Zipperline Bump skiing,objectively why

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Josh Matta

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What is OBJECTIVELY better about it?

Its not faster than GS turning though bumps, its not less impacts than smooth round lines, its more tiring, it not at versatile "places have bad bumps", its not slower than other methods.

If you subjectively like that style of skiing better , thats great,, this thread isnt for opinions, what is objectively better about comp/zipperline bump skiing?
 

Seldomski

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On blue mogul runs with very elongated moguls, the zipperline can be the better route to ski. If you miss a turn and start to traverse, you end up going up and over multiple moguls, sometimes with sharp spines. The flow is better if you stay in the zipper.

So objectively, there are times when the zipperline is the most efficient, least physically demanding route through the moguls simply because of the way they are laid out.
 

KevinF

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I think there are times -- at least for my skill set -- that each method (green line, blue line, zipperline, etc.) works best. I'll define "best" as allowing the run to flow and allowing speed control.

I like to start a run by finding a line that allows two or three "blue line" turns to start simply barbecue I feel that's the most "natural" feeling to me. After that, I feel like I just sort of "ski". Half the time, do you what you wanted... half the time, do something anyway.

So to your immediate question Josh... I think every skier will have a different approach of what is objectively "best" for any situation. Depending on their goals, skills, etc. everyone is going to ski a run differently. I get disappointed when I see any one particular line choice mandated as "the" way to ski.
 

skier

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Let me start off with something subjective first. I have a confession to make, and I'm not being sarcastic. I actually like Josh. His views of comp bump skiing are about as antithetical to mine as possible, but that doesn't bother me. I've read his posts bashing bump skiers for many years. It's pretty much guaranteed that I would argue with him. But, I really respect him, because he puts stuff out there, and it's pretty good. He has some interesting insights, and you can match it up with his skiing. Honestly, if no one shared personal videos in the forum, I wouldn't spend anytime here. Since I love moguls, Josh ends up being one of the most valued members of the forum, since he's one of the few people putting up mogul videos. A picture is worth a thousand words, and if we could all share videos while discussing, it could be incredibly productive. Unfortunately, it doesn't really end up that way for many complicated reasons based on group dynamics. So, really I don't have any issues with Josh other than how the anti-comp animus plays out with the group as people try to shout down opposite points of view.

Back to moguls. Long ago people would tell kids to ski across the hill instead of down the hill to control speed. So, that's the beginner's way, across, turn, across, turn. But then as you start getting better, you spend less time skiing across the hill. It's more satisfying, fun, more difficult and thus more challenging spending less time skiing across the hill. I remember seeing skiers link short radius turns when I was a kid, and I thought, wow that looks amazing and fun. I want to do that. So, I developed a goal to try to link short radius turns down the fall line. It's not long before that's easily accomplished on the groomed, so then I got into trying the same thing in the moguls. At first, I tried just as a challenge. At some resorts, moguls are the most difficult terrain, and short radius turns are very challenging. So, I would try just to see if I could do it. There were probably years there where I wouldn't actually call it fun. I just wanted to do it. But then, as it started clicking and you get the rhythm with that weightless feeling, it became one of the funnest experience in sports like skiing powder, and now I'll spare no expense to get that sensation. To get the feeling though, it's key to continue linking the turns at a reasonable speed. Many times, it's not easy to make that next turn. Many people give up. I never gave up, and I got rewarded for the effort, because now I can make that turn where most people can't.

So, subjectively, it's incredibly fun to make those series of turns. Objectively, it's very difficult to make that next turn, and it takes lots of experience, skill, technique, and discipline. There are few things that are as objectively clear as this. Either you can make the turn, or you can't make the turn. Then, once you can make those turns and you're having a blast, that's probably enough. However, to continue in the sport, taking video, getting coached, and subjectively meeting certain form challenges can add another dimension. There's a lot of similarity to carving in terms of sensation and working on form, but carving is more subjective. It's hard for some to know if they are really carving well or not without a judge. In moguls, you know if you've made that next turn. You know when you failed to make that next turn, and you can see other people coming behind you that fail to make the turn even when they are trying.

Personally, banging into moguls just to make the next turn is not fun or healthy, so I've given myself the extra challenge of accomplishing those quick turns without impact. As a start, for an objective metric, count turn frequency like I described in my other post. Turn frequency is 100% objective. If someone can achieve the same turn frequency as Nelson Carmichael in many of his modern videos, if they're turning on every bump without impact, and they're still not a convert to comp technique, then I'd take them very seriously (proven with video or in person).
 

scott43

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I always thought zipper was how real skiers did bumps..I felt like a hack because I couldn't do it. I figured ANYONE can hack it through moguls do big turns like I did... :huh:
 

Erik Timmerman

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If someone can achieve the same turn frequency as Nelson Carmichael in many of his modern videos, if they're turning on every bump without impact, and they're still not a convert to comp technique, then I'd take them very seriously (proven with video or in person).
That's setting the bar pretty high.
 

SSSdave

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Have never thought of comp mogul skiing versus rec mogul skiing being a matter of which is better. That is like asking whether freely skiing groomed slopes is better versus doing so through a set of racing gates. Both are ways skiing enthusiasts have fun, purpose, and challenge so depends on a list of factors including personal. The more choices we skiers have for what we choose to ski and how we ski and on what type of skis we ski, the more likely we will eventually more narrowly focus on types of skiing we prefer and enjoy most. There are some personalities that are into competition, challenge, and games in all matters of life while others are fine seeking fun and interesting amusement etc. In summer I hike and backpack extensively in magnificent alpine mountains where scenery is a prime reason for most and even there are enthusiasts that are intensely into endurance competitions like hiking some trail section in fastest time. Each to their own.

Unlike decades ago when there were many mogul skiers including teams of locals at most resorts, I really haven't seen any old style long zipper lines on mogul slopes over the last decade here at the 3 South lake Tahoe resorts, HV, SaT, KW. Most of those skiers moved onto fat all mountain skis and terrain. Thus all our moguled slopes are more irregular. However there are lines on mogul slopes where bump skiers tend to concentrate on preferred lines where one will find several bumps that come close to fitting that description. But they don't go very far unlike the old days when members of freestyle teams might bang down the same fall lines repeatedly after each ride. I've ridden up on chairs over decades with those from both styles and have not really experienced a negative or competitive vibe between them. For instance never heard someone with say a fast comp style critical of someone smoothly skiing less speedy, more relaxed, as people understand we are all more talented than 95% of others on our slopes and are free to choose what where how.

Admittedly I usually did not find such lines to my liking on steeper slopes because the holes that would form in front of each mogul head tends to get deep requiring a consistent turn pattern and because in comp moguls, speed is a key goal, in steeper terrain they end up getting pounded with more forces than I considered fun. On less steep slopes like we'd find down in the dark shady ravine at the bottom of Olympic Lady at Squaw, they were a lot of fun because the pitch was mellow. Having seen modern machine built zipper lines, but never having skied any, am certain I could with some practice ski them well and enjoy them at least to a limited extent.

Yesterday on NBC, I watched the World Cup Freestyles at Lake Placid. Jonny Mosely was the commentator that made it even better to watch. From my earliest days skiing in the 80s, I was never a fan of the speed elements in mogul competitions as was the case with fair numbers of other rec mogul skiers of the day. Ever since comp moguls runs became machine made my interest waned further. And when big air became an increasing factor on built jumps versus trying to do so off of irregular natural moguls, I lost further interest. However I understood why all that evolved for the elite athletes, understood the media fascinations with airs, so was always trivial personally, each to their own. Fair numbers of us however would relate that we would rather watch mogul skiers judged solely on turns and say making classic small airs like daffys etc off of whatever was on slopes.
 

oldschoolskier

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What is OBJECTIVELY better about it?

Its not faster than GS turning though bumps, its not less impacts than smooth round lines, its more tiring, it not at versatile "places have bad bumps", its not slower than other methods.

If you subjectively like that style of skiing better , thats great,, this thread isnt for opinions, what is objectively better about comp/zipperline bump skiing?
It’s not about liking that skill better, it’s about having the ability to do that skill, just like GS turn, SL turns or whatever.

Ziplining down a mogul run is likely the fastest and most effective yet most physically demanding way down a mogul run. Question becomes A. Do have the skills and B. Are you in the physical shape to do it.

My humble feeling is that you are looking at the wrong aspects and failing to realize what is really the goal. In skiing it is simply are you capable (skill) and are you in condition (physical) to do it. Being able to is the ulitimate reward and the journey there is the what makes it fun. Each level just adds a new experience and enjoyment.
 
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geepers

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There's zipperline and then there's.... other zipperline.

Perhaps Reilly said it best.

 

mister moose

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So, subjectively, it's incredibly fun to make those series of turns. Objectively, it's very difficult to make that next turn, and it takes lots of experience, skill, technique, and discipline.
Agree. Furthermore, in natural (not seeded) bumps, every bump is different, sometimes drastically so. The endless variety is both the challenge and the entertainment. It is the opposite of corduroy, where the surface is uniform, predictable, two dimensional. I would define the zipper line as any path 1 mogul wide down the fall line of the hill. There are thumpers, trough turners, top cresters, side carvers, and more. Zipperline encompasses far more than just comp style skiing.

As I said in another thread,
Skiers couldn't edge well, so we invented mid calf plastic boots. Skiers couldn't initiate or carve well, so we invented deeper side cuts. Skiers floundered in powder not realizing it is a fluid environment, so we gave them fat skis to get them on top of the fluid to make it easier. Skiers couldn't ski bumps well, so we gave them... nothing. Bumps are the last frontier. There is no way to buy some magic when the troughs get deep, steep, and packed close together.
If you have to depart the zipperline, it's due to a mistake. In a race course if you miss a gate, it's a mistake. The zipperline is when we put the gates on each mogul in our mind.

Lastly, bumps, and particularly the zipperline is the most 3D skiing on the hill. GS paths seek to avoid or reduce the 3D aspect.
 

James

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You get down the bump field quicker. Assuming it meets standards.
I'm dubious that gs'ing will get you down faster but I could be wrong.
 

dbostedo

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....As a start, for an objective metric, count turn frequency like I described in my other post. Turn frequency is 100% objective. If someone can achieve the same turn frequency as Nelson Carmichael in many of his modern videos, if they're turning on every bump without impact, and they're still not a convert to comp technique, then I'd take them very seriously (proven with video or in person).
Good post but it raises a question - are you saying that a higher turn frequency is inherently a better way to ski? Or just that it takes more skill? (And just FYI, I'm just learning how to ski bumps... so I'm curious.)
 

geepers

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I think @James is right - quickest way to exit a mogul field.

Which is objectively useful if you don't want to be there. (When sideways exit is not possible.)

Of course there's also the opportunity to become famous and make squillions in prizes and endorsements. (There are some technical mogul skiing comps but those opportunities appear to be limited.) Probably not much chance of $$s unless you began training as a youngster and can be one of the best in world. And unlike golf, tennis (and some other sports) there doesn't seem to be much in the way of seniors moguls comps - at least not if youtube postings are a valid survey method.
 

jack97

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to answer the OP, skiing in a narrow corridor. In NE, most natural trails are narrow in width and gets bumped up. And tight glades get packed down so its easier to follow a line.
 

jzmtl

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Not many places in the east have mogul field that's wide enough for GS turns, the few survivors from resorts' war on moguls are only 2 to 5 bumps wide.
 

skier

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Good post but it raises a question - are you saying that a higher turn frequency is inherently a better way to ski? Or just that it takes more skill? (And just FYI, I'm just learning how to ski bumps... so I'm curious.)
"Better" is often not an easy thing to answer. A number of people got together, held competitions to decide who is better, and they decided that speed is part of the score for determining who skis better. That seems reasonable to me.
 

Freaq

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Objectively, why do we go skiing at all? It's cold, dangerous, expensive and a logistical hassle for most. I ski because it brings me a joy that I haven't found in any other endeavor. I ski bumps because it's a unique challenge and gaining the skills to do it fluidly opens the door to even more of that joy. To my mind the more skill you bring to the hill the more fun*. I sure don't view zipper line bump skiing as better than any other technique, just different.

Twenty years ago I stood on top of a huge bump field and my questions out numbered my answers by a long, long way. Now, at the top of the same run I see tons of options. Making big GS turns that span several bumps in each arc is fun! Skiing the bridges across the tops of multiple bumps is fun! Straight lining and just suckin' 'em up with your knees is fun! Finding a tracked out bump run the afternoon after a storm then only skiing the fluff that's been pushed to the side is fun! The slidy Taos style is fun! Picking my way through nasty, icy bumps while keeping a slow, steady pace is fun! Ripping a zipper line is fun! For me the most fun is using a bunch of these techniques/tactics in the same run.

GGGGGSSSSSSSGGGGGSSSSSGGGGGSSSS, zip, zip, zip, zip, zip, get some air and blow up some piles, WooooooHooooo!

Perhaps this answer us full of subjectivity. But maybe it's objectively better to have more options at your disposal while skiing challenging terrain.


*Thanks to @Erik Timmerman for making this point clear to me on epicski many years ago.
 

dbostedo

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"Better" is often not an easy thing to answer. A number of people got together, held competitions to decide who is better, and they decided that speed is part of the score for determining who skis better. That seems reasonable to me.
Thanks for the clarification. If you're competing, I'd agree. When not competing, I'm not sure that applies. I'm aspiring to learn bumps and be capable of skiing different ways... maybe I'll be able to make up my own mind. I know when watching it, smooth longer turns look more fun to me than fast zipperline - not sure why though; Probably because it more closely resembles what I'm used to. I do know that, given that I can stay in control and safe, I generally like going fast.

...the more skill you bring to the hill the more fun...maybe it's objectively better to have more options at your disposal while skiing challenging terrain.
Great post... I think it echo's my thinking, Though I'm several years worth of learning and practice behind you. :)
 
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