“STAY OFF THOSE EDGES” and other great advice

Lessons: Skiing the Bumps

by Skimum Julie

This week we kicked off our lessons with two fantastic instructors from Snowbird’s mountain school.  The mums loved working with Susi and Janell who decided it was perfect conditions for some training in the bumps.  Of course, who doesn’t want to look great on the moguls?  So, we channeled our inner Hannah Kearney and tuned into some excellent advice given freely by the experts.

First item of business, stay off your edges!  What?  Come again??  Is that even possible?  For those of us raised to the tune of “stay ON your edges,” this exercise was extremely painful.  But that is the secret to moguls.  I learned that if my edges are digging into the moguls, there goes my control.  Which makes perfect sense since I only look great for about three turns before I shoot out of my line.

What to do?  You need to skid into the mogul bays, by way of what we called “shmearing” (think cream cheese on a bagel).  After our instructors evaluated the mums’ less than stellar bump skills, they kindly led us into the corral off Big Emma for some shmearing practice.  Instead of keeping our weight leaning into the hill (think steep groomer ski race style) we were to practice moving down the hill with our weight all on our downhill leg, staying completely flat on our skis.  Believe me, it’s harder than it sounds and even harder if you need to break the bad habit of leaning into the mountain on your edges.

Once we mastered our schmearing, we worked on the pole plant and turn.  So, here’s the kicker: plant your pole and make your turn on the top of the bump, then skid (schmear) into the bay, all the while keeping your skis flat inside the turn (no edges) and your weight on the downhill ski.

Now, before this sends you into a panic attack as you stare down that next mogul chute, don’t forget the most important skill we learned during this lesson: BREATHE.  We tend to focus so hard on our skiing that we forget to relax and breathe.  We literally hold our breath while skiing through the bumps and eventually become so tight that we’re right back on our edges again and feeling out of control.  So breathe or sing a song as one mum suggested.

Of course, it takes practice, practice, practice, so get out there and conquer your ‘mogul anxiety’ and before long you’ll be riding effortlessly through the bumps to the tune of your favorite song :).

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