How To Snowboard Moguls

Moguls are one of those things you just have to learn. Whether you seek out bumpy terrain, or avoid it at all cost…at some point you’ll find yourself in a field of moguls. Navigating them requires quick feet, soft knees and a few special turns.

Get Soft Knees – Let’s begin with your knees. Soft knees are THE most important part of riding moguls. Just like walking down the steps, you’ll bend and straighten your knees to cushion the impact. If you don’t have soft knees, you’ll be getting bounced around.

Strap in and get bendy. Bend your ankles and knees to get low, extend them to stand tall. You’ll use this motion to absorb the bumps and extend your legs in the valley between.

Try Riding Rollers or Bumps: Take those soft legs and find some terrain to absorb. Rollers are great if you can find them. Try to keep your head at the same height by sucking up the bumps and extending your legs in the dips. Get short over the bump and tall in between.

If you can’t find rollers, ride over random crud and ruts. Or head to the terrain park and roll over a beginner jump. You just want to get the feeling of absorbing bumps with your legs.

Practice Pivot Turns –In moguls you’ll mostly be making pivot turns (or windshield wiper turns). Shift weight over your front leg, dig your edge in and pivot your back leg around—looks a bit like a wind-shield wiper.

Try it on a slippery floor at home. Set a towel under your back foot, transfer weight on your front leg and swing your back foot around. Notice that you will be shifting your weight forward at the start of the turn and back to finish it. The motion on snow is virtually the same.

With normal turns, you apply pressure and wait patiently for the snowboard to make a nice round turn. But in moguls you just don’t have time. Though not as pretty, pivot turns are a fast way to maneuver your board through a confined space.

Practice these turns on a steep groomed run. You want to keep your shoulders parallel with the slope and stay bouncy. Think of shifting weight over your front leg and lifting your back leg to swing the board around. You’ll raise your body up to start the turn and come back down at the end. Imagine being light as you initiate the turn and heavy as you finish it.

Traverse Moguls—Head to the moguls and take a pass across. Traverse while using your legs to absorb the bumps and extend through the trough. Cut across on both your toe and heel edge. If you unintentionally get stuck on a mogul run, this is a safe way to make it to the bottom.

Gradually reduce the length of the traverse. You’re track will look like a funnel and you’ll eventually make your way down with a more direct line.

Moguls half/Groomed half – For another way to learn moguls…find a run that’s groomed on one side with bumps on the other half. Make pivot turns on the groomed snow, then duck into the mogul field. Turn around one or two moguls then return to the groomed snow. You’ll get the feeling of turning around moguls while having an escape route. You want to keep your speed under control. It’s even okay to stop between moguls to set up your next turn.

The Right Path Through Moguls – The right line is something you’ll develop with practice. Since there are a lot of obstacles in your way, it helps to spot at least one or two turns ahead. At times you’ll make turns around a mogul. Other times you’ll cut between them and occasionally you’ll ride right over the top. Any of these paths is correct and, in most cases, you’ll use a combination of all three. Let the mogul field dictate your line. Follow the easiest path and, if it feels right to turn…it probably is.

Like it or not, you’ve learned to ride moguls. And that means you can get yourself out of most yucky terrain, tackle the mountain and show skiers they can’t hog all the fun.

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2 Responses to How To Snowboard Moguls
  1. Dylan
    November 29, 2012 | 10:25 pm

    Hey guys, I have a question. How do you slow yourself down on an extremely thin intermediate trail? My problem is I can’t make quick enough turns because of how narrow the trail is. Thanks in advanced!

    • Jill
      November 30, 2012 | 9:03 am

      You’ll want to use pivot turns and/or side-slips (if the run is very very narrow). Hope this helps.



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