A Mature Approach to Bump Skiing

I love to ski bumps; however I’ve had to modify my approach as I get older so that the repeated impact doesn’t wear me out. While I can ski a “zipper line” of bumps, I find that it’s much harder on my body. I try to avoid the much bigger absorption that skiing directly into the front of the trough requires.

This discussion assumes that you can already ski short-radius turns on a black slope. If not, you can revisit my previous post on short turns. With those skills in-hand, there three keys to mastering the bumps: pressure control, pole usage, and tactics.

Pressure control in the bumps is the flexing and extension of your legs to keep your skis in contact with the snow over uneven terrain. As you ride up onto the bump, allow your legs to absorb the impact starting with your ankles. Keep your core strong and don’t break at the waist. As you come off each bump, extend your legs so that you can absorb the next bump. I see skiers forget to do this and after a few bumps, they “explode” as they have no way to absorb the terrain.

Pole usage in the bumps is essential. You must touch every bump you ski with a pole. This helps your timing and flow, and allows you to stabilize your upper body.

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Catskill Valentine Jackpot

My girlfriend Amy has really jumped into skiing this season, traveling with me across NY and VT at early hours in search of snow. I decided it was time to slow down the pace from Wu-tang Clan to Marvin Gaye. Instead of a six AM wake-up call to action, I surprised her with a double rainbow moment: a relaxing stay at a funky Catskill hotel to celebrate Valentine’s Day and ski.

Valentine's Day getaway hotel.

Although no one will confuse Roxbury, NY, with preeminent vacation destinations Lake Placid or Niagara Falls, it’s a charming town tucked into a valley with views of hills on all sides. The star hotel, The Roxbury, recommended by a friend, impressed my better half with lots of modern and quirky art, plenty of shiny surfaces, and high brow bath products I wouldn’t even know how to procure.

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Sugar Shack at Mont Blanc, QC

As you drive northwest from Montreal through the Laurentians, there are a number of family ski areas right alongside Autoroute 15. While these smaller hills can’t compare with the region’s big destination area, Tremblant, in vertical, skiable trail acreage, or base village amenities, they offer great access, no-frills ambiance, and affordable rates for families on a budget.

Mont Blanc is a prototype Laurentians area. With a reported 1,000 vertical feet, it has the same general footprint as Greek Peak, but a more consistent pitch. With easily edgeable hardpack on the menu, the skiing was fast and fun, so we worked our way across the hill, skiing every trail and dropping into a few glades to mix things up.

There were a few busloads of junior-high students out enjoying a day on the snow and since Tuesday was Ladies Day, all members of the fairer sex skied for $20. Men get the same deal on Wednesdays.

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