Drift Your Turns For Maximum Speed Control In Moguls

Learning how to drift your turns will give you the maximum possible speed control when skiing moguls.

Speed Control In Moguls And Powder Is About Doing The Polar Opposite Of Carving

Good skiers don’t always carve. They use a wide range of possible edge angles from no angle (flat ski or very low edge angle) to a high angle (full carve) depending upon what type of terrain they are skiing on and what their skiing objective is.

Carving is an appropriate technique for groomed runs. But, to become a good mogul or powder skier, you want to do the opposite of carving – which is to learn how to ski using a lower edge angles between the skis and the snow.  When you ski with less edge angle, the combination of centrifugal force and gravity will cause your skis to “drift” (slip) to the outside of the turn.  This lateral movement creates friction, which will slow your speed and is a valuable speed control technique.  Learning to “drift” with a low edge angles or even on a flat ski will give you great speed control in moguls.

In a drifted turn, 50% or more of your momentum should be in a lateral (rather than forward) direction DOWN the fall line underneath your feet to the designated location below you where you intend to make your next turn. If your momentum is primarily forward you will be carving, and therefore accelerating, which will challenge your reflex speed in the moguls.

The Secret To Speed Control In Moguls Is To Drift Your Turns Instead Of Carve Your Turns

A drift occurs when you use a combination of rotation (steering the skis perpendicular or higher to the fall line) and edging (using less edge angle – which creates lateral movement – in order to create friction) for the purpose of reducing, or better controlling speed.

The higher your ski tips are relative to the fall line and the less edge angle between the skis and the snow that you use, the slower your speed will be.  This is the most effective way to control speed in moguls because, when done properly (1) it allows you to control your speed without the need for fast reflexes and (2) because the technique is independent of reflex speed it is equally effective regardless of the steepness of the mogul run.

Use The Full Range Of Your Edge Angles To Ski Moguls And Powder With Greater Control

The edge angle of the ski against the snow is an important variable that you, as the skier, have control over. It is something that you consciously need to manage. You vary the edge angle to achieve whatever desired effect you want to achieve. There are an infinite number of edge angles between a high edge angle and a low edge angle. You become a better skier when you discover this. And, your skiing ability will grow exponentially when you discover how to vary the edge angle of your skis throughout the turn as a tool.

In moguls and powder it is advantageous to use a lower edge angle more than a high edge angle because it allows you to better control your speed. That is, assuming you want to ski off-piste terrain using a style that provides you more control and with less dependency on strength and ultra-fast reflexes to remain in control. Remember, we are talking about a style that is appropriate for Baby Boomer and other skiers who want to ski safely and conservatively, not raging 20 and 30 year olds.

Drifting Self Test: Do you find yourself having to slam on the brakes in order to regain speed control after just several turns in a mogul run?  If so, stop and look back at your ski tracks.  If you see two sharp parallel lines in the snow it means that you were carving.  And, if you were carving, that is most likely the primary reason you ended up on the “edge of crazy”.

Note for P.S.I.A. Terminologists: we consciously use the term “drift” in our instruction because it is a more customer friendly word to describe a “pivot slip” and also because it implies a positive, desired, intentional move rather than the term “skid” which implies an undesirable, out of control action.

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