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BUMPS - Help!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am not a good bump skier. I can get down most things (eventually), but there is no way it is as elegant as it should be - especially on the steep stuff.

I am determined to get them cracked this holiday.

I've looked at a few tutorials online, but it would be great to get tips from fellow snowheads on things to focus on in terms of drills etc... or other ideas to help. Someone suggested that I should get shorter skis, or even try some semi-park skis like the K2 Shreditor, to help me practice technique without having to fight my skis also. I have absolutely zero park experience, so is this a step too far?

Thoughts most welcome!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Stick with what ever skis you have, plant your pole on the top of the bump and turn around the back of it. With the tip and tail off the snow I.e. when their sticking out from the bump there's only a short section of ski in contact with the snow so their easy to turn. Look ahead and plan your route through the mogals as you go. It also helps if your quite fit.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I've had this as a goal for the last few years but not tried too hard TBH .. I can ski most bumped up slopes but after day 2 or 3 on a weeks trip to France my legs aren't up for the challenge .. you might find this book helpful

http://www.amazon.com/Everything-Instructors-Never-About-Skiing/dp/142086159X?tag=amz07b-21

In theory mogul skiing isn't that difficult and one recurring theme is to never sit back .. once you're in the back seat you're toast .. in the book Dan talks about the need to constantly extend your legs in the troughs in preparation for absorbing the next bump .. pistoning I think he calls it .. if you can keep that up then you can control your speed which is key. There are many other tips in the book but I can't remember them all .. will have to dig it out again before Feb 1/2 term.
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@Pynch, can you turn on one bump?

I'll revert tomorrow from a proper keyboard
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Pynch, Practice short turns in a narrow corridor on non bumped ground. You can then move to using very lightly bumped snow mounds on piste, as easy practice bumps. Using the ridge that runs down the side of a piste can also be a good training aid, making a turn in each side.

Build up slowly.
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What @OwenM says. When it's steep, bumps are your friend. If you use them properly, it's much easier (albeit much more tiring) to ski down a steep bump slope than a steep smooth slope.

The first trick is to use the bump to turn. Bumps are rarely symmetrical; they normally have a tail that extends up the hill like a miniature mountain ridge. Use that ridge to help you turn - when you're on the top of it, only a tiny part of your skis are in contact with the mountain, so turning is really easy unless you allow the sudden deceleration to knock you back as you ascend the ridge.

The second trick is to use the bumps to slow you down. When you turn sharply just uphill from a bump, you'll swing back around below that same bump. By definition, that's just uphill from next bump on the mountain, so, after some nifty acceleration, you'll land on a fairly flat piece of ground. Provided you're fairly fit, you can use the flat ground to scrub off as much or as little speed as you want before you immediately turn around the next bump.

The final trick is to avoid window shopping for good bumps. If you start traversing across the slope looking for the perfect bump for your next turn, you'll knock yourself off balance and probably shoot off the side of the piste. The best bump is always the bump immediately in front of you. Traversing should only be used if you genuinely need to get to the other side of the trail, perhaps to overtake some slower skiers.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I think what Jonny Jones has described is maybe correct, but fairly advanced.
Quote:

it's much easier (albeit much more tiring) to ski down a steep bump slope than a steep smooth slope.

This is possibly true for an expert skier but I can't say I agree with that in general (I am reasonably competent, spend a lot of time off-piste, maybe an advanced skier, but wouldn't consider myself an expert). For me, skiing a steep bumps run (e.g. swiss wall or similar) is just about the toughest skiing acessible to most recreational skiers (who aren't using a mountain guide). The reason being that you pick up more speed on a steep bumps run than a flatter bumps run, and the difficulty in skiing bumps in the fall line is mainly controlling speed. Also it's more difficult if there are bumps than without bumps since your turns are dictated by the bumps, as opposed to the same gradient slope without the bumps where you can turn with more freedom/when you want. To say it's easier but more tiring seems like a contradiction in terms slightly.
But getting onto the main issue, you mentioned you have looked at online tutorials, does that include some of Elate Media/Darren Turner's videos (no affiliation I promise!)? They seem very informative and accessible, especially if you are an intermediate (guessing given the wording in your post)
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I should be on my way home now but sitting here at my desk watching bump skiing videos .. WRT speed control this Jonny Moseley video makes an interesting point about skiing steep bumps and getting the new down hill ski on the snow early ..


http://youtube.com/v/Haapw236GC8
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alex99 wrote:
I think what Jonny Jones has described is maybe correct, but fairly advanced.
Quote:

it's much easier (albeit much more tiring) to ski down a steep bump slope than a steep smooth slope.

This is possibly true for an expert skier but I can't say I agree with that in general...

I wasn't being facetious with that comment about bumps making a slope easier, and I think that all of my family would agree. We're certainly not experts, although we can eventually get down most slopes.

Once a slope reaches maybe 40 degrees, it will almost always be hard packed and highly polished if it's groomed. Due to the pitch, new snow finds it hard to adhere to the underlying hardpack, and, despite the best efforts of the groomers, the slope will invariably be intimidatingly icy by late morning - unless it catches the sun, which means it'll set like a rock the next day. Skiing a slope like that under control takes some strong technical skills - edging and posture are critical unless you plan to point down the fall line and barrel through to a flatter place.

I'd argue that bumps place much fewer demands on your basic technique. Sure, you have to avoid getting into the back seat. But, once you learn where to turn and how to use the bumps to slow you down, you can actually ski bumps with a great deal of control even if your edging, posture, balance and turn initiation are pretty mediocre.

Personally, I'm certainly far safer and in better control in a bump field than an ice field.
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Being a pretty awful bumps skier I would hesitate to give any advice / tips but one thing I have found helps a lot is look for the next bump after the one you about to turn on. This is probably slightly behind you, looking round for it tends to get your shoulders more facing down the fall line and makes weight transfer easier to the outside ski and stops the pole plant in front of you which tends to block you from making a decent turn.
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Jonny Jones wrote:

Once a slope reaches maybe 40 degrees, it will almost always be hard packed and highly polished if it's groomed.


Where do you find a groomed 40degree slope?
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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.
Scraping down a very icy Face Olympique in Val a couple of weeks ago with 112 underfoot I would have really appreciated some bumps
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Thanks for all the responses - definitely food for thought.

Quote:

Stick with what ever skis you have


I don't actually own skis (sorry this wasn't clear at all). However, my ski preference has always been for fairly long, stiff, fast skis. This came from some advice I got after a private lesson a few years back, which has certainly worked in general terms for my skiing. However, I hadn't thought of it as part of the issue I may be having with moguls until now. I'm 6ft and tend towards a ski of about 180cm or so - would a shorter ski benefit me, or just adversely affect my skiing elsewhere?

Quote:

after day 2 or 3 on a weeks trip to France my legs aren't up for the challenge


I would like to think that this is definitely part of the problem - I don't get to go skiing as much as I would like. By the time it feels like I should be doing better because I have been practising, I am too tired to do it well and then have to wait until I can get away again, which is probably the next year. However, it isn't my only issue either. I am certain that it hasn't 'clicked' yet as well as me being tired.

Quote:

can you turn on one bump?


I can, but linking these turns at anything other than a snails pace on steeper slopes is something I find very tough.

Quote:

Practice short turns in a narrow corridor on non bumped ground.


Thanks, I will definitely try this. It was watching some vids of the Vancouver 2010 moguls that I decided I should really pull my finger out and try and get a bit better. After watching for a bit, it looked like they were essentially doing quick, short turns (which I can - generally - do on the flat) and this spurred me to have a real goal this year to get moguls to some degree of decency into my repertoire.


@Jonny Jones, thanks - that all does sound sensible - but putting it into practice may be another problem! I agree that on a very icy steep slope, bumps do help if speed control is an issue, but on a slope that is steep and essentially made of moguls I have watched many others glide by whilst I get stuck doing what feels like a three point turn to get to any reasonable ground at all..!

Quote:

does that include some of Elate Media/Darren Turner's videos


Yes - I have come across these a few times, and recommended a number of them to friends myself! The moguls one is very useful, and I do feel as though I am getting the first unweighting part right. However, I find myself struggling to link turns and the different techniques together gracefully - especially on steeper slopes, but even on some shallower ones too.

It may just be that the only way forward is to really put my nose to the grindstone this year and try and get some real progress early in the week before I get tired.

Thanks for all the comments people... do keep them coming.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
adithorp wrote:
Jonny Jones wrote:

Once a slope reaches maybe 40 degrees, it will almost always be hard packed and highly polished if it's groomed.


Where do you find a groomed 40degree slope?

Very rarely over a sustained distance - although some runs claim to be that steep - but shorter pitches aren't too uncommon, for example on the inside line of a corner or on the drop-in after a cat track crosses a black run. In fairness, I probably overstated the steepness issue - hard pack tends to become a real problem at gentler angles, too.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@Jonny Jones, you've change what you said from to skiing a bumped slope vs a non-bumped slope to skiing a bumped slope vs an icey slope. I fully agree that bumps are easier than an equally steep icey slope. However snow conditions and steepness being equal, I (and I'm pretty sure most others) will find the bumped slope more tricky. As you say, like for like it's more tiring skiing bumps which in my book equates to being less easy.

@Pynch, skiing bumps is in some ways similar to skiing powder. i.e. keep skis closer together and absorb and extend.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@alex99, clarified, not changed Madeye-Smiley . Decent snow on steep groomers is so rare that I regard it with the same level of disbelief as unicorn sightings. This picture illustrates what I have in mind.


It's Cheyenne Bowl in Jackson Hole: not enormously steep, but definitely not a green run. You have three choices: the bowl itself to the right of the photo; Wally World through the trees; and Bivouac, the steep groomer to the left of the photo.

The snow in Cheyenne Bowl is to die for: huge bumps covered with soft powder. If you get out of shape, you just stop on the next bump. The powder helps you to control your speed. Sure, it's steep, but, with a bit of care, a decent intermediate can have a ball here. It's hard to avoid grinning from ear to ear as you work down the slope.

Wally World through the trees is trickier, I'll admit. The trees exaggerate the size of the bumps and, although the snow is normally superb, you have to be confident that you can turn where the mountain demands that you turn. That's not always easy, and some individual turns are fearsomely steep.

But Bivouac, the groomer, is my bete noir. I hate it. If you fall, you slide all the way to the bottom - I've seen it many times, although, fortunately, it's never happened to me. The centre of the run offers no grip at all unless you edge like a downhill skier. Particularly in the afternoon, I find that I'm forced into the bumps at the side of the run in desperate search for something for my skis to push against.

In my view, the bumps definitely make the bowl itself the route that most flatters an inexpert skier like me.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Pynch, to return to your question, one good place to get started is with the bumps that begin to emerge on busy groomers at the end of a day. It's quite common to find that a long ridge has built up running down the middle of the slope. Try zig-zagging across that ridge, using it as the point where you initiate your turns. When your skis start to feel light, change edges and you'll soon start to get the feeling of adapting your skiing to the undulating terrain.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Quote:

I can, but linking these turns at anything other than a snails pace on steeper slopes is something I find very tough.


A snails pace is good. I'm serious.

The challenge in skiing bumps is speed control. If you go too fast then the you are asking a lot of your absorption skills. You will probably get bounced off the next bump and lose control with each subsequent impact!

The difficulty in speed control is that you only have certain periods when you have the right kind of snow contact to shed speed (in the extreme, you are not going to be able to edge when you are unweighted or even airbourne!).

To my mind, much more important than turning is the action of flexing and extending to absorb impacts and maximise the time in which you are able to apply edges to control speed. Get that right and turning will be easy.

Quote:

getting the new down hill ski on the snow early


is part of this. You need to flex to absorb the bump then quickly extend your legs into the next trough as you ride over it. By extending you can scrub speed on the backside of the bump as well as ready yourself for the next compression (think about maximising the travel in your "suspension").

A good drill for this is to traverse a bump field without turning, extending and flexing to keep your upper body as still as possible.

When it comes to turning there are multiple lines you can take but to tie in with getting the extending and flexing right I think it makes sense to start by turning on the bump around the point of maximum flex/compression.

This is technique that was much more widely used with old school skinny skis (on flat pistes as well as bumps) and is effectively a down-unweighted turn. As you compress the weight comes off your skis and you can pivot them easily, particularly (as others have said) you have a relatively small ski contact area on the bump. You can now extend so the new inside edge scrubs down the back of the bump.

As you get better at it, you can gradually let your skis run and go a bit faster but a good bump skier is someone who can ski the zip line as slowly as they like.

I don't agree with this

Quote:

The best bump is always the bump immediately in front of you. Traversing should only be used if you genuinely need to get to the other side of the trail, perhaps to overtake some slower skiers.


Personally I do try to ski the fall line / zip line most of the time but I do that for the challenge not because it is easier. I'd argue it makes sense to turn every 2-3 bumps giving you a little more time to get your composure and, yes, choose a friendlier bump to work with. The best bump is certainly not necessarily the one in front. Indeed good bump skiers, skiing the fall line
sometimes skip a nasty looking bump by popping over it. That's an expert technique though.

A final comment - I tend to the view that bump skiing is hard compared to groomed piste skiing. Certainly there are times when better snow on a bump run is easier than polished hardpack on a steep groomer but as a general rule most recreational skiers find bumps a challenge.

I'm going to be an old fart and say that I think modern skis have reduced the general standard of bump skiing. On old skinny skis, cruddy offpiste was really difficult so advanced skiers used to hit the bumps a lot between snow falls. These days you can have more fun in the crud and people spend time there instead of honing their bump skills. Not saying that's a bad thing just an observation. When I worked a ski season in the early 90s if the snow wasn't great I'd just head up to Suisses (Courchevel) and lap the chair skiing bumps for a few hours.
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^^^ this, basically

turning your skis on the top of the bumps is a great start, but absorbing the bump, starting the turn on its crest, then pushing your skis into the gap on the back side of the bump while scrubbing off speed will take you up a level
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I'm gonna get fired watching skiing videos at work, but this one does a good job showing he extending and compressing motion in the bumps ... pedaling a bicycle backwards ..


http://youtube.com/v/bRCiAvdyBIQ&x-yt-ts=1421914688&x-yt-cl=84503534&feature=player_embedded
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@Jonny Jones, makes a good point above, about busy runs that get lumpy later on in the day. As a decent intermediate who avoids big bumps normally, I find these great fun, whilst my wife, who's a couple of notches lower in terms of her confidence and technique, hates them with a passion. The Happy Valley in St Anton is a good example of this type of run.
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Thanks

Does anyone have any views on good runs to practice bumps on in La Plagne / Les Arcs?

Feel free to suggest something monstrous that I can spend the week trying to conquer as well....
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Pynch,

The revelation I had, some years ago, was that turning on one bump was the essential first step.

So, standing on the top of the bump, feet together, body pre-totated (i.e. shoulders square down hill) simply by sliding forward the skis will rotate into the trough below. You then just link the action together to ski multiple bumps.

It does take practice and speed control is paramount. My analysis suggests that an edge check on the summit and then wiping down the back of the bumps makes most sense.

Start small. Start flat (gradient and bumps). Start really slow.

Drills- when traversing bumpy sloped try to keep shoulders quiet and "level" - i.e. absorb all the terrain changes. - short turns - etc. Shorter skis might help, but as you (I think) want some skidding, very grippy slalom skis don't work as well for me as e.g. GS ones.
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I liked the pedaling backwards analogy - never heard that before, but makes sense. One thing that can help after pivoting on a bump (when ski/snow contact is reduced) is to consciously point your tips down the other side ('stepping on the gas'), this helps to make sure you don't take off, and gets your skis back into contact with the snow quickly (without it there is no control). It also helps with the compression.
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Quote:

One thing that can help after pivoting on a bump (when ski/snow contact is reduced) is to consciously point your tips down the other side ('stepping on the gas'), this helps to make sure you don't take off, and gets your skis back into contact with the snow quickly (without it there is no control). It also helps with the compression.
Beat me to it! I was given that very advice by Diverskify just the other week and it works like a charm.
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narrow stance, skis together so that they turn as one
Stand a little taller to allow your knees to compress.
pole plant
start off traversing a few and get used to your knees compressing to absorb
Then turn on one, concentrating on narrow stance and taller stance.

Then try and link two turns, then three and build it up. If your speed builds up then stop and restart.

BEFORE you start to ski the bumps work out your first 2 turns, and look ahead 2 more turns.
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Quote:

BEFORE you start to ski the bumps work out your first 2 turns, and look ahead 2 more turns.


If you're comfortable and controlled on one, you don't need to plan ahead so much, means you can be more adaptive (and playful).
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Quote:

If you're comfortable and controlled on one, you don't need to plan ahead so much, means you can be more adaptive (and playful).


Yes and I find I'm actually useless at planning ahead - the plan doesn't survive very long before getting amended Very Happy
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 You know it makes sense.
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One thing not mentioned is keeping your hands in front of you. Often one arm drops as you turn and as soon as that happens your weight goes back and you hit the deck!
Practice on shallow slopes with small bumps skiing slowly. Going fast you will get out of control.
Try to ski the fall line but you will find the bumps are not evenly spaced so may have you miss some or do a double turn on long bumps.
I don't recon to be an expert at skiing bumps but I do judge mogul skiing so know lots of theory.
Currently in Airolo Switzerland at Europa Cup mogul comp and Valmalenco Italy next week. If anyone wants to see how its done come and watch the events.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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Jonny Jones wrote:
@alex99, clarified, not changed Madeye-Smiley . Decent snow on steep groomers is so rare that I regard it with the same level of disbelief as unicorn sightings. This picture illustrates what I have in mind.


It's Cheyenne Bowl in Jackson Hole: not enormously steep, but definitely not a green run. You have three choices: the bowl itself to the right of the photo; Wally World through the trees; and Bivouac, the steep groomer to the left of the photo.

The snow in Cheyenne Bowl is to die for: huge bumps covered with soft powder. If you get out of shape, you just stop on the next bump. The powder helps you to control your speed. Sure, it's steep, but, with a bit of care, a decent intermediate can have a ball here. It's hard to avoid grinning from ear to ear as you work down the slope.

Wally World through the trees is trickier, I'll admit. The trees exaggerate the size of the bumps and, although the snow is normally superb, you have to be confident that you can turn where the mountain demands that you turn. That's not always easy, and some individual turns are fearsomely steep.

But Bivouac, the groomer, is my bete noir. I hate it. If you fall, you slide all the way to the bottom - I've seen it many times, although, fortunately, it's never happened to me. The centre of the run offers no grip at all unless you edge like a downhill skier. Particularly in the afternoon, I find that I'm forced into the bumps at the side of the run in desperate search for something for my skis to push against.

In my view, the bumps definitely make the bowl itself the route that most flatters an inexpert skier like me.


Agree with you there.

I haven't thought about it in a while, but I think I kind of smear diagonally up the front of a bump (whilst compressing), turn on the shoulder, and kindof smear down the back of it (whilst extending). Or something like that. I find it really helps to keep thinking of really keeping the skis on the snow (pressing down on the backsides of the bumps), and keeping them very close together and moving more like a monoski.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Thanks for all the advice - now I just need to keep it all in my head until the first week of March when I can actually have a go at some of it...

Has anyone got any recomendations for where in La Plagne / Les Arcs to practice moguls? As I said, monumentally difficult runs also welcome to have as a goal / nemisis for the week.

(You may even get to laugh at videos of me failing / succeeding if my gf can be persuaded to hold the camera - possibly whilst laughing uncontrollably at me bobbing up and down very very slowly...)

In terms of Skis to have a go with, I will probably be renting some K2 Shreditors as I mentioned in my first post: much softer flex than I would normally go for but apparently still fun for when I want to have a bit of a carving session to make myself feel better. If anyone things this is a silly idea - do let me know...
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@Pynch, my kids learned bumps in ski school, and my wife had the luxury of two days' private instruction to overcome her fear of lumpy snow. There was no cash left for me, so I had to teach myself.

One thing transformed my bump skiing: reading the chapter on bumps in the The All Mountain Skier. The drills and advice in that book took bump skiing from something that I regarded with fear and trepidation into my very favourite type of skiing. Well, OK, powder is best - but bumps run a very close second!

If you want to ski bumps well, buy yourself a copy and take every bit of advice it offers.
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@Jonny Jones, thanks for the tip on the book. having read reviews on amazon and had a look through their 'see inside' feature, i've ordered it from my local, independent bookshop and it'll be here on tuesday. looking forward to some holiday reading and putting it into practice in a week's time.
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Quote:

I think I kind of smear diagonally up the front of a bump (whilst compressing), turn on the shoulder, and kindof smear down the back of it


Sounds about right.

Keeping the legs together allows them to rotate on the "top" of the bump together more easily.
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Ok this is very old judging by the onecies and ski but it makes it easy to understand

http://youtube.com/v/M2pR9H6YegQ
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@Jonny Jones, thanks for the book recommendation.

I'm also going to get this as a nice way of anticipating my holiday (4 weeks to wait).

(as well as watching through the lesson posted above).
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@blockhead, just only a little bit dated!!
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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!
@blockhead, The bumps bit did seem to make a lot of sense and the technique fits with what others have said above.

I may also get myself the purple shell-suit and headband combo just to make sure.
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http://youtube.com/v/eGRhwMaOzt0
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The admittedly dated Bumps and Powder video does a good job of illustrating how to navigate bumps .. I found the part about having a choice of exits really helpful .. the first exit out of the trough below the bump you've just turned around is the fast one and the second exit is the slow one .. it's obvious in the video but maybe not so clear on the hill at speed .. and who knew Jerry Garcia could ski moguls?
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