why bump skiers rule

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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Ryan » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:51 am

Thanks a lot for the thoughts guys. I'll tow the PSIA line in front of my boss and during exams but on my own and in my bump classes with the right groups.... well..... That will speak for itself.

Funny thing is that my boss is also one of the higher ups in PSIA..... thing is though I've seen him bump skiing when he is out on his own and he RIPS!!!!! Knees together and all. He competed semi-pro about 10 years ago.
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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Dan DiPiro » Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:56 am

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?

-Dan
"Everything the Instructors Never Told You About Mogul Skiing"
A how-to book by Dan DiPiro

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http://www.mogulskiing.blogspot.com
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby JimG. » Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:15 am

Ryan wrote:Funny thing is that my boss is also one of the higher ups in PSIA..... thing is though I've seen him bump skiing when he is out on his own and he RIPS!!!!! Knees together and all. He competed semi-pro about 10 years ago.


Have you ever discussed this topic with your boss? Take the bull by the horns and buy him a beer, then strike up a conversation about bump skiing. Bring up some of these topics and ask him what he thinks.

We all might be surprised by what he says.
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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby salida » Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:30 am

Awesome discussion guys! Having never taken a bump lesson, I have always just watched, and tried to replicate what the "good" bumpers were doing. I guess how successful I am would be up to your interpretation, however, it feels to me like I'm doing it right.

I do have one question... Any advice for bumps on tele's? I skied a coulpe days on them last year, but didn't get a lot of time in the bumps, and have a new tele setup this year? Any words of wisdom???

-Porter
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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Jonny D » Wed Nov 16, 2005 11:55 am

I think i learned more in 20 minutes reading this thread that in 20 years of skiing bumps and feeling like my spinal column might come out my ears.

Now to wait for some snow and put this to practice
Relax... I'm a Physicist. I do this all the time....
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Ryan » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:14 pm

JimG. wrote:
Have you ever discussed this topic with your boss? Take the bull by the horns and buy him a beer, then strike up a conversation about bump skiing. Bring up some of these topics and ask him what he thinks.

We all might be surprised by what he says.



Jim this is a great idea. I have sat with him and had a beer a time or two... I also ran into him last November up at K (he was there for eastern division workshop and I was there to get a start on the season)
At any rate I think I'll print out this whole thread and drop it in his desk.
Man I love a discussion like this in here.... IMHO it is the whole point of the board aside from snow reports.
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby JimG. » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:18 pm

Ryan wrote:At any rate I think I'll print out this whole thread and drop it in his desk.


Good idea...if he starts gagging when he reads it you can improvise and blame us :lol: .
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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Ryan » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:26 pm

HA!!!! :lol:

He just may... then again he may not. I'm not saying that anyone is going to change the direction of PSIA on their own but even getting 1 person on the steering committee to start looking at things with a wider scope could do nothing but benefit the organization. Generally I believe in PSIA and the core concepts. It has made a MASSIVE difference for the better in my skiing over the last few years. So for that I feel that it serves as a positive force for the development of skiing.
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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby jsul185 » Wed Nov 16, 2005 12:33 pm

Great discussion, I recently purchased Dan Dipro's book and it is a must read for any wanna be bump skier like myself. I also learned alot from this thread alone. I hope we can keep up the discuss as the season gets under way.
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby JimG. » Wed Nov 16, 2005 1:42 pm

jsul185 wrote:Great discussion, I recently purchased Dan Dipro's book and it is a must read for any wanna be bump skier like myself. I also learned alot from this thread alone. I hope we can keep up the discuss as the season gets under way.


I'm glad you're enjoying it...I know you had your doubts. Bring your friends over and add to the conversation.
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Dan DiPiro » Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:08 pm

Ryan wrote: Funny thing is that my boss is also one of the higher ups in PSIA..... thing is though I've seen him bump skiing when he is out on his own and he RIPS!!!!! Knees together and all. He competed semi-pro about 10 years ago.


Ryan,

Among PSIA folks and even among some USST folks (I hear they're sharing office space or something in Park City these days, trying to unify their philosophies and teachings), there's huge pressure to assimilate mogul-skiing instruction and coaching into the mainstream model of "proper" skiing, a model based on alpine racing.

Some good bump skiers who get deeply involved with the instructing or coaching associations, perhaps like your boss, are pressured into de-emphasizing or ignoring what they know to be true about bump skiing and good bump-skiing instruction, for the sake of the accepted, mainstream skiing model.

Politics and mainstream biases have kept pure, genuine mogul-skiing instruction out of the mainstream for years now. That's what you'll be up against when you present these ideas to your boss. Better buy him more than one beer before you dig into this stuff.

-Dan
"Everything the Instructors Never Told You About Mogul Skiing"
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re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Ryan » Thu Nov 17, 2005 12:20 pm

Dan it seems like quite a bit to bite then..... Far more than I ever really realized. If there are those in PSIA that are being pressured to accept the form of bump skiing and there are even some in PSIA that livd it for a large part of their skiing development, WHY is there so much resistance to it?


Here is a similar one that I found funny. I was in my usual weekly clinic one week last year and the topic was tree skiing. I had a Division Clinic Leader who works with us (he is on the local ski school as his base resort) tell the entire class that "in the trees anything goes. This includes changed stances and or anything else you need." He then took off down hill through the glade and about 4 trees in he was moving left to right across the hill and stuck out his arm, hooked a tree, and did about a 140 degree turn on the spot. Then he just kept going on down the run as if nothing had happened. I don't think he did that to say hooking trees is the best turn, he did it to make a point and get some people out of trying to ski trees like they would on a groomer.
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby JimG. » Thu Nov 17, 2005 2:15 pm

Dan DiPiro wrote:Better buy him more than one beer before you dig into this stuff.

-Dan


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: !
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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby Dan DiPiro » Fri Nov 18, 2005 7:27 am

Ryan wrote: WHY is there so much resistance to it?

....he did it to make a point and get some people out of trying to ski trees like they would on a groomer.


Why the instructing establishment's resistance to mogul technique? Here's my take on it:

About 35 years ago (before modern mogul techniques existed), racers, racing coaches and instructors all agreed that the racer's carved turn was, essentially, the key to all good skiing. Instructors built their whole understanding of downhill skiing excellence, and all of their own personal skiing skills, around this premise. (See the 1972 Witherell book, "How the Racers Ski.")

As you suggest, there's plenty that is good and useful about this racing-based understanding of downhill skiing. However, over the last 20 or so years, a big segment of downhill skiing has moved off of the racer's ordinary groomed trail and into the bumps, into the trees, onto extreme backcountry steeps/powder, into terrain parks. And there are now newer techniques to handle all of these different types of skiing. Techniques that are, on these different skiing surfaces, superior to plain old racing-based techniques.

The traditional instructor is an expert at the old, tried-and-true, one-size-fits-all, racing-based model of downhill skiing. He/she is, understandably, reluctant to admit that downhill skiing is now much more complex and varied than his/her old model suggests, and reluctant to admit that his/her expertise is very limited. This would be a painful admission, followed by a painful, back-to-the-drawing-board learning process.

About your second point... the tree-skiing clinician.... Yes, there are always a few instructors willing to venture off into the new and different. And that's a good thing.

Thoughts?

-Dan
"Everything the Instructors Never Told You About Mogul Skiing"
A how-to book by Dan DiPiro

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Re: re: why bump skiers rule

Postby JimG. » Fri Nov 18, 2005 8:11 am

Dan DiPiro wrote:The traditional instructor is an expert at the old, tried-and-true, one-size-fits-all, racing-based model of downhill skiing. He/she is, understandably, reluctant to admit that downhill skiing is now much more complex and varied than his/her old model suggests, and reluctant to admit that his/her expertise is very limited. This would be a painful admission, followed by a painful, back-to-the-drawing-board learning process.

About your second point... the tree-skiing clinician.... Yes, there are always a few instructors willing to venture off into the new and different. And that's a good thing.

Thoughts?

-Dan


The admission of the need for remedial learning by the teaching establishment is only one part of the problem...what about all those lessons taught in the past using the older model? What does the instructor say to the student he/she taught last season using groomed trail techniques and who now needs to learn new techniques and unlearn old teaching? A complex problem indeed, but one that will only deteriorate as time passes.

Change is tough for anyone...I certainly understand that. Admission of the need for change is the toughest part. We don't seem to be at the point yet where PSIA is willing to admit the need.

The good thing is that there are pockets of instructors in the organization who are willing to be open minded. I had a similar experience to Ryan. I took a re-up clinic last season at MRG...trees and steeps. We had an examiner and a guide from MRG. Perfect conditions, it snowed the entire 2 day period the clinic took place. I was worried we would be standing around talking alot; alot of instructors seem to be fascinated hearing themselves speak. That didn't happen. In fact, our examiner said very little the whole time. The focus became rhythm and smooth skiing, and skiing as much as possible. The group was tight and everyone skiied amazingly well.

It was the best PSIA clinic I've ever taken. So good I'm signing up again this season. At the end, I asked our examiner why she was so quiet. Her response was that she immediately realized that the everyone in the group was an excellent skier and that the conditions were so outstanding that it would have been a waste to stand around and waste time talking.

WOW :shock: !
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