Mogul Clinics... your thoughts?

Ken in LA

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I am interested in enrolling in a mogul clinic this upcoming season. Have many Pugskiers attended mogul clinics and if so what are your thoughts? I read Dan DiPiro’s book on mogul skiing, have had a great time in the bumps, and am ready to advance to the next level. I had signed up for a clinic last season at Mammoth but had to cancel due to an injury when I fell on a mogul at Brighton :doh:

The Mogul Clinic at Mammoth would be most convenient for me. Bumpbusters at Copper and Bob’s Mogul Camp at Mary Jane are a couple of other programs that might potentially work for me. I looked into the Bumps for Boomers program in Aspen but don’t have the big boomer bucks needed to enroll.

I am also planning to enroll in afternoon clinics at Alta as suggested by @David Chan... maybe that will suffice?

I am pretty excited to see how I might progress. I’ve never taken a ski lesson in my life (unless my father yelling at me as a pudgy child learning to ski in the Poconos count as a lesson).

I have the base-level passes for both Epic and Ikon so programs offered at one of their resorts would be optimal. I am painfully middle-class so super high-end instruction might be out of my price range.
 

martyg

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Ken - so much of mogul skiing goes right back to fundamentals. In the case of bumps, your ability to independently rotating your femur in your hip socks, without compensation by rotating your pelvis. I've attended a number of bump clinics - both those meant for the general public, and a those for various PSIA credentials bump specific credentials. In both cases it boils down to a few very fundamental drills. Participants then go to bumps to apply the tactics, and test movement patterns.

Clinics, IMO, are just a blast. With few exceptions, I always come away with a few nuggets of information, ways to make my skiing more efficient, and meet new friends. Focusing on a bump clinic may be limiting yourself. Maybe also expand your search to general performance clinics that include bumps? I also think that Robin Barnes teaches out of Mammoth. She might be worth looking up.

Also, check this out. You can start your season this AM with these drills. If these resonate, I have a few others that I can share. The next article will be lumbar mobility.

Enjoy.
 

avgDude

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I did a weekend clinic with Mogul Logic at Mary Jane a few years back. It was pretty good. At least for me, it's not something you master in a weekend. But it did reduce the fear of bumps a lot.

I'm from Iowa, so I had issues with the altitude, and I thought I was in better shape, I was wrong, I was exhausted at the end of each day. So pre-ski fitness is pretty important. Still It was a good clinic and I would recommend it.
 

LiquidFeet

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@Ken in LA, if you are interested in skiing a direct line down the bumps with some assertiveness, then Aspen's Bumps for Boomers is not what you are looking for. Many (not all) of its participants start out habitually aft, so part of the program focuses on staying centered.

Since staying out of the back seat is a major focus of the program, skiers are put on very short skis for the couple of two days. When they transfer back to their own skis, hopefully the lessons learn about staying centered transfer over.

Its participants also are often not yet able to rotate those femurs in the hip sockets. The program gets around their lack of mobility at the hip by teaching students to take a meandering line down the bump field while staying pretty much square to the skis. In other words, those skiers face the trees to the left, then to the right, as they choose to ski a wide line. They make their way down the hill slowly, one bump at a time.
 
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Seldomski

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So pre-ski fitness is pretty important.
Yes, agree with this. Also good to work on your range of motion. Can you do a squat below parallel with good form?

Momentum mogul clinic at Whistler is very good. They have 2 and 3 day clinics throughout the winter. The price is low, but you do need to get there.
https://www.momentumskicamps.com/programs/winter-clinics/

However, to get the most out of their lessons, you need to be a fairly advanced skier:
"high intermediate to advanced skiers looking for a new challenge. Skiers must be advanced skiers on groomed trails, able to make short radius turns and comfortable on single black diamond". If you are that good, then you should be able to meander down easier bump runs already.

Bumps will punish you if you make mistakes. I suggest you spend the season working on short turns and upper/lower body separation. Make sure to mention in your lessons that your goal is to ski bumps well. There are some techniques and tactics that are specifically good in bumps.
 

rustypouch

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Ken - so much of mogul skiing goes right back to fundamentals. In the case of bumps, your ability to independently rotating your femur in your hip socks, without compensation by rotating your pelvis. I've attended a number of bump clinics - both those meant for the general public, and a those for various PSIA credentials bump specific credentials. In both cases it boils down to a few very fundamental drills. Participants then go to bumps to apply the tactics, and test movement patterns.

Clinics, IMO, are just a blast. With few exceptions, I always come away with a few nuggets of information, ways to make my skiing more efficient, and meet new friends. Focusing on a bump clinic may be limiting yourself. Maybe also expand your search to general performance clinics that include bumps? I also think that Robin Barnes teaches out of Mammoth. She might be worth looking up.

Also, check this out. You can start your season this AM with these drills. If these resonate, I have a few others that I can share. The next article will be lumbar mobility.

Enjoy.
Exactly. The bumps will show and intensify inadequacies in your technique. Especially if your lower body is stiff, you'll just get thrown around.
 

ksampson3

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@Ken in LA, Since staying out of the back seat is a major focus of the program, skiers are put on very short skis for the couple of two days. When they transfer back to their own skis, hopefully the lessons learn about staying centered transfer over.
I got an email from them regarding this year's clinics and it looks like they won't be using ski blades anymore. So no more shorty short skis. They are going to be putting everyone on "real" skis that are shorter than what they normally ski. When I took the class, they recommended that I rent a pair of skis in the 150 to 160 range, instead of the usual +180 that I ski. I will say that it made learning easier than being on my own pair of 185's that are my daily drivers.
 

Chris V.

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Ken - so much of mogul skiing goes right back to fundamentals.
^^This!

The advice in this thread has been spot on, and I'm largely just going to echo that. But--as a starting point, just in your head, or on the hill once the snow starts falling, imagine yourself at the top of a groomed run of the same pitch, length, width, and aspect as a mogul run that you want to be able to ski well. Imagine a meandering path, perhaps spray painted on the snow, with some variations in turn size and shape, similar to the path that you would want to be able to ski through a mogul field. Could you ski that line on the groomed run accurately, in balance, with no extreme braking maneuvers, and with good speed control? For the great majority of skiers, the answer will be, "No." If you can't do it on the groomed run, you'll never be able to do it in moguls. If you can do it in the groomer, you'll be well on your way to being able to ski the moguls in good form. Moguls have the added element of requiring a lot of flexion and extension to adapt to the terrain. How much--depends on the kind of moguls you're speaking of.

So clearly I'm advocating that the pathway to skiing moguls well should be building excellent short turns. Short, and also REALLY short. Carved, brushed, pivoted, sideslipped, hopped, and everything in between, because you'll use them all. Then just take it progressively into more and more challenging terrain.

If you've never taken a formal lesson, you might consider starting with a couple of days of lessons focusing on turn mechanics on groomed runs. This would allow an instructor to assess your baseline form, and would familiarize you with some of the concepts and terminology instructors use.

Then I would urge you to look for a program (including speaking by phone or in person with program supervisors) focusing on a rigorous, step by step approach to working on bump skiing. Frankly, to me some of the video clips one can view of results of Bumps for Boomers-type clinics (not necessarily by that name) are scary. Hey, different strokes for different folks. I don't want to stand in the way of anyone's fun. But it sounds as if you would enjoy the benefits of an athletic approach to mogul skiing--not necessarily aiming for lightning speed, but focusing on good form. Bumps will challenge you physically and mentally like nothing else I know. They're truly a lifetime project.
 

KevinF

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To echo what others have said... I feel the major difference between moguls and groomers is that the moguls force you to do many things that you should probably be doing anyway.

If you can't flex/extend on a groomer, you probably can't do it in the chaos of a bump run.
If you can't roll out 100 straight short turns on a groomer with upper/lower body separation, you probably can't do it a bump run.
If you're falling into the back seat on a groomer, you'll do the same on a bump run.

I take a few private lessons at my home resort each season throughout the winter. My coach doesn't so much work on "bumps" or any type of specific terrain with me; we work on skiing. Balance, separation, basic skills. And then I find it's easier to ski bumps (or trees, or powder, or groomers, or whatever).
 

Crank

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To be contrarian. If you want to learn moguls take a mogul clinic. It's really hard and maybe even impossible to learn to ski bumps on a groomer.
 

martyg

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To be contrarian. If you want to learn moguls take a mogul clinic. It's really hard and maybe even impossible to learn to ski bumps on a groomer.
That is where it starts. If I am teaching someone to ski or paddle in advanced conditions, 70% of the teaching happens in a benign environment. Yes, we transition to more demanding situations to test movement patterns, and if the old movement patterns creep back in - and they always do because an afternoon, day or week is to short a duration to address inefficient movement patterns - it is back to benign environments.

Fear is one of the barriers to learning. And if the person isn't comfortable, the wheels come off, and learning to rewire movement patterns ceases.
 

SSSdave

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I've never taken any ski instruction and that certainly resulted in my taking longer to ski all manner of terrain including moguls well than if I had been coached. In the era I learned to ski unlike today, moguls were everywhere at steeper resorts so using long crappy skis of the day we had to one way or another.

So cannot comment on clinics beyond relating that few advanced skier are capable of reaching a smooth mogul style on their own even though today there is plenty of information on technique including technical text descriptions, images, and videos. In other words, apparently numbers of advanced skiers that would like to ski moguls smoothly efficiently, try to absorb that information but fall short. And that is where a knowledgeable bump instructor can probably make a difference by being able to see subtle body mechanical issues that a person skiing through bumps does not. There are certainly plenty of them on this board.

Heck I really don't understand at a deeper level how I ski through moguls as it is all learned movement that I just feel inside as familiar effective technique and then repeat. Actually I don't have the kinematics background to properly describe the motions to others even if I wanted to. About all I can really do is provide the same vague descriptions most bump skiers can and then just say follow me or ski like that person. So yeah, if you can afford it, get a real mogul instructor.

And maybe one comment on short swing turns. I'd guess down say a modest 40% grade intermediate slope, I can lay down about twice as many turns as an average advanced skier. And why is that?
 
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Scruffy

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I think the disconnect in conversation often times with this subject is that instructors want to hammer home the message that you need a collection of skills and movement patterns that are better learned in a two dimensional surface ( and this is certainly a valid point, esp. for those that don't yet have those skills, and even for skilled skiers to practice--I continually practice and do drills on groomed snow all the time regardless of my level of proficiency-- I actually enjoy drills), and those non-instructors that have been through the mill on this for many years and know that you also need a lot of time in the hole to develop constant subtle balance adjustment skills and anticipatory awareness singed into your "muscle memory". And that experience is only gained in the practice of the medium itself, which is a chaotic, ever changing, no two bump fields or snow surface conditions alike affair. So we get these two choruses singing: "you can learn all movement patterns out of the moguls", versus "if you want to learn to ski moguls, go ski a ton of moguls." I'm not say ski instructors are obtuse to the second part of this, it's that their insistence on hammer home that first part at the exclusion of the second part leave some scratching their heads. It's also hard to teach the second part, no two dimensional drill can prepare one for the bucking bronco environment. Very subtle and constant movements to keep one balanced and still driving the skis are hard to describe and teach, and need to be experienced and developed by that experience. For example: Experienced skiers might talk, and teach drills, in terms of flexing and extending to stay balanced in the bumps ( obviously there's more to it I'm leaving out) ; but even at it's fullest discussion, it's way to simplistic and black and white.

I'm stuck trying to think of any other sport that is quite like bumps skiing to make a comparison. Perhaps wind surfing. All the dryland training and protected bay practice doesn't prepare you for big variable chaotic waves with fluctuating winds you'll find out on the open water. That dynamic environment requires full emersion in it and experience over time to master, same with bumps.
 

Mike King

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I think the disconnect in conversation often times with this subject is that instructors want to hammer home the message that you need a collection of skills and movement patterns that are better learned in a two dimensional surface ( and this is certainly a valid point, esp. for those that don't yet have those skills, and even for skilled skiers to practice--I continually practice and do drills on groomed snow all the time regardless of my level of proficiency-- I actually enjoy drills), and those non-instructors that have been through the mill on this for many years and know that you also need a lot of time in the hole to develop constant subtle balance adjustment skills and anticipatory awareness singed into your "muscle memory". And that experience is only gained in the practice of the medium itself, which is a chaotic, ever changing, no two bump fields or snow surface conditions alike affair. So we get these two choruses singing: "you can learn all movement patterns out of the moguls", versus "if you want to learn to ski moguls, go ski a ton of moguls." I'm not say ski instructors are obtuse to the second part of this, it's that their insistence on hammer home that first part at the exclusion of the second part leave some scratching their heads. It's also hard to teach the second part, no two dimensional drill can prepare one for the bucking bronco environment. Very subtle and constant movements to keep one balanced and still driving the skis are hard to describe and teach, and need to be experienced and developed by that experience. For example: Experienced skiers might talk, and teach drills, in terms of flexing and extending to stay balanced in the bumps ( obviously there's more to it I'm leaving out) ; but even at it's fullest discussion, it's way to simplistic and black and white.

I'm stuck trying to think of any other sport that is quite like bumps skiing to make a comparison. Perhaps wind surfing. All the dryland training and protected bay practice doesn't prepare you for big variable chaotic waves with fluctuating winds you'll find out on the open water. That dynamic environment requires full emersion in it and experience over time to master, same with bumps.
Well, I don't know of any instructors who would claim that all you need to do is learn the skills on groomers. If you want to ride a bike, you aren't going to learn it by only riding a stationary bike. Similarly, if you want to ski bumps, you aren't going to acquire the skills by only skiing groomers.

@Josh Matta has often said: "It's not that you can't ski the bumps, it's that you can't ski and the bumps prove it." The skills to ski the bumps need to be acquired on groomers and then applied to more dynamic terrain. You don't learn to dive off of the 30 meter platform by starting there -- a faster, and more likely to succeed strategy is to start diving off of the edge of the pool, then progress to the board, and build your way to the platform.

In other words, if there are deficiencies in your technique, it's best to address them on easier terrain where you have a more familiar and less demanding environment to change the motor patterns that will be limiting in the bumps. Then you can take the new, more appropriate skills to the more demanding and dynamic environment to extend the learning.

Mike
 

Scruffy

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Well, I don't know of any instructors who would claim that all you need to do is learn the skills on groomers. If you want to ride a bike, you aren't going to learn it by only riding a stationary bike. Similarly, if you want to ski bumps, you aren't going to acquire the skills by only skiing groomers.

@Josh Matta has often said: "It's not that you can't ski the bumps, it's that you can't ski and the bumps prove it." The skills to ski the bumps need to be acquired on groomers and then applied to more dynamic terrain. You don't learn to dive off of the 30 meter platform by starting there -- a faster, and more likely to succeed strategy is to start diving off of the edge of the pool, then progress to the board, and build your way to the platform.

In other words, if there are deficiencies in your technique, it's best to address them on easier terrain where you have a more familiar and less demanding environment to change the motor patterns that will be limiting in the bumps. Then you can take the new, more appropriate skills to the more demanding and dynamic environment to extend the learning.

Mike
I agree with you 100%. Again, I'm not saying instructors are saying that's "all" you need. I'm simply attempting to address the disconnect in the discussion we often see in these forum threads.

The part not given enough attention in these discussions is that learned through experience dynamic movement. How do we talk about that? How do you teach someone to balance on a tight rope through discussion? One needs to experience and develop the very subtle, but constant adjustments to their body position to stay in balance on the tight rope.
 
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