Bump Lines

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Re: Bump Lines

Postby geoffda » Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:56 am

You can certainly ski the zipper line using PMTS movements, but the result is going to be somewhat different due to the shape of the bumps exerting outside influence on the ski. Typically, what will happen is that you will get engagement at the top of the turn and a quick carve, but in the confines of the bump, you can't finish the turn. Instead you will contact the low face of the oncoming bump early in the bottom half of the turn and you will have to quickly flex to absorb it. While flexing, you release, pull back and tip into the new turn. You have to get some speed control by dropping the tips into the trough as you pass over the bump and absorbing the hit of the oncoming bump with aggressive flexing. Most of the bend of the skis is vertical, rather than horizontal. Like the dewdman says, all movements apply. To ski the zipper effectively, you will need all of the essentials working at a high level.

Competitive bump skiers aren't taught to ski the same way we approach skiing, but there has always been a distinction between those who carve and those who don't. Of those competitive bump skiers that do carve, most are big-toe dominant and there is some leg steering/knee drive involved as well. Competition skis are effectively straight skis and you can't just put them on edge and expect them to turn. All SkierSyn is pointing out is that competitive bump skiing has its own technique that works especially well on manufactured bumps. He is not saying that PMTS technique cannot be used to ski the zipper line; there are plenty of skiers (including myself) who use PMTS movements to ski that line.

That said, the zipper line often isn't my first choice as it requires more work than I am usually willing to do. The pace and range of movement is extremely high. Skiing the tops of the bumps is usually smoother and requires less effort.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby dewdman42 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 10:45 am

geoffda wrote:You can certainly ski the zipper line using PMTS movements, but the result is going to be somewhat different due to the shape of the bumps exerting outside influence on the ski. Typically, what will happen is that you will get engagement at the top of the turn and a quick carve, but in the confines of the bump, you can't finish the turn. Instead you will contact the low face of the oncoming bump early in the bottom half of the turn and you will have to quickly flex to absorb it. While flexing, you release, pull back and tip into the new turn. You have to get some speed control by dropping the tips into the trough as you pass over the bump and absorbing the hit of the oncoming bump with aggressive flexing.


great description Geoffda. I will add the following... you also get some speed control on the high-C, which is executed on the shoulder of the bump where you can brush carve it. You can only do this if you flex enough to absorb the bump and remain in contact with the snow, while simultaneously transitioning to the new edges very early, and then begin extension with ski tips down the the backside (or I prefer to think of it as the "shoulder" because its really on the side of the bump), with edge engagement there.

One thing I want to point out, is that this "shoulder" of the bump has a slope that faces the side of the ski run. So as you move onto this shoulder, on your edges, its like you are instantly traversing that little mini slope (and hopefully brush carving on it). As you pass the bump that mini slope disappears, so you end up sooner or later in the trough, but going directly to the trough too soon loses that opportunity to brush carve the shoulder. Sooner or later you merge with the trough and the next bump is upon you, which provides a banked platform as good as any edging to complete the turn; and as you described, here is the place to flex aggressively and release, AND ENGAGE to do it all over again.. Getting to the new edges and allowing the CoM to move across as you are maximally flexed is all crucial.

I also want to point out, that zipper line bump skiing doesn't necessarily need to be rough and tumble or hard on the body. You can be very smooth and easy on the body and still call it zipper line, stay higher out of the troughs, using the shoulder more, etc. One key to not having to slam into the face of the bumps is controlling your speed during high-C on the shoulders of the bumps as described above. You still need to flex and extend your legs a lot to do this smoothly, but if your timing is right it doesn't have to be hard on the body because you gain speed control from brush carving high-C and not so much from absorbing the faces of the bumps.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby LiquidFeet » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:57 pm

The most beautiful, graceful, skier I'v seen in the bumps is a guy dressed all in black at Mad River Glen, with white crosses on his uniform. He's a "rescue" patroller. Someone explained to me his job is pulling people out of the woods when the pulling is a challenge. In the bumps he moves as little as possible, traveling straight down the fall line, no matter the configuration of the bumps, as if totally relaxed. His travel speed is not fast. Any pitch, any bumps.

What a sight to see! Poetry in motion.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby skiffie » Fri Mar 30, 2018 5:18 pm

Thanks a ton geoff and dewdman for clarifying! :mrgreen:
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby Max_501 » Sat Mar 31, 2018 8:47 am

We've been down the zipperline discussion road in the past and HH has made it clear that competitive mogul technique is very different than what we do in PMTS.

As Geoff says, it is possible to ski the zipperline using PMTS but it will look (and feel) different. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but only true black level PMTS skiers should be attempting this line. I've only seen a few do it successfully, everyone else pivots because they lack the skills to get the skis around fast enough. Until you can absolutely nail a SL flush on a groomed run you will have no shot a nailing a SL flush in bumps (which would be similar to skiing a competitive zipperline).

A short list of differences:

1 - Competitive mogul skiers pivot each and every turn. While some use more edging than others none use PMTS carving (tipping based) movements.

2 - The primary reason competitive mogul skiers flex is to absorb while the primary reason PMTS skiers flex is to release.

3 - The location of max flexion in a competitive mogul turn is different than we see in the typical PMTS turn. WC mogul skiers flex and simultaneously pivot the skis so that at maximum flexion their skis are pointed straight down the fall line. Obviously this is different than what we learn in PMTS. We can adapt PMTS to match this but it feels very strange because the high C is performed while we are flexing (frigging hard as heck to do consistently at the rapid speed found in competitive mogul skiing which is 2 to 3 bumps per second).

Unfortunately and contrary to what some suggest, skiing the zipperline is hard on the body much of the time. Oh sure, there are those that make it look easy but many runs have at least one hard hit that nails the back or knees. HH has commented on this before.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby LiquidFeet » Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:33 pm

I am loving this discussion. So informative.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby skijim13 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:31 am

I agree with Max about the different methods used for skiing Bumps. Our bumps are set up with a machine to be very close together and zipper line, the bumps are then skied on people who skid on them which results in making them even more uneven with no start or end point and very icy even on the tops. The bump skiers are our mountain use the zipper line rotary method to ski them. After attending the PMTS bump camp I tried use what we learned in camp but the line is so tight and narrow the only way I would be able to ski them is to put rotary movements into my skiing. I find it much easier to use PMTS bump movements where the bumps form naturally and have some space between which I find Out West. Maybe if I was a black level PMTS skier I would be able to ski these ugly bumps. The trainer on our mountain can ski bumps well using the zipper line but can't make a basic turn on the groomer and needs two knee replacements, he no longer enters bump contests.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby Darren » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:41 pm

dewdman42 wrote:
skiffie wrote:
skijim13 wrote:We get very little bump practice at our mountain because I know if I ski these I will not be using the PMTS movements I learned in the camp and will resort to my old movements. This weekend it will be warm and they should soften up to make them better.


I've always wondered if you can ski the zipper line with PMTS movements. My impression from reading some old posts including by Jay is that the answer is no?


Of course you can use PMTS in the bumps! What specifically do you think is not compatible? In fact PMTS is in many ways more compatible with zipper line bump skiing then any other method out there, because of the simple fact that you flex to release and transition your CoM across while flexed. This is a key aspect of skiing the bumps well, especially in the zipper and directly opposite of what you will hear at your local PSIA ski school.

Do you tip your skis in the zipper line? Of course! You can't make a ski turn unless you're on your edges! Most likely you're not edge locked carving, but brushed carving. Of course it works!

Do you use counteraction and counter balance in the bumps? absolutely...

I'm not seeing any incompatibilities, nor do I experience in my own skiing any.

The backside vertical drop of bumps is of no consequence whatsoever if you engage your edges and brush carve the top and sides/shoulders of the bumps.

I will say this. For any skier...PMTS or not...skiing deep and treacherous bumps as have been described, is not easy. It requires a lot of things to be happening correctly and the timing to be perfect in order to be in sync with the snow surface that is changing radically underneath you. Its hard enough to master brush carving and the bullet proof short radius turn, much less to have the size and timing of everything exactly matched up to the 3 dimensional terrain passing underneath you, and it becomes even harder if that 3D terrain is irregular with the zipper line non-existant or changing all over the place with closeouts. The simple truth is that sometimes you're going to miss the bump shoulder or whatever and you will probably need to do the dreaded pivot to stay on the zipper. Mind you, I feel a great many skiers out there OVER-use the dreaded pivot, and many bump skiers in particular are missing huge opportunities to brush carve their way through even some very deep trenches with much more control, finesse, balance and grace then hopping and pivoting your way down. The dreaded pivot should be reserved for as a correction device only, most of the time, BPST brushed turns are possible in even the deepest and knurliest bumps. The key is getting the timing right. If you miss the timing, well then...do what you must.

Me personally I find that after I hit a couple bump runs, my PMTS-style groomer performance improves simply because I was forced to flex-release every single turn and eliminate any and all of the dreaded POP.

I will also say that in bumps with poor zipper lines, you have even less of an excuse not to use PMTS or to resort to the dreaded pivot, because you basically can't follow a zipper so its of no consequence, just choose a larger rounder turn shape, and find place to execute smooth BPST brushed turns, they are all over the place in there.


I competed in bump skiing in Southern Ontario in 1982 even back then when skiing the zipper line the primary focus of us skiers was not pivoting the skis it was tipping the skis to carve the skis. Feet close together, counter acting, counter balance, pulling feet back on back side of mogul to keep skis in contact with snow was standard focus of the skiers. Twisting @ the waist to pivot the skis none of us skiers tried to pivot the skis as the judges did not want to see skiers focusing on pivoting their skis.
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby Darren » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:11 pm

HeluvaSkier wrote:I've always thought it would be fun to get a group of good [pmts] skiers together to create an 'ideal' bump line simply by skiing it a bunch of times repeatedly. Obviously this would have to be done at a quiet mountain, but in the right snow conditions, in a low-traffic area, it would be easily doable.

When the snow is rip for making bumps all it takes is one skier & about a half a day to put in a zipper line on a groomed trail & the bumps will be spaced & shaped to match the turn rhythm of the skier who created them. When I have done it I found it easier to ski slower the first few runs
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Re: Bump Lines

Postby Max_501 » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:28 am

Darren wrote:I competed in bump skiing in Southern Ontario in 1982 even back then when skiing the zipper line the primary focus of us skiers was not pivoting the skis it was tipping the skis to carve the skis. Feet close together, counter acting, counter balance, pulling feet back on back side of mogul to keep skis in contact with snow was standard focus of the skiers. Twisting @ the waist to pivot the skis none of us skiers tried to pivot the skis as the judges did not want to see skiers focusing on pivoting their skis.


Cool to see another PMTS skier that competed in the very dynamic mogul freestyle days. Jay (Skiersynergy on this forum) was in comps until 1981. As I understand it, back then deflection was a big part of ripping moguls. I can't even imagine what it was like to ski big bumps on those long straight skis at mach speeds.
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