Wow. Great conversation, here. Love it!
Ryan, thanks for giving my book a try, and I hope you like it. Yes, it's available at LearnMoguls.com, Amazon.com, and everywhere new books are sold. And thanks, Jim, for your strong recommendation.
A few ideas:
1. Joe, when I teach mogul fundamentals, I don't talk about left-ski-right-ski weight distribution. And this is deliberate. At a specialized mogul camp, like the Smart camp you attend, such a discussion could be of use. For a skier who has never heard of absorption and extension, however, there's a much bigger, more fundamental, lesson to be learned. You can't assign percentages to weight distribution during extension, if the student doesn't even know what extension is, how it works or why it's important.
Also, I find that most groomed-trail experts come to mogul skiing with ideas about left-ski-right-ski weight distribution... ideas that work just fine, once I put the absorption and extension piece into place for them. The weight distribution thing comes naturally, organically, for most of my students, without explicit discussion, and so I usually address it within other stuff that I state explicitly.
By the way, "stacking" (shoulders over hips over feet) is about overall body posture, and this is, strictly speaking, independent of left-ski-right-ski weight distribution.
2. About skiing the zipperline... When my students make the dramatic shift from groomed-trail technique (control comes mainly from edging) to mogul technique (control comes from both edging AND absorption/extension) skiing the zipper line suddenly makes sense.
On a groomed trail, you gain purchase on the snow -- you maintain control -- primarily with your edges. In the zipperline, this isn't really possible. In the zipper line, mogul skiers ski a flatter ski. They still edge, but they also gain purchase on the snow -- maintain speed-control and balance -- through absorption and extension, through moving their skis up and down so that the skis follow the contour of the snow.
When the aspiring bumper learns to let go of that edge-control he has grown to love so much on groomed trails, and learns to control his descent with absorption and extension, zipperline skiing suddenly becomes very doable, very understandable, and, most importantly, a lot of fun. Unless, you've made this technical shift, however, unless you learn the right technique for the zipper line, the zipper line will remain a distant, formidable foe.
3. I don't think the words "topping bumps" necessarily mean bad mogul skiing. Good bumpers will often allow their skis to leave the snow between bumps. So, you could argue that they're skiing from bump to bump... "topping bumps." The problem with the words "toppping bumps" is that they suggest that bumpers simply ricochet from bump top to bump top with only a daredevil streak as their main technique. What the uneducated viewer usually doesn't see is the dramatic absorption and extension that gives the bumper control, even when he takes a high line and lets his skis leave the snow between bumps, over the troughs.
4. It's really difficult to discuss this stuff effectively, because we use so many relative terms and have to guess what a single term means to a lot of different people. Joe, when you say, for example, "Jean Luc's big, angulated turns" you're not talking about even half the angulation that alpine racers and other groomed-trail devotees are talking about when they talk about dramatic angulation. (Think of Bode with his hip three inches off the ground in a turn.)
5. And, finally, THE WAY THE WORLD CUPPERS DO IT. Yeah, Jim, I, too, feel so strongly about this. It amazes me that the instructing establishment, and all of mainstream skiing, are so reluctant to admit, simply, that the best mogul competitors in the world are the best mogul skiers in the world, and that, if we want to learn to ski moguls well, we need to study the way these people ski.
It's simple and logical: over years and years of World Cup competition, mogul competitors and coaches have identified and refined the techniques that move skiers through the bumps with maximum smoothness, efficiency and control (and speed, if you like), and with minimal effort and minimal punishment to your body. Why not learn from the World Cuppers' experience, study their techniques and use these techniques to ski moguls well? What could be more simple and logical?