Have you ever attempted the challenge of skiing or riding down Heavenly’s famous mogul run, Gunbarrel? Think you might have room for a little improvement? To help you out, we asked our expert Ski School Instructor and PSIA National Alpine Team member, Robin, to give us her top 10 tips for skiing bumps.
1. Take a lesson. Bumps are not that complicated, but there are some tried and true techniques and tactics that will help you feel comfortable in the bumps.
2. Don’t expect every turn to feel perfect. Even the best skiers are making recoveries — it’s just a matter of how quickly we can make those recoveries and keep going.
3. Know how to make a crisp short turn that controls your speed vs. a short turn where you accelarate a bit more with each turn. Turn your legs so that your skis go across the hill to accomplish that.
4. Make round turns. Even with a short turn, here’s more space than you think to make a bigger, round turn. If you try to twist your skis too quickly, the tails can run smack, dab, into the bump on the side and send you careening.
5. Turn your legs and skis more than you turn your shoulders and upper body. Facing your opponent is the best way to keep an offensive attitude. If you turn away from the fall line with your upper body, the ensuing approach will be defensive.
6. Know how to use your ski poles and use them! Swing your pole forward as soon as possible and be prepared to stuff the pole tip into the bump.
7. Use a range of motion in your legs. Staying in a static position will increase the rate at which your legs fatigue and hinder your ability to move with the countours of the bumps.
8. Bumps come in different shapes and sizes. You’ll have to adjust your turn shape and size, and speed at which you move your feet, to accommodate those different shapes and sizes.
9. If the big bumps are kicking your butt, practice on smaller bumps. Sometimes the bumps on the sides of the runs can be the best for practicing. Give yourself a chance by not biting off more than you can chew.
10. Did I mention, take a lesson!
Think that you are now prepared to tackle the annual Gunbarrel 25 competition this spring? 25 laps on Gunbarrel before 4:00pm. Whoooow, my legs are burning just thinking about it! You have three months to prepare… Good luck.
~ Robin Barnes, Heavenly Ski and Ride School and PSIA National Alpine Team member