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Indoor Bumps Course - Which Smith, Phil or Warren?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
September course dates are up on websites now and I want to book a days mogul training for me and Jnr. I read this thread http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=132645 with interest last year and given that Castleford and Manchester are the least inconvenient domes for me to get to, the Warren Smith course seemed ideal.

However, last year when I mentioned this plan our excellent ski school instructor last year, he asked whether I'd considered Phil Smith's Snoworks courses. And lo and behold they're on at much the same times in much the same locations for much the same price. The instructor did talk at the time about differences in ethos and overarching principles and learning styles but not much of it sunk in.

I don't expect anyone to have done an indoor moguls course with both, although you never know; but could any of you maybe explain what differences we might see between the two?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
You'll see my comments on the original thread. Suffice to say I would consider doing the Warren Smith again this autumn, I think I would get lots more out of it.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I'm also wanting to do a bumps course, or maybe 2? I did a general WS course earlier this year, but felt that the pupil to instructor ratio (about 8:1) made it less helpful than I'd hoped. I presume it's the same instructor?
Then again, I can't even find times on the Snoworks website, and their e-mail is rejecting messages...
Maybe I'll sign up to do both...

Question: which is the better snowdome for a course, Chill Factore or Castleford?
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Grizzler wrote:
Question: which is the better snowdome for a course, Chill Factore or Castleford?


Whichever is nearest, honestly there's nothing to choose between them.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bumps...
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@Penry, I'm booking on the WS one (or 2). Timing suits me better.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
How do you turn on one bump? ...

As in, if you can’t turn on the first one...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Maybe I don't have to choose...

Warren is running moguls courses at Cas on 2nd Sept and Manchester on 6th&7th.
Phil is running the same at Cas on 2nd and Manchester on 7th.

So assuming a narrow strip of moguls down one side, it might be difficult to separate the groups.
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@Penry,
That'll be fun, then... Have you booked one?
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Penry wrote:
Maybe I don't have to choose...

Warren is running moguls courses at Cas on 2nd Sept and Manchester on 6th&7th.
Phil is running the same at Cas on 2nd and Manchester on 7th.

So assuming a narrow strip of moguls down one side, it might be difficult to separate the groups.


That sounds less than ideal! I did mine at Cas and we virtually the only people on the bumps all day, helped that no one else trashed them.
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Grizzler wrote:
@Penry,
That'll be fun, then... Have you booked one?
it'll have to be Cas on the 2nd. Still can't decide which Smith
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Penry wrote:
Still can't decide which Smith
For the avoidance of doubt, you won’t be taught be either Phil or Warren on these courses, but by one of their team.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Some musings about bumps and nothing to do with Snoworks vs WSSA.
Are indoor bumps particularly representative of actual mountain slope bumps anyway ?
If they make them early in the morning by just making little hills of snow, they are really not representative at all and for a couple of hours everyone struggles to get through them if possible. Particularly I'm moaning about Hemel's' try our bumps days... '
However, come late Tues evenings, after early 7am starts for early birds, there's really nice fluffy topped, icy/hard packed troughed, naturally rounded and spaced moguls of between 10 to 25 cm' s high. Yep, I've been enjoying practicing in those...still much to learn though. Biggest light bulb moment is remembering to stand up in the trough.
You have to be agile, quick footed and able to flex and extend quickly imv to master bumps, dolfin drills are bloody difficult to do so you really need to be an athlete if you intend to go straight down the hill and that's probably the easiest route IMO. Hey, they scare me actually, I still suck in truth. Work in progress, constant progress actually. rolling eyes
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You know it makes sense.
@rob@rar, No, I wasn't expecting the real thing. Although you never know; once we were at a wedding dinner at the Connaught and Gordon Ramsay himself popped out of the kitchen to greet the guests.

Being in the game yourself, have you got anything to say about differences in approach between the two schools?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Penry wrote:
Being in the game yourself, have you got anything to say about differences in approach between the two schools?
I've not been on the one-day moguls courses run by either company, although I've been working alongside some of their guys at Hemel when we have all been running moguls courses. To be honest, I don't think there is that much difference between what any of us do. It will be a mix of drills and exercises on the 'flat' side of the slope, with a mix of drills and exercises and plenty of practice on the moguls side of the slope. I don't think anyone has a 'secret sauce' for a one-day course which means their clients make much better progress, if there was we'd all borrow that idea and make it our own, and everyone is working with the same snow so there's not huge latitude for doing something completely different. With any teaching scenario a big factor is the quality of the teacher and how you get on with them, and I know most of the guys running these courses a little and they are all very good so I don't think there is any differentiating issue there.

My left field recommendation is to go with the venue that offers the best bumps. Manchester are very good at making bumps (I assume they put the same effort in to making bumps for public courses as they do for competitions there). I don't know about Cas, only skied there once and not on a moguls day, so perhaps others can comment on this.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Went with Snoworks in the end, Cas on 2nd as not a school day. Slightly shorter, slightly cheaper. Say hi if you're mogulling too, look out for a grumpy dad in bright orange trousers with a cheerful teen; or possibly a cheerful dad with a grumpy teen, depending on how we're doing.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
And I've gone for WS at Manchester, so we can compare notes & report back. Look out for someone possibly grumpy and grizzling (or grinning - depending on how I'm doing).
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
OK, so here's my report...

Got up at stupid o'clock to get to Xscape and kitted out by 9AM. Met Dave the instructor and the other members of the group; 5 of the other 6 had skied with Snoworks before. Got onto the slope to find it packed as there was a local club morning but moguls were newly formed and unblemished as the other punters couldn't get across to them without getting kneecapped by a stream of small children slaloming at speed. There was a complete lack of Warren Smiths so maybe the two organisations come to some arrangement, I meant to ask but forgot.

It's all about bend, turn, push we were told and then we spent an hour and a half or so doing a couple of laps each of a variety of exercises with the object of getting us to ski more dynamically below the waist, bending the inside leg to create or enable bigger angles. Also did a number of skidding exercises, controlling the direction of the skid by shifting weight fore and aft, even a quick go at braquage. I felt both jnr I significantly improved as skiers in this session alone.

Then onto moguls, crowds had gone and it was down then straight back up and do it again. Seriously knackering. Dave took some video footage and he pointed out defects areas for improvement over lunch while through the window we watched learner snowboarders quietly go about their business of wiping out random moguls. Back out after lunch to more testing conditions and more insight. In my case changing the direction my left hand was facing, solved a surprising number of issues. Although it was busy at times, especially early afternoon with long queues until they opened up the second lift, the whole group were pretty much done by the end of the session. My calves are still sore three days on.

To sum up, an excellent day, excellent instruction and just like @endoman, would do it all again next year.
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Considering this to try and cure my mogul fear before my next trip and get a bit of exercise in on the planks.

Any thoughts on what's the minimum level of skier it would actually be useful for, having experienced it?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@acrim, I think what's most important is that you're prepared to give it a real go. The indoor snow is so slow and the run so short that there is very little that can go wrong. In fact, on the first mogul run, a number of us stalled completely because we didn't carry enough speed to get up and over the next bump.

On the flip side you don't get many goes at the drills, 4/5 long turns x2, isn't a lot. So you get more out of it if you can nail what the instructor asks for pretty quickly, but none of them are very demanding for a reasonable intermediate.

But go for it, learning the bumps was good but what made the day excellent was that I felt I was already a noticeably improved skier before we got to them.
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Cheers for the advice. You’ve talked me into giving it a go. I’ll report back, if I live.
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I would not recommend Warren Smith courses for anyone not already fairly OK at and knowledgeable about the foot/ski and pole techniques required. More a performance or tune-up than for those with no or little experience; not good for those who need to take it a bit easy or want to spend time on specific aspects rather than blatting through every possible route through a mogul field.
Not saying that some people won't do fine and pick it up easily, or have the bottle to mess it up: but if you want something that breaks it down a lot more, teaches the basics and spends more time doing it, maybe consider another course. Indepth snowsports were at CF also yesterday (2 groups on 1 set of moguls plus snowboarders having fun = chaos, and wasn't encouraging for the timid!) and they do a course for beginners/intermediates to moguls as well as advanced moguls; I wish I'd done that one.
Just my personal experience, didn't work positively for me.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sorry to hear that @Grizzler. It's strange that WS required pre-knowledge; I thought that the WS entry levels were 1-6 whereas the SW entry level was 4. (I think the entry levels are similar for both these organisations, unlike other places which go a bit Nigel Tufnel Razz ).

I guess that you might have had the same issue with SW in that it was a case of sending us down the moguls and then tweaking once he'd watched us, I suppose it's difficult to practice mogul technique without a mogul. I didn't feel that there was any pressure to reach a certain level though, each skier was given advice on their own merits and it seemed as if everyone was enjoying it. I could be wrong. One of the reasons for going with SW was that my understanding was that they simplified the technical aspects which would make it more accessible for my son and me, and my reason for starting the thread was to find out if that was true before parting with my money. It sounds like maybe it was.
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@Penry, thanks.
It doesn't as such require pre knowledge but, compared to how you described your course, the run-through of required skills was pretty brief (or kind of non existent as none of it seemed new to me, nor specifically described in terms of applicability towards the techniques and movements required in a mogul field), and then it was a lot more about how to 'navigate' within the field - which was great if you could just do it with confidence. Unfortunately, whilst I was fine initially, something went a bit awry, and they were ploughing ahead with "now try this" and "now try this", whilst I needed to stop and get myself confident at the basic 'blinking heck, that was a mess, how can I improve my basic get through the damn things upright and with some semblance of control and technique' stage.
There were some good skiers on the course, at least coping better than I was, and some who were on their 10th course, apparently...
I feel that I needed lots more honing and perfecting of my basic skills before I was let loose in the bumps, and then a lot more just practicing in the field on a simple or shortened route with an instructor there to help me master the basics and point out where I was going wrong on a basic technical skiing level. I wasn't ready for the continual new information and routes which we were being asked to try, never mind understanding what he wanted us to try next. For whatever reason (effect of knee injury, tired or just a crap skier) I couldn't keep up and wasn't skiing well enough, but felt ever more pressured to improve and try new things, which just ended up in a spiral of 'I can't do it' frustration and more and worse uncontrolled skiing and then falling than I wanted my knees to experience.
Too much, too soon. Like I said, for some it'll work well. For me it was not right in several ways.
The In Depth course also running at the same time is, I think, described as a beginner to intermediate course, and they also advertise an advanced moguls one. I could see that they were taking things a lot more simply and slowly, and they looked like they were getting more personal attention and enjoying themselves more. I would certainly have been much better on an intro to moguls, beginner mogul skier or whatever course - albeit that I have done them ( not entirely successfully) before. Still, armed with a little more knowledge ( and some more fear now, sadly) I will seek out some moguls to play on indoors on my own and see if I can suss out what I was meant to be doing.
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@Penry, “ it was a case of sending us down the moguls and then tweaking”

Interesting.

Sounds back to front to me, as almost no-one I observe knows technically how to ski bumps efficiently and effectively.

If you don’t know what you are supposed to be doing, and thus aren’t getting close to it, no amount of tweaking will help.

Thus, Grizzlers post, perhaps?
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@under a new name, we did some exercises on the flat to prepare ourselves for what we were supposed to do. We had it explained that: bend, turn, push was going to become: retract, plant, turn, push. We had it demonstrated, and then we just got on with trying to do it.

What I meant by the tweaking comment was that there weren't any other instructions than that, apart from simple ones to get you to ski better. E.g. 'skis closer together' or bend from the knees down, don't sit back'. Or in my case in order to stop me flailing about like a drunk cowboy on a bucking bronco, 'elbow out'. But there weren't any additional mogul specific technical instructions halfway through.

In all probability there are loads of things to learn to become proficient if that's what I want to try to do but this was lesson 1 and as such, perfectly pitched at somone who needs things kept very simple.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Penry, hmmm.

Won’t comment having not witnessed Happy
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@under a new name, hmmm.

Not convinced you get the point of forums Smile
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You know it makes sense.
@Penry, still practising I am. wink
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@under a new name, I'm genuinely interested as to what you think the majority of people are doing wrong/inefficiently. I saw the video you posted (with audio Smile); I'm assuming it took a fair amount of study and practice to get to that level.
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@Penry, Oh lordy, If you are referring to my Leisse vid? I was younger. I think I'm a little more refined now but not probably as ski fit.

I don't know. The more I learn the more I know I have to learn. But I have spent something like (I'm guess-timating) 1,300 days skiing (which translates into what, 216 "holiday weeks"?), some more intensely than others (hic!), skied since 4 or 5, and did 3 seasons as a host (early 90s), consciously trying to improve. Plus lessons, coaching, etc.

My breakthrough on bumps was a very simple point from one of the best instructors I know, being, "how can you rut line many bumps if you don't know how to turn on one?" (I had previously admitted I had no real idea how to turn on one bump.

Being... skis together, turn on to the top, absorbing bump with legs, quiet upper body, edge set/check, pole plant with anticipation ("inside" arm extended in direction of rotation), allow skis and legs to self rotate/pivot on bump apex around, extend into "trough", continue.

But very few recreational skiers appear to do that, or at least, do it at all well.
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