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Mogul Technique?


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Ok, so I realize snowboards are not meant for moguls. I actually realized this the first time I ever rode moguls, and then decided never to try those again unless I had to. Well Sunday I was faced with a mountain that was one big mogul field (seriously, there was no open terrain that wasnt made of big, even bumps) so I had to. I felt like I was doing pretty good by the end of the day (put away the hardboots after the first run and switched to the rock board of course) but I was wondering what the best way to handle moguls on a board is? If there's a way to do them well with hardboots thats even better.

I seemed to be doing a lot of the exaggerated rotation that I used during my limited surfing experience, almost in a backslash motion getting the board to drift from one bump to the next. Is that good or bad? do I have the right idea or am I wayy off?

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I have always prefered hardboots in bumps as the support and energy return of the boots as well as the forward angles approximate the advantages skiers have in the bumps. I used to ride asyms and even a Skwal in bumps quite alot and loved it. I tend to think and move from the feet up and from the hips down in bumps.Corny as it sounds;I draw the analogy to Irish dancing;If your arms are all over the place,you are probably over rotating and wasting alot of energy.Having the arms fairly low and in control with some muscle tension (as opposed to floppy like most)will keep them available for using when really needed for balance movements or corrections.Having a countered upper to lower body position is not a bad thing depending on how you arrive in that position.Counter rotating as a result of initiating with mostly upper body movements,particularly the arms, can lead to playing catchup from turn to turn,working needlessly hard the whole run, and never really developing a rhythm.IMHO

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the most important things in moguls are picking the line and staying relaxed. I don't do moguls much anymore, but I used to love them.

Find a line - as close to straight down the fall line as possible. ride the sides of the moguls, not the trenches. keep your upper body as still as possible and let your legs roll and bounce through the line.

as long as you keep your balance, you'll do well and do it with much less energy than you'd think.

(oh, yeah...it helps to have 19-year old knees rather than my 90 year old ones :D )

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I ride moguls all the time and really enjoy it. I suppose it came out of neccessity of chasing all my skier friends around the hill back in the 90's. Its generally considered "bad" technique anywhere else on the hill, but in the moguls I found the easiest way is to use the "tail swish" that a lot of beginner riders use to initiate turns, just not as dramatic. Like someone said earlier, try to pick a decent looking line, keep the nose of the board flowing through the line, and use the tail to ride up the sides and slow your speed down. Its a whole lot like riding the zipper line on skis, and young knees definitely do help. Mostly, always remember to stay flexed at the knees and relax. If you get bounced out of a line, stop an pick a new one until you get the confidence to just pick it right up if you get bounced out. If you edge a bit on the sides of the moguls you can control speed pretty well without having to "whack" them to slow you down.

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I found a shorter turnier board helpful and hardboots are easier to control if youhave a good soft interface binding. Its hard to do on TD's:o Any how the tail swish thing is good. If you ever skiid bumps its kinda the opposite I always hit the bumps dead center with the nose and let the tail slide off on side or the other. If skiers made them you can't ride the trenches it just doesn't work geometry is wrong. Sack up and hit em straight on:biggthump upper body quiet lower body crankin:eplus2:

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thanks for all the helpfull info! so i guess i wasnt too far off slashing with the tail. Bleeding off speed was definately the hardest part. It was kind of interesting, I'll be trying it again next season a few times just to see if I can do it. I probably need to work on keeping my upper body quiet and bending more with the knees.

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Slashing with the tail isn't quite it, if you just kick the tail back and forth you will be in trouble. You want to be able to make quick edge sets, you need to use bent knees and strongly unweight to get to the next turn and you also want to keep centred or even forward, ie don't get in the back seat. One way to do this is to pressure the nose and roll across it into an edge set. You can practice this on a steep groomer, then take it into the bumps. If you can't make quick short swing turns on steep groom, you'll have trouble with bumps.

I'm fine in the troughs, although I mostly use the fronts and sides of the bumps. Being ready to take a little air if you have to is good.

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I find doubling the bumps up and turning on the tops works for me. If I need to, do a zipper line I get too much speed and get in the backseat then I go back to doubling up the bumps and it seems to work for me. If you keep your knees bent and absorb a lot of the bumps it will make you smoother. when you get tired after halfway down, you tend to straight leg it and then it all goes for a crap.

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Ok, so I realize snowboards are not meant for moguls.

Huh? Somebody told you wrong.;)

Moguls seem to be the final frontier for both skiers and snowboarders. I think that skiers are able to "fake it" sooner than snowboarders, but that is just my opinion.

On this forum, we seem to be keenly aware that the majority of snowboarders have not really come to understand or enjoy carving. In the same way, the majority of snowboarders have not really come to understand or enjoy nice round skidded turns. I would argue that carvers really struggle with this as well. IMO, the best way to navigate moguls is to get really good at really short radius, round skidded turns. This is true on both skis and snowboards. IMO it is equally difficult on both sets of gear to truly do short radius skidded turns well. As stated above, the stiffer the setup, the more difficult this becomes. Specifically, a torsionally soft board will twist into the bumps much better. However, it can be done on any setup by the right rider.

Once you learn to do these turns well, it becomes a matter of understanding lines. As stated above, there are several lines you can take. Contrary to popular belief, snowboards can ride the troughs on the right bumps. Some bumps are too tight to fit a snowboard in the troughs - especially wide boards. I have found that anything over a 27cm waist gets a little unwieldy in the troughs. A race board, on the other hand, can usually navigate even the tightest bumps, but they are usually so torsionally stiff that they take more work. The main lines that people take are: riding the troughs, rounding the top third, and connecting the bridges (of course there are others as well). Each involve the same short radius turns, but where a lot of your flexion and extension on steep groomers translates into turn shape, it now translates into absorbtion as well. Active legs provide constant pressure on your edges - especially on the backs of the bumps (where some people tend to think that less, or no edging occurs). This technique will allow for speed control AND speed maintenance.

As in carving, your movements should start at the board and move up (ankles, knees, hips). The tighter the line that you take, the less your upper body should move, because your body will be moving more directly down the hill. That should mean that your upper body faces the direction of your binding angles if your board were facing straight down the hill. This position will give you the greatest range of motion and the greatest ability to have active feet, knees, and hips. As you open your turns up in the moguls, your upper body will follow the board a little more instead of staying static down the fall line.

On another note, if you were teaching someone to snowboard, would you teach them to swish their tail? I hope not. Swishing your tail is a crutch to use instead of good technique for beginning snowboarders as well as novice mogul riders. It wastes a lot of energy and efficiency and it never allows you to progress with more control. I don't think that it is a good idea to recommend tail swishing. That being said, there are thousands of people all over the world who thoroughly enjoy snowboarding - and they are tail swishers.:rolleyes:

So, my answer to the original question would be - How can we get better at riding moguls? My A: Learn to do nice, round short radius turns and learn to use your legs to absorb bumps. Then combine the two. And, as always, take a lesson. :)

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Good one, Phil... and not a bad whip, either.

To add to that response, I'd say work towards the fall line slowly. If you try to go straight down too soon, you'll be in the back seat, tail-pushing like a bastard.

Take the time to pick your spot to turn and try the various methods Phil pointed out. Turn in the trough, banking off the bump. Turn on the top by up or down-unweighting (cross over, or under) and finally, try gapping some of the dirtier, stepped out ones.

The traverse set-up is key to giving yourself time to let loose the turn of your choice, in the place of your choice.

By the time you get to doing fall-line turns, you'll want to keep a quiet upper body that will tend to face the nose (regardless of angles) and be driven almost entirely from the core down.

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Slashing with the tail isn't quite it, if you just kick the tail back and forth you will be in trouble. You want to be able to make quick edge sets, you need to use bent knees and strongly unweight to get to the next turn and you also want to keep centred or even forward, ie don't get in the back seat. One way to do this is to pressure the nose and roll across it into an edge set. You can practice this on a steep groomer, then take it into the bumps. If you can't make quick short swing turns on steep groom, you'll have trouble with bumps.

I'm fine in the troughs, although I mostly use the fronts and sides of the bumps. Being ready to take a little air if you have to is good.

What Neil wrote is exactly what I was trying to convey with the tail swish and edging on the sides of the moguls......he just knew how to actually say it :)

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All good stuff. I would add... it's critical if you're a wimp like me to get a couple of additional things right:

(1) Pick your moguls. It's easier to ride big gnarly moguls when they're in condition than it is to ride small friendly bumps out of condition. It's a bit like riding ice: onlookers can't tell what you're doing, but if you're smart you ride on the "in-condition" stuff and it's much easier. So pick bumps which are soft enough to ride. Slushy bumps are fine: they're rideable on a board when on skis they'd be too soft.

(2) Pick your board. You can borrow my old GS boards if you like, but they're crap for moguls. You want something fairly flexible. The more macho your board is, the faster you'll need to ride to make it work... so the deal with my [new] F2 slalom is that you have to be fit enough to ride it fast enough for it to work in bumps. So probably softer is easier to start with.

Otherwise otherwise, I don't accept that snowboards don't work in moguls. I think that's probably a conspiracy started by Transworld readers ... their fashion gear prevents them riding bumps, so they try to pretend they doesn't exist/ can't be ridden. Bollocks. Come to Val d'Isere and try to get around on the blue runs without riding bumps.

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Otherwise otherwise, I don't accept that snowboards don't work in moguls. I think that's probably a conspiracy started by Transworld readers ... their fashion gear prevents them riding bumps, so they try to pretend they doesn't exist/ can't be ridden. Bollocks. Come to Val d'Isere and try to get around on the blue runs without riding bumps.

:lol:

Great advice, worded perfectly. Most of what people have said has confirmed what I already thought, Now I just need to put this knowlege to the test! I didnt think there was anything more to enhance my skidding, but now I think I'll be trying the moguls more often along with the carving. sure does give a good workout though. I think I'll be doing a lot of squats and wall sits to prepare next year.

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