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Absorbing bumps

Perty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#1
I think I am a solid advanced skier. Good on piste, starting to really get the hang of off piste, mainly in the mixed conditions of the Alps. I even like moguls! However, I have a real mental block about using my legs as suspension. It's difficult to explain but here goes:
In bumpy terrain I can completely get my head around pushing down into dips. However, I am completely useless at the opposite of allowing my legs to lift up under me. I think I can do the former as it is a positive action involving engaging the leg muscles in a positive act, whereas the latter seems to involve letting go. On our off piste course this week (trip report to follow), our guide/instructor encouraged us to carve wide turns over some very bumpy chopped up cruddy slightly mogully area at the bottom. I could see that it enabled some preservation of energy, and could do it better than I thought, but I still feel totally knocked about by the process and have the habit of hitting big bumps when I am travelling a straight line at speed, and then crashing. Of course, it then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. I am trying not to overthink, trying to relax (telling someone to "relax", is, in my opinion, guaranteed to make them tense up), but still need to maintain an grip on the snow.
Anyone out there who understands my problem have any tips, ideas, head games I can play with myself to switch on my suspension would be gratefully received!
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#2
I also struggle with this.

Have you tried the drill of simply traversing a bump run, with only one turn at the far side of the run, rinse, repeat? With each traverse, all you're doing is absorbing each bump as you cross it. I find that one helps me get my legs in the game.
 

Perty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
Maybe I should do it as some sort of drill......Usually with a proper mogul field I am trying to take a more fall line approach, attacking and turning around the bumps, which I really enjoy. I would guess that, in those circumstances, I am unconsciously absorbing as I turn. Thinking about it-the pole plant acts like an extra stiff leg so probably encourages me to relax from the belly button down, but only if I turn at the same time. The problem arises more if I am going in a straight line.... Tightening tummy muscles does help relax the legs a bit. I just feel like I have a blind spot on this issue. Am hoping for a "eureka" moment....
 

jellyflake

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#4
How do you usually initiate your drifted turns when not using the sidecut? Do you go up to take weight from your skis?
If that is true then it might be a good exercise to do exactly the opposite - go down to relieve your skis. Try this on a groomed and easy run as it feels unknown and strange in the beginning. But it will teach you the feeling of lifting the legs up (and subsequently WELCOME that feeling).

Just a thought… :smile:
 

Kimmyt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
I visualize a string from my knees to my chin, and when I go over those bumps the string gets shorter. It's not a passive movement, it's done with energy, particularly abdominal contraction. It's also a matter of being in the moment and loose with my legs and knees, so it's hard to explain.

One thing that can hep in terms of practice is find a baby park, the kind where they have those rollers built in close succession to each other, they usually come in sets of three or four. If you go over them with a little energy and strength in your legs, you'll get popped off the top and if the park is small enough you might even land poorly on the top of the next one. So to avoid this as an adult you have to have this absorption that is helpful in the bumps and you can practice keeping contact with the snow as you go over these rollers instead of catching any air like you are wont to do.

I don't know if that helps at all, because I'm not a very technically driven skier (I ski much more by feel).
 

Perty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
Thanks Kimmyt-I like the idea of the string between my knees and chin....I'll definitely use that one when I next hit the slopes. Will let you know how I get on!
:ski3:
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
While being relaxed is always a plus in skiing, I think that for me the action of absorbing the bump is a very active one. A big part of it is looking ahead to anticipate having to flex my ankles, knees and hip as my tips start to come up onto the bump and then actively extend into the trough, and repeat.

I am surprised to hear that you find the extending of your legs easier to do. So many skiers become stuck in their small/ flexed position and then have no retraction ability left as the next bump is upon them and then they hit it full on or launch up and back.

Thinking small on top of bump, tall before and after bump can help.

I like the previous post that mentions traversing across a mogul field agan and again in both directions until you can become proficient at looking ahead and actively bringing the legs up and then down with each bump.

What I am a touch confused about is how you are able to extend your legs into the trough or valley if you were not in a compressed/small/retracted/bent leg position to begin with?

Bon courage!
 

Perty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
Ah well...it's just the way my brain works! I can extend, but probably only from a middling sort of bent leg position. Pushing down is a positive action in my head, where pulling up, or allowing my legs to come up just isn't. "Absorbing" a bump doesn't imply a positive act, maybe I have to think of it as a much more positive thing....but if I'm not careful I will overthink it. Will be able to try out your advice in about 10 days time.
 

snow addict

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#10
Try to think the other way around. Start from the bottom (just ignore how you got there) and pull you knees towards your chest as you go up the next bump. Think about a plane retracting landing gear. It is a positive act, because by doing this you are absorbing the shock. You knees are not being pushed up by a bump - that would be a shock, but you are actively pulling them up following the bump shape. Took me a while but it has finally started to click. It doesn't work equally well al the time - well, I rather don't do it equally well all the time, because when I do it and stay more pro-active it certainly works well and I ski bumps much smoother...
 

snoWYmonkey

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
One last off snow drill/thought that might help make the active retraction concept more tangible. Find a narrow staircase with solid railings on each side. Place one hand on each railing and lift yourself off the ground (maybe best to try this on the bottom steps). Finally, bring your knees up towards the front, keeping your feet underneath your hips. You can add side ways rotations, twists and such to mimic turning. This can also be done at a gym with the arms overhead, just hanging relaxed, and doind the same movements extending then retracting underneath you.
 

snow addict

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
One last off snow drill/thought that might help make the active retraction concept more tangible. Find a narrow staircase with solid railings on each side. Place one hand on each railing and lift yourself off the ground (maybe best to try this on the bottom steps). Finally, bring your knees up towards the front, keeping your feet underneath your hips. You can add side ways rotations, twists and such to mimic turning. This can also be done at a gym with the arms overhead, just hanging relaxed, and doind the same movements extending then retracting underneath you.
It can be tried in so many ways. I was shown it on a flat groomer. My instructor called it "retraction turn". And the first time it properly clicked was when we had massive dump of snow last season in December and for the first time ever I was skiing thigh-deep powder. It really helped and I understood why I was told that if you can ski moguls really well powder is less of a mystery. I still can't ski really well either though :( but it's work in progress...
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
One of the most common misconceptions about absorption is that you bring your knees to your chest. The problem with this is it puts you in the backseat and raises your tips of the snow as the tail of the ski is bearing most the weight which is how you get out of control if not airborne. What you actually want to do is bring your heel to your bum. This way your weight stays over the tips of your skis and keeps them in contact with the snow for better tip drive over the downside of the bump into the trough. You want your weight on the balls of your feet in moguls, not your heels. Two things that make absorption more difficult are throwing your skis out to the side and not reaching far enough forward with your pole plant. The farther forward you reach with your pole the more room/time you have to fully absord/extend your body.
 

Perty

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
Thanks Kimmyt, Snowaddict and Gloria, I think something may be clicking in my head. If only instructors had avoided the vague concept of "absorption", which sounds so passive, it may have been something my brain could understand and put into effect. As a result of this thread, I shall be "retracting my landing gear" on a string between my chin and my knees, and also think about heels to bum.....
Hopefully you will get an update as to whether it works in about 10 days' time....at long last the Alps are looking a bit colder and snow is falling...though Snowaddict (lucky girl living at the foot of all those lovely mountains! ) is probably more able to give an accurate snow condition update...
:ski3:
 

snow addict

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#15
Not exactly at the foot, but 3 hours public transport door-to-door is not too shabby either :smile: Will report on Monday, looks like a powder weekend ahead...
 

Gloria

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
Thanks Kimmyt, Snowaddict and Gloria, I think something may be clicking in my head. If only instructors had avoided the vague concept of "absorption", which sounds so passive, it may have been something my brain could understand and put into effect. As a result of this thread, I shall be "retracting my landing gear" on a string between my chin and my knees, and also think about heels to bum.....
Hopefully you will get an update as to whether it works in about 10 days' time....at long last the Alps are looking a bit colder and snow is falling...though Snowaddict (lucky girl living at the foot of all those lovely mountains! ) is probably more able to give an accurate snow condition update...
:ski3:
Read the post Skidiva posted from Donna Weibrecht (sp) she talks about staying upright in the upper body, you don't want to bring your knees and chin together or you will collapse in the middle. Your abdomen should stay in the same postion as if you were doing a plank, not a sit up or crunch. When I feel myself collapsing in the middle I remind myself to pull my shoulders back or open them up as you would in yoga.
 
#18
:bump: about bump skiing. There have been assorted threads since 2014 about bumps aka mogul skiing but this one seemed most related to a video I came across recently.

While being relaxed is always a plus in skiing, I think that for me the action of absorbing the bump is a very active one. A big part of it is looking ahead to anticipate having to flex my ankles, knees and hip as my tips start to come up onto the bump and then actively extend into the trough, and repeat.
Jonathan Ballou certainly looks relaxed in this video. The numbers that come up (30%, 60%) mark the amount of slow motion for those sections. What's a bit unusual is that Ballou is on GS racing skis, turn radius 30m. A good example that above a certain ability level, technique matters more than the choice of skis.

 

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