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.


Blogger jsul185 said...

Hi Dan,
I skied Waterville this week. There was a top to bottom mogul run on skiers left of old tecumseh. This trail was awesome. Perfect bumps, perfect pitch, and the WV freestyle team are really good bump skiers. I would like to ski WV this week but I'm afraid the bumps will be groomed and I'll wish I went to Killington instead. Have you heard anything?

12:37 AM  
Blogger Dan DiPiro said...

I was at Sunday River Fri and Sat for the B regional finals, but got back to WV yesterday, Sunday, and skied those Old T bumps all morning. Yeah, what nice, fun bumps. Not too steep, great rhythm, and they were soft yesterday. The only thing I've heard about their fate was from Joegm... he said they were going to be plowed down. Will you guys be at Killington for the Nationals mogul event?

6:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan, please weigh-in on the topic of ski tuning. I indicated, in an earlier blog, that changing my edge tunes (towards the shovels) made a marked difference in how my skiis performed - and all I did was take an Alpin Level III instructor's advice to blunt. There must be some principle(s) re ski tuning for the bumps that I and others should know.
Thank you. Jude

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