When you explore a ski area, you will come across lots of varied terrain. There are slopes to suit all abilities, and the snow conditions change throughout the day, as the exposure to the sun, wind, and changing temperatures affect it.
A good skier will be able to cope with all the different conditions they encounter. But one of the more challenging types of ski run involves an ocean of bumps called moguls.
If you are a skier, you either love or hate moguls. Some people see them as a worthwhile challenge, while others avoid them like the plague.
But, if you adopt the correct technique, you will be able to ski moguls with confidence. You may even come to love them, as you will get a great sense of achievement and an excellent workout.
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- What Are Moguls?
- Competitive Mogul Skiing
Mogul Skiing Tips & Tricks
- 1. Get Into The Correct Stance
- 2. Focus On What You Are Doing
- 3. Dial-In Your Technique For Mogul Skiing
- 4. Know What To Do With Your Poles
- 5. Get Into A Rhythm
- 6. Get Fit
- 7. Work On Flexibility
- 8. Mix Up Your Technique
- 9. Have Fun With The Moguls
- 10. Stay Loose
- 11. Book A Ski Lesson
- 12. Start Easy
- 13. Take A Break
- 14. Watch Other People
- 15. Don’t Start Too Fast
- 16. Don’t Let Challenging Moguls Intimidate You
- Final Thoughts
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You know when you come across a mogul field when you see a whole slope covered in bumps. Sometimes ski resorts create mogul fields to give skiers a challenge. However, they are more commonly formed by lots of skiers making sharp turns on steep slopes.
As the skiers turn, their skis carve ruts in the snow while pushing some of it away. Other skiers tend to use the ruts to find the easiest way down the slope throughout the day. This makes the ruts deeper and more pronounced, creating large bumps called moguls.
Moguls become more prominent when the snow is soft. Therefore, you can expect mogul fields to form after the slopes get a fresh coating of snow or during spring when the snow is slushy.
Skiers link their turns when going downhill; therefore, the slope turns into a mogul field.
Moguls consist of an uphill and downhill side, and the area between the moguls is known as the trough.
The nature of a mogul field requires a specific technique to navigate it safely while having fun. In this article, we will give you some invaluable mogul skiing tips and tricks.
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Mogul skiing is an Olympic event in the freestyle skiing category. Mogul skiers take on a mogul field that is 235 meters long with a gradient of about 28 degrees.
However, the moguls are created by piling up snow, especially for the event. The moguls are spread out 3.5 meters apart, and the competitors can smash down the course in just 30 seconds.
The freestyle element of the mogul skiing events comes from two jumps. One roughly halfway down the course and one at the bottom.
Judges give the skier style points for the jumps that compliment their time and their general technique.
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The first thing you need to do when skiing a mogul field is to adopt the correct stance. Your stance should be different from your carving stance when skiing moguls.
When you are carving, you need to put pressure on the front half of your outside ski when you initiate the turn. This allows you to perform a long carving turn, great for groomed slopes but useless on a mogul field.
Skiing moguls requires lots of short and sharp turns with explosive motion. Therefore, you need to adjust your skiing stance so that you absorb the shock that your body gets from hitting each mogul.
Your stance should see your upper body facing down the fall line (the fall line is the path straight down the hill). Then you should ensure that your skis are slightly less than shoulder-width apart.
Don’t put your skis too close together, or your balance will be compromised. Next, bend your knees slightly, and bend your elbows at right angles with your hands just inside your peripheral vision.
We call this the “athletic stance,” and it is your starting position for your attack on the mogul field ahead of you.
The stance will help you to stay stable and centralize your movements. It will also allow you to react to the constant changes associated with mogul skiing.
Now that you know how to dial in the correct mogul skiing stance, you need to think about what your body is doing and what you are about to encounter.
Many skiers new to mogul skiing make the mistake of not planning ahead. They tend to focus on the mogul immediately in front of them, which doesn’t allow you to adjust and react.
The ski moguls successfully is to look ahead and visualize your line and alternative ways down. As moguls form naturally, they are usually positioned in a way that if you look ahead, you can spot a line, giving you an easier route.
With this in mind, you will be able to follow a line if you look about four moguls ahead of you. This way, you will know what to do when you reach each one, as you will have a reasonably clear path to follow.
Having a plan is especially important in a particularly intense mogul field. You will be able to deal with the section you are in using your peripheral vision. But focusing on what’s ahead with the primary part of your vision will allow you to anticipate what is coming and react to it.
This sounds more complicated than it is. Don’t forget, if you are a novice mogul skier, you won’t be going that fast, so you will have time to take it all in.
As you get better, you will be able to ski faster and process the information much better. You will also be able to spot alternative lines to make the run more fun or to avoid other skiers.
When you look down the hill, try to find a series of moguls that can help you get into a natural rhythm. A line consisting of moguls with similar sizes and shapes will mean your series of turns are similar. Therefore, you don’t have to deviate too much, allowing you to develop a flow.
Pick a series of moguls running directly down the fall line. The moguls will slow you down, so you don’t need to worry about picking up too much speed as long as you stay in control.
You can pick a more direct line on a mogul field than on a smooth and groomed slope. You should never feel like you are traversing across a mogul field.
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Now you know how to spot the best lines through a mogul field, you can zone in on the perfect mogul skiing technique.
As we mentioned earlier, a regular carve turn is a much longer shape than the turns you need to perform on moguls. You need to think of your mogul turns as a series of movements that put your skis in the troughs between each mogul.
Skiers who manage to find their flow in a mogul field bump from one mogul to another. They use each mogul as a ramp that directs their turn to where they want to go.
To make this movement successful, you need to keep your weight centralized on your skis. This will allow you to let your skis do the majority of the work.
When you get the technique dialed in, you will feel the front of your skis absorbing the impact of each turn. You will feel that the majority of your edge control comes from the area of the edges by the balls of your feet and the tails of your skis.
As you bump into the trough of each mogul, you will feel heavy on your skis. This extra weight is energy you can use to bounce yourself into the next turn.
The action you want to create will see the tails of your skis hop into the trough of the next mogul. The ideal place to make your turn is above the first half of the mogul, not on the downhill side.
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A large part of mastering your mogul skiing technique is to know what to do with your poles. This part of mogul skiing isn’t much different from when you are skiing the groomers, but the poling technique is a little more exaggerated.
To direct yourself around the turn, use your poles to provide a pivot point. You do this by planting the tip of your ski pole on the top of the mogul you want to turn around.
At first, you will find this part of the technique awkward, but it will become more natural to you the more mogul fields you ski. It is a matter of practicing the proper technique for mogul skiing.
As you turn around your pole, you need to focus on separating the actions of your upper and lower body. When you get efficient at planting your pole on the mogul, you will find doing this much more manageable.
You will be doing most of your turning with your lower body. But your upper body will be composed and mainly still and facing down the fall line.
This separation will help you to stay calm, focused, and in control, especially when the mogul field becomes more challenging. When you master this part of the technique, you will be able to ski steeper mogul fields with confidence.
You will find skiing moguls much easier and more fun if you can get into a rhythm. You will eventually be able to find your rhythm naturally, but everyone is different in how quickly they can pick it up.
Over time, you will be able to find your rhythm and ski moguls with confidence and flow.
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If you have seen competitive mogul skiers in an event, you cannot help but be impressed by their fitness level. Mogul skiing is very tiring, as you need to be able to absorb the bumps with your body and knees.
You also need to be able to react to the constant changes associated with mogul fields, especially when you can ski them faster.
Therefore, if you are traveling to a ski resort notorious for its moguls or are going during a busy week, you need to get fit. We recommend that you do lots of cross-training in the weeks leading up to your ski trip.
You will benefit immensely from developing strong legs. So do some heavy leg work in the gym, consisting of variations of squats, lunges, and calf raises.
If you go mogul skiing with a weak core, you will struggle to maintain balance. Also, you will find it difficult to react to the variations in the slope.
With this in mind, you should make sure you do lots of work on your core. Don’t just do lots of situps; instead, do plank variations, reverse crunches, or even take some Pilates classes.
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Flexibility is essential for allowing you to react to everything the mogul fields can throw at you. It is also great for injury prevention, as your body can take a beating while mogul skiing.
Therefore, start a yoga course to get your body as flexible as possible for your ski trip. But you should also stretch and warm up your body each morning before you hit the slopes.
When your body is flexible and warmed up, you will be able to perform at your best and have more fun.
The elements of the mogul skiing technique we have mentioned so far talk about turning between the moguls. But, you can’t always do this, as mogul fields are not always very uniform.
Therefore, you can mix up the technique, so you do some turns on top of the moguls while other turns are in between them. Just remember to keep your rhythm going to maintain your flow down the hill.
You will notice that you will ski faster when you go between the moguls. But your turns will be much rounder over the top of them, making them a little easier.
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As you become more proficient at skiing moguls, you will be able to ski faster and play with the bumps. Spotting your line will become second nature, but you will also spot moguls to jump off.
If you spot a mogul with a bit of kick on it, why not jump off it and land on the downhill side of another one? This is lots of fun, but make sure you won’t land on someone or in another skier’s path.
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Staying relaxed is something that will come with practice, but it is worth aiming for in the early days of mogul skiing. If you find yourself being violently thrown around, it may be because you are too tense.
Your goal is to keep your head precisely at the same level as you ski from top to bottom. The way you can do this is to allow your knees and ankles, along with your hips, to bend, acting like the suspension in your car.
As you approach a mogul, allow your lower part of the body to come up underneath you and extend as you ski over the other side of it. Imagine your legs are pistons rising and extending with the contours of the slope.
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One of the best ways to get better at mogul skiing is to book a ski lesson. An instructor will be able to give you the necessary instructions in real-time.
They will be able to see where you need to improve and give you the best mogul skiing tips and tricks to adjust your technique. Ski instructors also know how to adapt their teaching techniques to provide you with the best experience during your lesson.
Even if you are pretty fit and are competent on groomed slopes, don’t immediately find the steepest mogul field on the mountain. Try to find one with a shallower gradient, and keep your speed slow to start off with.
Doing this will help you to develop and practice your technique for more challenging slopes.
You will benefit from practicing your short turns on regular slopes first. By simulating the quickfire turns and getting into a rhythm, you will be more prepared for the uneven nature of a mogul field.
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Mogul skiing is hard work and can tire out even the most experienced skier. There is nothing wrong with taking a break after skiing lots of bumps.
In fact, it is better to take a break and go back to skiing than it is to push yourself too hard. When you ski technical slopes like mogul fields, you can hurt yourself pretty badly. This is made more likely if you are attacking them while feeling exhausted.
If you decide to stop on the slope, turn sideways to reduce your speed until you come to a stop or to a speed that will allow you to traverse to the side of the slope.
It is essential that you make sure you stop in a safe place. The safest places are usually at the side of the slope, but check to see if you are visible to everyone above you. You don’t want anyone to crash into you while you are catching your breath.
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While you are on the chairlift over the mogul field or taking a break at the side, watch what other people are doing. You will be able to see the difference between good mogul skiers and bad ones pretty quickly.
Try to emulate the ones that make it look easy. But look at what the bad ones are doing too, so you know what to avoid doing to make your technique look and feel better.
You can also watch people to see how they choose their lines down the mountain. This will allow you to see how the skiers with rhythm and flow differ from the ones that don’t plan their line in advance and just react to each mogul when they reach it.
You can also watch YouTube videos of mogul skiers before you head up the mountain. Watching videos of pro skiers on moguls will show you how it is supposed to be done.
If you try to ski too fast on moguls before you are competent, you will struggle to stay in control. Starting off slowly will allow you to stay in control while you are going around the bumps.
Skiing too fast into the first few moguls can cause you to spin out and fall.
As we have already discussed, choosing your line is important, but the spacing and sizing of the moguls will vary all the time. So you need to be ready to adapt to the different shapes and sizes of moguls.
You will only get better by tackling the challenging moguls. Don’t avoid them; instead, enjoy them and revel in the fact that you didn’t back down.
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Mogul skiing can be lots of fun, and it is certainly rewarding when you get the technique right. The thing you need to take away from this article is that using the correct technique and finding a rhythm are the critical principles of mogul skiing.
In addition to this, you need to practice. The more mogul skiing you do, the easier and more fun you will find it. But you need to make sure your body is up to the task.