Moguls Skiing
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Moguls Skiing

Mogul skiing is a type of skiing which involves skiing through large bumps and mounds on a ski piste. These mounds can wither be man-made or develop naturally. Mogul skiing involves very fast turning and excellent skiing technique to ski properly down moguls.

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What Does Mogul mean in skiing?

In skiing, when you hear a fellow skier talk about moguls, what they are referring to is a ski run with large mounds of snow on it. By mounds of snow, I don’t mean a little bit of powder snow that has been pushed into clumps which can easily be skied through or scraped away, they are much more significant than that, and can end up getting dauntingly big if the snow conditions are good. Moguls are formed by skiers continuously turning around the same spot and brushing the snow into the same places on the slope.

What Is a Mogul in skiing?

When you hear the word mogul on a ski holiday, you would be right in asking yourself what are moguls. Moguls are proper, large spherical domes of compacted snow, which can be anywhere from 20cm tall (small moguls) up to ½ metre tall. Try and ski through one of these moguls and you will find yourself sailing through the air with your skis pointing in both directions, waiting for the crash somewhere further down the slope. They look just like big bumps in the snow. How to ski bumps is a technique of its own, which requires a lot of knee bending and leg extensions.

Moguls in skiing are feared by many, however the only way to get good at something is to practise. As I said above there will be a huge variation of mogul fields on the ski resort which will come and go throughout your trip, some of them much larger than others. If you can find yourself a ski slope with smaller moguls on it to practise on, not only will you be able to progress to larger moguls after a while, but practising your mogul skiing is a good way of improving your technique all round because it forces you have sharp, precise turns around each mogul which you can then transfer to skiing normally on a fully pisted ski slope.

How are moguls made?

What causes ski moguls? This is a reasonable question considering how odd they look and that they appear seemingly randomly across ski resorts. It is not uncommon for mogul fields (sorry if this sounds a bit ominous or threatening, but this is just what they can be referred to!) to pop up all over the ski resort after a few days of heavy snow. As the blanket of snow on the mountains thickens and more and more skiers and snowboarders glide their way through the fresh powder, mounds of snow will inevitably form on the pistes where skiers and snowboarders have turned and shifted the snow. Provided the temperature stays cold (less than -5°C for example, though the colder the temperature is, the longer the fresh snow will last for and feel powdery) this snow will be easily skied through, however once it stops snowing and the temperature drops close to 0°C, these fresh mounds of soft snow will turn to hard compacted mounds of snow, and these are what we call moguls! The more skiers and snowboarders (you wont see many snowboarders trying moguls, snowboarding does not lend itself to quick enough turns to be able to tackle moguls! - one of the reasons skiing is better than snowboarding in my opinion!)

You will also notice moguls forming at the side of some pistes as the day wears on. This is simply due to one skier after another following each others turns in the snow, and the spray from their turns is what ends up creating these mounds of snow. Constant freezing and thawing contributes to the formation of moguls.


Ski moguls

How do you ski moguls for beginners? Moguls and beginner skiers are two words that do not often fit into the same sentence. As I have mentioned above, skiing on slopes with small moguls on them is a great way of improving technique and learning how to ski moguls, however I would not advise a beginner skier to attempt to ski moguls seriously, as this could lead to you picking up a lot of speed and losing control very easily in the moguls, and end up causing serious injury. Skiing moguls requires a balance of skills, balance and excellent technique. Advanced skiers develop a technique to absorb the bump of each mogul with their legs, by bending their knees on impact with the mogul. If you find yourself in the middle of a sea of moguls and need to get to the bottom of the mountain, the best approach is to take things very slowly, and make sure you are always staying in control. Knowing how to ski moguls slowly is key for a beginner and will help to keep you safe in what is a difficult place to ski.

How Do You Keep Your Legs Together When Skiing?

Being able to keep your legs close together is key for skiing moguls will any sort of style or technique. If you ski moguls with your legs too far apart, you may find it difficult to weave your way around each of the moguls, and could find your skis going in different directions and losing control very quickly. There are a number of different things to focus on when trying to keep your legs closer together while skiing. While I am not a ski instructor, and no amount of internet research can possibly take the place of taking lessons with a professional ski instructor.

  • practise it on a normal groomed piste that is not too steep
  • Tense your core muscles. This will give you better stability and balance
  • Practise bending your knees on a gentle pisted slope
  • Practise spreading your weight across both skis on a gentle slope
  • Practise making controlled turns using your edges on a gentle slope
  • Practise using your ski poles while turning on a gentle slope

Best skis for moguls

The most important considerations to make when choosing skis for moguls are:

  • Length of skis
  • Flexibility of skis
  • Width of skis
  • Sidecut of skis
  • Weight of skis

For any sort of skiing that requires fast, precise turns, shorter skis are always going to come out on top. Skis on the shorter end of the range for your height and weight will serve you well when it comes to navigating moguls. With all the short and rapid turns you will be doing when skiing moguls, you will want skis which are flexible as well. This will help with the quick turns and weaving in between the moguls. Narrower skis will mean you can shift your balance from one edge of your skis to the other quicker and bounce between the moguls. Likewise a bigger sidecut and smaller turn radius will make turning easier and quicker with less effort needed. Lighter skis will mean shifting your balance from one side to the other as you complete each turn will be easier and quicker.

Some skis which I recommend for improving your mogul skiing, and to have fun skiing moguls for the reasons listed above are:

  • Dynastar Twister
  • Volkl Wall
  • Fischer Pro Mtn 86 Ti
  • K2 Mambas
  • Rossignol Mogul Pro

These skis are all light, easy to manoeuvre and quick turning for skiing through moguls.

How to snowboard moguls

Snowboarding moguls is difficult, there is no denying that. To snowboard successfully through moguls, you will want a flexible snowboard on the shorter side. As with skiing, keeping a low centre of gravity and bending your knees will help you manoeuvre your way in between the moguls, and help you stay agile. To get the best advice for how to snowboard through moguls you need to take lessons from a qualified snowboard instructor. This is the quickest and safest way to learn how to snowboard.

***Disclaimer*** I am in no way a snowboard or ski instructor, nor can I offer you professional advice. I am simply giving you some tips to improve your technique based on my experience. ***Disclaimer***