Momentum Ski Clinic

Discussion in 'Ski School' started by MarkG, Apr 5, 2019.

  1. MarkG

    MarkG Putting on skis Skier

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    So this last week I went up to Blackcomb to partake in 2 days of bumps in the zipper line. What a blast, and what a rude awakening.


    I realized the night before Day 1 that there was a chance I'd get dumped from class. On signing up, I failed to make the connection that a level 5/6 in Canadian Epic Ski level didn't necessarily equal a US Epic Level 8. And to be sure, both days I was hands down the worst skier in my group. While big picture this isn't a bad thing to ski with people better than you, it's a stigma I let influence my skiing the entire weekend (bad on me, not Momentum.) I thought I could manage a short radius turn, for example, but what instructors and students both were doing was much faster, and more fluid. Really, what these folks can do was beautiful.

    This course was 2 days of zipper line moguls, with the only difference between day 1 and 2 being the instructor and how they might approach the bumps. A fresh perspective if you will, philosophy being if one instructor didn't click for you, maybe the next instructor's approach would. That was the theory.


    Structure of each day (spring skiing conditions) was drills on the flats before lunch and then soft moguls in the afternoon. This worked out well for the group, though I found each day that perhaps I would have liked to continue on the flats a bit to dial some things in. I know...mogul clinic, so we should bring on the bumps. I think if my fellow group mates both days had been a bit lessor skilled (second worst skier after me, day 2, was PSIA level 1) that might have happened.


    I’m going to focus on day 2, as I was lucky enough to have John Smart as an instructor. The guy is freaking amazing, and was really good about pulling individual focuses together for each member of our group that was aggregated around a theme for the run, yet individualized. On top of that, he had a few moments to show off, leaving the rest of us speechless. Like a good coach he always had a positive coupled with a skill to work on, and I feel that in the end I know what I need to work on n the world of moguls (and frankly skiing,). We spent most of the afternoon (both days) cruising bumps under the Excelorator Express lift.


    I learned a ton, and I will go back to Blackcomb/Momentum, but maybe not until ironing out a few flaws in my technique (I have a upper/lower separation issue turning left. Also, bringing my skis together really messed with my head.) Frankly, what these skiers can do, both instructors AND students with a short radius turn is nothing shy of amazing. So fast, yet graceful and effortless. Some day I'll be like that!

    This is definitely a different track from say Bumps for Boomers (based on what I’ve read.) I also must say while spent at the end of each day I don’t feel that I would want to ski bumps/the mountain any other way at age 51. That said, I might work on boosting my aerobic and anaerobic endurance before signing up for 2 consecutive days. I didn't notice an impact on my muscles/skeletal system per se, but I definitely ran out of gas by 2:30 pm day 2 with an hour to go.

    Tldr version: Momentum rocks, wish I were a better skier to take advantage of all that we did. I will go again, and you should too. But No, 2 days later I have more to work on as opposed to coming home being a bump bad ass. Get your expectations in check... :D

    Any questions...I'll do my best to represent and answer.
     
  2. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    ^^^ Skiing direct is a humbling experience, especially under the lift line. Bumps don't lie but its so rewarding once you make progress. I am doing and have done things I thought not within my reach years ago.
     
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  3. Superbman

    Superbman Getting on the lift Skier

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    Were most of the participants/ coaches on competition. mogul skis? If not, what was typical?

    I love the sound of this..an actual mogul clinic that isn't about shopping for turns and 'managing' the bumps, but actually skiing them.
     
  4. Thread Starter
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    MarkG

    MarkG Putting on skis Skier

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    In re: comp skis...one participant in my group was rocking some Twisters. Everybody else was on all mountain skis, recommended sub 90 waist with minimal sidecut. A few park skis in the mix too. I was on Blizzard Latigos. We weren't doing a comp course/lines and the focus was on real world bumps and that was reflected in the ski selection. Ton of short or adjustable poles, too. I'm pretty sure the summer camp sessions would see that change, where everybody is working on comp man made bumps and aerials while up on the Blackcomb glacier. One group did go over to the comp course but came back rather quickly due to no sun/icy conditions (serious spring conditions going on up in Whistler right now.)

    btw, from conversations, IDOne was the competition mogul ski of choice. However I think they are also a Momentum sponsor, so I'm not sure how that factors into the equation, if at all.

    Get yourself to Whistler Blackcomb. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019
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  5. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    So what were the recommendations in general for techniqe?
    Thoughts on boots?
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2019


  6. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    Hi @MarkG , I was in your group on day 2 :). Thanks for making this thread and nice summary.

    On skis... I was not sure what to get for this class myself. I went back and forth at the rental shop and settled on 182 length atomic 83 cti. I am 183 cm tall. These worked fine for me. Radius is something like 18m on them.

    I'll add some more thoughts on camp later when I have a keyboard...
     
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  7. Thread Starter
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    MarkG

    MarkG Putting on skis Skier

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    Drills designed to keep a quiet stacked upper body always facing down the fall line in a stacked position. Skis tightly together (Day 1 instructor emphasized this more than Day 2.) Turns from the legs and ankles or initiated by pulling the ski back and slightly rolling that knee behind the other.

    Actual skiing in the bumps, Use Absorption and Quick short turns to control speed. Find the line. Head/Vision up. Stay in the line.

    @Seldomski may have more to add. I think we each had some individualized focal points to work on. Those listed above tended to be mine.

    Nothing on boots, but again, with the every day all mountain approach of the clinic that doesn't surprise me. Summer Camp might have a more extensive/competitively focused gear list than the winter/spring clinics.
     
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  8. martyg

    martyg Out on the slopes Industry Insider

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    Glad that you had a great experience. I attended a Momentum Ski Camp, and felt that it was close to a waste of money.

    My biggest gripe: A lack of professionalism. All but one instructor showed up cross-faded and hung over from the night before - so much so that they were barely able to do their jobs. On young lady, a former athlete, was the class slut. The other instructors and regular attendees were constantly grabbing her Tuesdays In The Snow and ass (no exaggeration). I felt sorry for her, She didn't have the respect for herself to slap these guys, and ownership was either too clueless, or too lacking in professionalism, to help this individual out. She had issues, and she was just used by all involved.

    Booze and weed was rampant. On and off duty, for instructors.

    Finally, I suffered a neck injury while doing jumps into the air bag. Our instructor, who was one of the more professional ones in her demeanor and presentation abilities, told me, "Whatever you do, don't tell anyone." WFT???

    Least you think that I come from a place of cluelessness, I am or have been in Instructor, Instructor Trainer, or Instructor Trainer Educator for every paddling discipline. Those credentials, and an interesting Military background, gets me invited to guide high income guests on big, scary rivers in remote corners of the world. So I know a thing or two about risk management and guest satisfaction. I'm also a PSIA instructor and typically have 10 - 20 days of clinics a year.

    If you are looking for a summer ski camp, hit up one of the many camps on Hood. Much more professional scene.
     
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  9. Thread Starter
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    MarkG

    MarkG Putting on skis Skier

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    Not my experience at all. That's a bummer story.
     
  10. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    @martyg - my experience was positive. I can only speak to a single 2 day winter clinic, not the week-long summer version. But there was definitely a different flavor to the lesson vs. PSIA/CSIA lessons I have had.

    These comments specifically highlight a difference in the lesson. In any other lesson I have had, I would expect 99% of certified instructors to adjust the lesson plan to make sure @MarkG was ready for moguls and not likely to injury. Not so with these guys. So I do see a different attitude - they did not seem to be as protective/safety conscious of students. Atmosphere was more cavalier and informal vs. most other lessons. They also intend to ski bell to bell, regardless of how students were doing/struggling. Again, for a PSIA/CSIA class, I would expect the instructor to tone it down when some in group are struggling. For the clinic, they don't offer to escort student down or download, or anything like that.

    Their attitude is more -- we'll see you at the bar if you're tired. This is an athletic activity. You might get hurt. You're an adult, do what you want. If you hurt yourself in the course of trying to ski this stuff, it's on you. CSIA/PSIA instructors I have had would almost certainly be much more polite and gracious toward students (who are paying $$). Make sure they get down before they suspect a student is over-terrained/tired or an injury is likely.

    Again, this is in my VERY LIMITED experience - one 2 day class. They have been running these camps/clinics for ~30 years so something must be working? Personally, I am OK with this style approach because I am always willing to say no to something if I think I will get hurt. Others may not be as self aware, or feel pressured to keep going and end in injury - I could see this style not working for some people. For feedback (if any Momentum guys are reading this), I'd suggest stating this sort of attitude up front each day of the lesson. Most other lessons I have had, I feel like the instructor creates a protective bubble and won't ask me to do things that have significant risk.

    EDIT to add: Not saying I ever felt unsafe in any of this. I can't speak to @MarkG level of comfort in any of this. Not trying to scare people, just noting a difference here. I don't feel the coaches were ever reckless or cold-hearted. They did genuinely care about the students, but were not as protective of students as I have seen in certified instructors. IMO some certified instructors are too risk averse.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
  11. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    Some more notes on gear...

    Day 1 & 2 - Ryan Johnson (coach) was on some twin tip, 'powder' skis. I am not sure exactly what they were, something in the mid 90s to 100 under foot. I noticed them because they seemed like the opposite of what I would want for moguls. He still skied amazingly on them - from groomer to moguls. I didn't note exactly what John Smart (coach) was on either day. It wasn't a mogul specific ski though, but it was not as wide as Ryan's.

    John was using Full Tilt boots. I don't remember what Ryan was using. Some students had mogul specific skis. Most students were on typical downhill-focused ski boots. I think any narrow-ish all mountain ski works for this.

    The instructors skied amazingly well on moguls with their all-mountain setups and variety of skis. I guess gear would matter more if our group ability level was higher and/or the bumps were firmer. Coaches and students were on all sorts of different stuff and skiing it very well -- it didn't really matter what people were using.

    For poles... I didn't notice students or coaches adjusting pole lengths. It may have happened, but I didn't notice it. I asked about pole use and the coaches actually de-emphasized poles. They said that the poles were really a crutch and can have a negative impact on extension/absorption. Something to do with subconsciously stopping all further flexion/absorption as soon as the pole touches. They said the goal was really to ski the moguls without poles - only your feet/lower body should be doing anything meaningful. Pole plants are supposed to be touches on the backside of the moguls. If you touch somewhere else or are putting a lot of force on the pole, you aren't in the fall line anymore. You may be recovering from a mistake or irregular mogul shape to get back to a desired line. So that was interesting feedback.

    Again, this was for my specific lesson. Maybe they get back to this when you are much more proficient in bumps.
     
  12. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    Nothing in my lessons regarding boots, other than maybe shin pressure.

    Technique notes:
    -Get forward and tall. You aren't as forward as you think you are... Metaphor of 'pressing your entire upper body against a wall with your feet behind you' was used. A drill on groomer to ski as far aft as possible in transition, then as far forward as possible to start new turn.
    -Constant shin pressure.
    -Poles... not really anything mentioned here other than to lightly touch only for plants. Nothing about 'turning around the pole' or blocking pole plants. Touch on backside of mogul. Wasn't really a focus for any tips I received.
    -Flexion/absorption. Some very helpful drills by Ryan Johnson illustrating how much you really need to bend your legs. It's a lot more than I thought. Thighs parallel to ground as you meet bump, then butt to heels as you turn on bump. Actually going through these deep motions and feeling it was useful. John Smart actually disagreed with Ryan's method of teaching this, but admitted that it produced results in some students. John thought it was too complicated. John taught it more as turning with knees flexed on the bump face. It was nice to see that the camp director recognized that even if he didn't "get it" the way another coach taught it, that some students would value it.
    -Turn initiation -- some drills skiing as low as possible to feel 'knee wag' to start turns. Roll knees while flexed to turn on the bump face.
    -Line -- as direct as possible. Even if you skied the moguls smoothly but not direct, the instructor would criticize the line choice. Other instruction I have had, this was never a thing... instructors were happy to see you make it down composed. Coaches in momentum clinic wanted you to make it down AND do it in a narrow alley of the mogul run. And then do it even more direct.

    Video analysis at the end of each day. So ski days were 8:30AM to 5:30PM when you include review at day end. I did get the videos from Day 2 recently. John actually talks during the video pointing out flaws/things to work on. Pretty cool to review later and try to remember.

    Stuff for me to work on:
    -Forward + tall. I can do one or the other, but have trouble doing both. So I will working now on skiing low, but not bent at waist as a drill. This is also limiting my ability to turn faster.
    -Even more absorption and rolling to new edges with knees.
    -Line: 'Stop over turning in moguls' or 'loopy turns' = bad. This leads to too much traversing or shooting out of the fall line sideways. Turn shopping, etc. This is basically my old habit, not-so-direct mogul technique. I had a few 'direct ski tips directly into mogul face turns' that the coaches liked. It's hard for me to link multiple like that in a row. I usually ski the bank line, not as direct. This is going to take a lot of discipline for me to change. Especially on steeper, firmer bumps.
    -Staying stacked over feet in short turns (see current avatar -- bad in moguls or on ice, can get away with it on hero snow)
    -Increase short turn tempo. I can turn maybe 1x for every 4x turns the coaches made... I have some mental tricks now to try to go more directly down fall line and create the motivation for faster turns. I think getting much more forward will help this. I am now more aware of when I start riding the tails in short turns. Before I enjoyed the sensation and had fun with it. Now I recognize it as 'bad' - but I still enjoy it sometimes anyway :)
    -Vision. In general look further down the hill. Frankly, I don't know what to look at in the bumps anymore. Toward the end of the clinics, I was blankly staring forward and hoping for the best... lol. There is just so much going on that I am having trouble processing everything.
     
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  13. HardDaysNight

    HardDaysNight Out on the slopes Skier

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    Great report and it sounds like an awesome 2 days (even if the teachers didn’t offer to escort slackers downogsmile). You obviously got a lot out of it. Kudos to them I’d say.
     
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    MarkG

    MarkG Putting on skis Skier

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    Totally on me for going up that last run. I knew I was done before getting on the gondola...but FOMO.
     
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  15. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    lol loopy turns lead to traversing?

    How and why?



    not sure I traverse once here and the literal goal was loopy turns.
     
  16. geepers

    geepers Out on the slopes Skier

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    Here'a a vid from MSC web site.

    This one shows John Smart, mentioned in posts above, and has a few shots of the bump skiing with a range of athletic effort.
     
  17. Josh Matta

    Josh Matta Making fresh tracks Instructor

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    I am curious how the operate at whistler.....
     
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  18. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

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    You mean, why does Whistler (Vail) allow them to operate?

    I don't know about this one in particular but Whistler has other companies that operate on the mountain too... like the Extremely Canadian guides that operate all season. I guess Vail either makes enough off the licensing, or doesn't want the PR backlash of not allowing these kinds of instruction/guiding.
     
  19. jack97

    jack97 Getting off the lift Skier

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    Full Tilt is the boot of choice. However, if the feet isn't cooperating, I heard stories from other camps of ways instructors and students will soften up a boot.

    Another story I heard from a mogul instructor was that a great skier can ski with any ski. IMO, for us mortals, we still need to hone our skills to ski that tight line. As mentioned in another post, the Twister was a great first ski for those want to develop the skills to ski a direct line.
     
  20. Seldomski

    Seldomski Paralysis by analysis Skier

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    I did ask John this specifically. They pay a % to Whistler. They haven't seen any changes since Vail took over, though they were worried about it. The summer camp brings in some $$ in lodging and associated expenses in the otherwise dead off season. It's perceived to be a big draw in the freestyle community.

    They offer a very narrow focus in instruction. Skiing moguls in a very specific way. They are not affiliated with the ski school - none of their coaches teach at the ski school. John said they teach something the other ski instructors either won't or can't. So they can coexist without competing with one another. They have mutual respect for one another.

    I'm sure there's more to it than this...just what I recall from a 10 minute conversation.
     

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