This shows Arlo Henderson edging on the backside of the bump with quiet upper body in the fall line, preparing for the next pole plant. Photo submitted

SKI TIPS: Ski moguls like an Olympian

Whitewater’s Dylan Henderson shows how to navigate the bumps

By Dylan Henderson

The Whitewater Ski Team enjoys the ski racing athletic process, but what the team really loves is just skiing. Powder skiing, park skiing, steep skiing, carving groomers, and yes even mogul skiing! This is the end of the ski season and I want to have some fun! Want to join me for some bump skiing for the last weekend at Whitewater. Bumps anyone? Anyone?

Are there any actual bump skiers out there anymore? Does anyone remember searching the mountain for that perfect zipper bump line? Without bump skiers, those lines don’t seem to exist anymore. It doesn’t snow every day, even at Whitewater, so if we want to ski steep lines then we do end up in the moguls whether we like them or not. The key to enjoying the bumps is all attitude and it helps to be a little bit insane. Think 80’s hot doggin’ in big spring bumps, stretch pants and T-shirts, sunglasses and wild hair.

When we think of mogul skiing these days we generally picture Olympic athletes in plain white suits knees pumping flawlessly down perfect man-made bump lines. This skiing looks boring, but there is a lot going on with their skiing that we can steal to make our own skiing way more awesome!

Arm and upper-body position is super important, with arms bent at 45 degrees creating a box shape in front of you. Wrists need to be moving, pointing forward to the pole plant with a quick tick, and pointing behind you after as you drive through. Spine should be upright from tail bone up to your head to allow absorption to be done with lower body. A quieter upper body in the fall line allows for wilder moves from the waist down!

With our natural bumps you will need to choose a variety of line, turning over the tops, on the backsides, and in the troughs while still keep your upper body in the fall line. Always plant your poles on the high spots to control speed and find rhythm as you shake and bake your way down. It is way more fun to press on the outside ski and edge with ankles and knees on the backsides of the bumps than just slide into the troughs all the time with no rhythm. There is no “carving” in the bumps but that doesn’t mean there isn’t edging and action packed ski performance.

Bump runs have the most uneven terrain that we encounter so the most important tip for bump skiing is in the absorption. When you bend your knees to absorb, bring your bindings up toward your bum and let your ski tips drop down. This move keeps the bump from turning into a jump and allows your body to always move forward with skis on the snow and more in control.

Now let ‘er rip, ski faster in the bumps, and show some of your wild style!

See you next ski season!

Dylan Henderson is the head coach of the Whitewater Ski Team. He is a certified Development Level coach with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and a Level 1 ski instructor with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association. Henderson was also named 2017’s top ski coach by B.C. Alpine.

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