ungroomed on the skiers right. No they are not seeded and sometimes they can get downright hard, but often they are just great. For those who are looking for greater challenge, zoomer is often groomed down the middle so you can bail if need to, but I don't recommend bailing because there are often some great lines down skiers left that aren't too steep.

Want more challenge... head for hardscrabble paulies, profile, tramline or any of the glades. Like I said Cannon offers a lot for the bumper.

When your done with Cannon, hike over to Mittersill and taste the soft bumps over there, including one of the best intermediate bump runs I know of, "Taft" which leads from the summit to all the fun below.


12:51 PM  

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