How to Ski Moguls

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a skier skiing through a mogul field

Professional skiers have a way of making moguls look easy; with their knees locked together, these athletes speed downhill like their torsos are on springs. For us non-professionals, standing above a slope full of bumps can be a bit unnerving.

However, with a handful of tips and some practice, you too can cruise through mogul runs, and you might even look good doing so.

 

How to Ski Moguls

  • Maintain balance: Keep your hands in front of you, stay limber and focus on your pole plants.
  • Choose an easy line: The easiest way down a mogul field is to make your turns on top of the bumps.
  • Choose a fast line: For a speedier descent, you’ll ski around the moguls rather than on top of them.
 

Video: How to Ski Moguls

 

What are Moguls?

mogul field

Moguls are bumps that you’ll find on some groomed slopes at downhill ski areas. They can be constructed purposely by the ski area, but more often they form naturally as skiers carve turns down a slope. When skiers make sharp turns, their skis carve snow out and push a bit of it away from them each time. As more and more skiers follow the same line, the snow accumulates to form a large bump, called a mogul. Because skiers link turn after turn when going downhill, moguls tend to form in fields.

Every mogul has an uphill side and a downhill side as well as a relatively flat top. The scraped-off, often-icy area between the bumps is the trough.

 

Maintaining Balance While Skiing Moguls

a skier on moguls with their hands out in front for balance

One of the challenges when skiing moguls is how easily you can get knocked off balance while trying to navigate over and around the bumps.

 

How to Maintain Balance While Skiing Moguls

  • Keep your hands in front of you: Doing so helps with weight distribution and it will keep your body facing mostly downhill, which will help you maintain your momentum into the next mogul.
  • Stay limber: Be prepared to extend and flex your legs to keep your skis on the snow.
  • Pay attention to your poles: You'll almost always want to plant on the top of the bump, and your pole should get there before your feet do.

 

Skiing on Top of the Bumps

skier skiing on top of moguls

If you don’t have much experience with moguls, then standing at the top of a whole slope of them can be daunting. To find the easiest way down a mogul field, the key is to make your turns on top of the bumps.

 

How to Find an Easy Line Through Moguls

  • Pick your line: When you're at the top of a run trying to figure out how to get down, go for the line with the most consistently sized and spaced moguls.
  • Aim high: Ski up to the highest point on the mogul, plant your pole, and use the slope to slow yourself down a bit—it will almost feel like a hockey stop.
  • Twist to turn: Then twist your skis to make your turn around your pole, and slide down the back of the bump. Pivoting your skis should be pretty easy because your tips and tails will be off the snow.
  • Look ahead: Remember to keep your eyes up and looking ahead to the next mogul so you can get in position.

 

Skiing Around the Bumps

skiing around moguls

When you're comfortable turning around the top of the moguls and you're looking for a speedier way down, you can try turning on the outside of the trough. On this path, you're going to ski around the mogul rather than sliding into it.

 

How to Find a Fast Line Through Moguls

  • Stay outside: As you approach the bump, make a turn on the outside of the trough. Aim to crest your turn on the uphill slope of the next mogul over. You can almost treat that slope like a banked track where you’re using the bank to help you turn.
  • Cross the trough: Then you’ll cross the trough and crest your next turn on the other side. You'll find that there’s room for a bigger turn than you may think.
  • Keep your eyes up: Remember to look ahead to the next turn.

 

 

Related Articles

How to Carve Turns on Skis

How to Hop Turn on Skis

How to Pole Plant While Skiing


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Contributing Experts

Robin Barnes

Professional Ski Instructors of America National Alpine Team member, Robin Barnes, has been teaching skiing since 1990. In her pursuit of powder, she enjoys two winters each year: one in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., the other in Portillo, Chile.