Many snowboarders see moguls as a great big middle finger from our skiing
enemies friends. After all, snowboarding moguls isn’t exactly our idea of fun!
Well, what if I told you that it could be… you just need to learn how to handle moguls the right way. So here’s a brief summary of how to snowboard moguls.
Snowboarding on moguls requires a relaxed riding style with careful route planning. If the moguls are close together you will also need to master the art of the pivot turn. It helps to be confident with your edge hold and with transitioning between your snowboard edges.
This article is all about learning to snowboard on moguls and even learning to love them! Let’s dive right in…
How To Snowboard On Moguls
For those that don’t know how to handle them, moguls can be a total, freaking nightmare!
When moguls stretch across an entire field, they can even keep you trapped for hours.
Let’s spare a moment to think of our poor, lost homies. The hundreds of snowboarders stranded in uncharted mogul fields…
The good news? You don’t have to join them!
Simply practice my top tips for snowboarding moguls – outlined below.
Note: I assumed that you have already mastered the falling leaf and can link your turns. If not, head on over to our learning to snowboard section first.
1. How To Snowboard Over Moguls.
When snowboarding on moguls you have two key ways to tackle the problem.
You can either go over them or you can go round them.
Whilst you may set off with the best of intentions – to snowboard a clear path between the moguls all the way down – this simply ain’t going to happen.
You’ll nearly always need to use a combination of over and around the bumps. This allows you to tackle whatever is in-front of you without breaking your stride.
Let’s start with tips for riding over moguls…
a. Stay Loosey Goosey.
I know a lot of you would rather get caught in a minefield than a mogul field… but when you do find yourself amidst these evil mounds, try to stay relaxed.
Easier said than done I know…
Think of your knees as the suspension in a car. When the vehicle hits a bump, the springs in the suspension compress, lifting the wheels up and taking the sting out of the impact.
The exact same principles apply to riding moguls on your snowboard.
Let your soft knees rise up as you head over the mogul. Then, just as a car returns to normal once the bump is in the rearview, you will extend your legs when you reach the gaps between the moguls.
Had enough of the car references?
Drive on over to best stretches for snowboarding to loosen up before riding.
b. Master "The Static Head".
A fantastic way to monitor how you’re getting on is to video yourself.
Observe where your head is at throughout.
Ideally, your head should stay at pretty much the exact same height as you ride the moguls.
A static head proves you’re bending your knees enough to account for the height of the mogul and that you’re extending them to reestablish your natural stance in the valleys.
c. Practice Makes Perfect.
When you get a chance, head to some rollers, or if you don’t have access to any, look for a particularly rough section of a slope.
You’ll notice on steeper rough terrain the temptation is to tighten up those quads… don’t!
Practice your soft knee techniques over and over again until you’re really taking the venom out of the rises and falls of the terrain.
2. How To Ride Between Moguls.
The above tips for snowboarding moguls are more focused on going over, rather than between moguls.
You need a combination of both skills to truly master the art of the mogul field!
a. The Pivot Turn Technique.
Usually when you’re carving a slope, all you have to do is shift your center of gravity over. This applies pressure to one side of the board, and the board takes care of business for you.
This is a different story when you’re in mogul territory.
Moguls are often packed closely together.
To swerve smoothly between the bumps, you may have to use a technique known as a pivot turn.
Often referred to as windshield wiper turns, pivot turns give you the nimble handling you need to avoid going up and over the moguls.
I know what you’re thinking. When learning to turn, pivot turns are actually seen as poor form. They bleed a lot of speed and use too much upper body. Snowboarding moguls is an exception!
How To Pivot Turn:
- Put more weight onto your front foot. This will become your point of stability, around which you’ll “pivot”.
- Lift your back leg slightly and push it in the opposite direction to the way you want to turn.
- Engage your edge again and even out the pressure between the front and back feet.
- Ride forward for a short period
- Repeat above steps in the opposite direction to turn the other way.
This is covered quite well in this (slightly corny) video from snowprofessor:
The core of the technique is the shifting of weight onto your front foot, thereby freeing up your back foot to pivot and set a new line.
You can practice this technique on a wooden floor with a cloth beneath your back foot. Simply rotate your back foot left and right.
It’s sort of like a mini jump that never quite leaves the ground, as your front foot is anchored in position by your weight.
b. Practice On Half-Mogul/Half-Groomed Slopes.
I find that the best way to practice traversing moguls is to find a field that runs alongside a groomed section.
Start on the groomed snow, practicing your pivot turn technique, then when you feel ready, cut into the moguls and try to carve between a few of them.
It doesn’t matter if you’re having trouble, as the groomed section provides an easy escape route!
Head back, reestablish your form, then have another go.
Take things nice and slow, and if you need to, don’t hesitate to stop for a break on the groomed terrain and assess your approach.
3. How To Cut The Right Line Through Moguls.
This is one of the hardest parts.
But at the risk of sounding completely ridiculous… you don’t necessarily find the correct path through moguls, the path finds you!
I mean, it’s good to be a couple turns ahead in your mind, but when you’ve had enough practice, you’ll probably have a distinct feeling that the mogul field is dictating your line.
Using a combination of the aforementioned techniques, you’ll gain a fluidity on this challenging terrain. The line will come to you as you naturally shorten your lateral traverse, leading to a more direct route out of the field.
4. How To Have Fun Snowboarding On Moguls.
I know you still don’t believe me, but snowboarding moguls can actually be great fun!
Once you get into a rhythm you can use moguls as launch ramps and jump between the mounds.
This is especially true as you exit the field back onto normal groomed slopes!
I’d advise trying this on more gentle slopes or when the snow is softer or slushy. Nail down the above techniques and then start to experiment with it!
There you have it!
You may still avoid moguls like the plague, but you can’t run from them forever! At least you know how to handle yourself when that fateful day arrives.
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