Skiing is a means of transport that utilizes skis to glide onto a snowed surface from one place to another. Over the years, the technique has developed more into a competitive sporting event than a basic method of transportation. The game’s popularity has led people to explore the challenges as recreational physical activity and even get it recognized by the International Olympic Committee via the International Ski Federation. The competitive winter sport has become a great ordeal ever since, and there are many technicalities associated with the gameplay that make it worthwhile. One such thing is a mogul.
What Are Moguls?
Moguls are basically the bumps formed when many people ski down and around the same snow slope. It is an accumulation of the snow that is formed every time a skier makes a turn and pushes the snow out of their line to form a little bump or mound down the slope. As other skiers go by and slide into the trough that has been created, the more snow, it accumulates. This eventually becomes a continuous process of the mound becoming deeper and bigger as it acquires more snow.
Naturally formed moguls can be found more in number at the steepest ends of the slopes. This happens because skiers tend to skid, turn and slam their brakes more often when the slope becomes steep, which compounds the bump building effect as we described above. Hence, the more defensive the skiers are, the deeper the ruts become around, the steeper areas because skiers link their turn after turn and try to take a smooth path downhill creating moguls in fields. Although, for more reasons than one, moguls can be constructed purposely at the ski area too.
What is Mogul Skiing?
Mogul skiing is a freestyle discipline of skiing which is an official competitive skiing sport. The competition consists of skiers competing on a purposely built course for skiing that has moguls on it. The primary focus and the obvious scoring point is on the skier’s technique of going over and around the moguls with turns, skids, aerial maneuvers, brakes, and speed. To put it simply, the skiers are tested for how fast they can go down on a mogul-filled course.
On the international scale, mogul skiing is contested at the Freestyle World Ski Championships and quite popularly at the Winter Olympic Games. These courses are built with much stricter regulations to challenge the skiers to the best of their abilities. Hence, the courses used for mogul skiing can be very steep, with an average downturn of 26 degrees. Moreover, the courses run almost 300m long with typically two small jumps to aid in performing aerial maneuvers.
The Main Challenges of Skiing Moguls
Even though naturally, professional skiers can make it look like a piece of cake with their elegantly locked knees, perfect positions on the skis, and the obvious confidence – skiing moguls is undeniably one of the most challenging disciplines of skiing. It can be so unnerving that elegantly skiing down a mogul course is like a dream come true for many aspiring professional skiers.
However, it takes years of consistent practice to perfect the rightful combination of techniques, energy, and speed to accomplish that. The athleticism as well as the versatility that the stance of skiing moguls requires can only come to those skiers who are destined to persevere against all odds. A bumpy terrain might challenge them but won’t shake their confidence to not allow it.
Hence, as a mogul ski course is unforgiving without any quick fixes or hacks to perfect your skiing capabilities, there is no surprise that many skiers shy away from trying out the mogul course at all, let alone perfect a glide for competition or audience. So here are some of the few main challenges that come alongside trying to ski moguls.
Maintaining Your Balance
It shouldn’t come as a shock to any of you that skiing is synonymous with balancing. The whole concept and idea of the sport are to balance on skis while gliding down the snow. Therefore, quite naturally, the number one challenge faced by any skier trying to ski moguls is with marinating their balance on the bumpy ski course. It is almost like so far, the skier was in a two-dimensional world of gameplay, and now the environment has become 3D. So naturally, the stance they had perfected over time will only help them so that they may conjure the balance one moment and lose it completely by the next.
Choosing an Easy Line
One of the easier ways to go down a mogul course is by making your turns through the top of the bumps. However, if you do not have any experience with mogul skiing to begin with, even the view from above the slope will be daunting, let alone trying one of the easier techniques. Hence, even for an easy way out, the skier is challenged by the mere prospect of competing in the course without losing their balance and figuring out their stance to complete it without hurting themselves. The whole idea is to practice more than let the fear take over.
Picking a Fast Line
A faster descent means either the skier has given up trying and going the usual way downwards or going around the moguls than on top of them. Naturally, this technique is faster but not easier because you will require far more skids and turns to maneuver around the moguls than simply going over them. As you get comfortable with the turns over time, it will increase your speed down the course. Hence, there is a higher chance that you shall mess up the stance than perfect it because before you know it, you would’ve finished the course and have to start again.
Timing the Movements
A ski run of compacted snow is usually a smother plane. So as long as you do the right movements with a credible stance, maneuvering in the right order, the skis will glide down perfectly, turning wherever you want. However, bumps spread across the plane have to be done with much more precision of timing than before. Because if you happen to, unfortunately, turn the skis at the wrong instance, the ski tail will hit one mogul, and the tip will hit the consequent next bump while throwing your off balance and send skidding downwards, much like Homer Simpson in that one Simpson’s episode.
How to Ski Moguls
We believe that taking a steady approach towards building your courage to go down a mogul course and do so successfully is the right step, to begin with. Hence, there are certain initial steps that you can take to start your journey with skiing moguls.
1. Create Your Own Bumps
Now that you are starting out with skiing moguls, the very first step is to spend as much time skiing with the bumps as possible. The best way to do that is obviously by creating your own mogul course. This allows the skier to practice all their techniques and maneuvering stances accordingly because they know exactly where the bumps have formed. Hence, you start by finding yourself a small but busy piste that gets the sun during the daytime. This will give you softer, playable snow to create bumps, and by the afternoon, you’ll have your mogul course.
2. Focus To Time Your Turns
Now that your curse is all done and ready and you are doing reruns to practice as much as you can, it is time you start building your focus to time your turns. This will allow you to know exactly how long it is taking you to make an adequate turn while finishing on top of a bump. It will boost your confidence with the softer slope and moguls in general and perfect one of the simpler techniques of mogul skiing that is going over the bumps.
3. Be Aware Of Your Balancing
Although even normal skiing is a balancing act, mogul skiing is the same challenge multiplied tenfold. Mogul skiing challenges the skier’s balance because the slope down the course changes more often than usual at every angle of the ski. Therefore, awareness-building exercises pertaining to skiing on newer courses are a must before you head out to do anything.
4. Perfecting Hockey Stops on Moguls
Hockey stops are when a skier makes a single turn and stop while aiming to shelve the mogul’s uphill side. Even though it may look easy, learning a new ski skill is like embedding a new movement type into a gameplay character without coding. Hence, in order to perfect hockey stops, it will take much more than just trial and error.
5. Try Skiing Faster & Smoother
Enabling ski techniques and going about practicing them is far easier than actually trying to go it faster and smoothly down the mogul course. It is like saying a tongue twister out loud – the faster you go, the more difficult it becomes to do it perfectly. Hence, more speed and high pressure should eventually come as a later step in your mogul skiing journey than initially.
Tips to Perfect Your Mogul Skiing
In mogul skiing competitions, the skiers go down the course one at a time as they are judged and timed accordingly. With the scoring and judgment based on a variety of scoring aspects, it is always to go about learning mogul skiing with a set of tips and tactics to help you alongside.
You do not want the mogul course to surprise you when you are going down the slope. It never ends well for the skier, whether it is about maneuvering or scoring points. Therefore, it is always essential to determine what down your downhill slope looks and feels like. A head start of this sort is always a good idea as it allows the skier to know what type of length, terrain, and steepness they are heading into.
Position Your Legs & Stomach
While skiing moguls, make sure that your peripheral vision is able to make out your hands from the corner to make instant reactions to the bumps along the way. A skier can easily achieve this stance by positioning their legs as per the flexibility of their stomach and upper body muscles.
Plant Your Poles Accordingly
Every turn may require you to plant your pole before you move forward. Hence, reaching forwards while you are on a steep decline, always allow your pole to be ready to get planted as soon as you finish the turn. Otherwise, the inevitable consequence of a misstep is a fall. However, even then, a readily positioned pole can help you stabilize your stance and give you a second chance to start over on your feet.
Raise Your Hands
Never rest your hands until the course is over. Of course, this single stance in itself will rip your core as it will require an abundance of stamina. But it is still better than losing your stance, grip, or skidding instance while you try to rest your hand.
Remember To Look Ahead
Mogul skiing is not about keeping to yourself as much as it is about keeping your surrounding within your vision. Hence, you should always remember to look ahead and be ready for every mogul that appears in front of you. This shall greatly avoid any nasty instances as you will know and be ready for what lies ahead.
Take Breaks Often
We have emphasized time and time again that skiing moguls are not easy. Therefore, there is no need to be too hard on yourself while you try to perfect the technique. Hence, ensure that you take breaks often, fill up nicely for the energy and stay afloat with your confidence.
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes.
Lastly, it is always better to practice as much as you can and never be afraid to make any mistakes. Remember that you are on a learning journey, and skiing is an adventure. It will throw you off, bring you back, validate your stance and challenge you in ways you have not known before, but it will all be worth it in the end.
Our Final Thoughts
Mogul skiing is one heck of an adventure carnage that should not be missed by any skiing opportunist looking for a new challenge. We hope all the details we have shared about the technique help you build confident gameplay ahead in mogul skiing. Cheers!