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Mastering moguls not an easy feat

Tamara Miller
Shane Macomber/Vail Daily A skier bounces over a bump on Beaver Creek Mountain. Many agree that mastering mogul runs is a rite of passage for skiers and snowboarders.
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BEAVER CREEK – You can wedge your way down a groomer run.You can twist and turn through crud, and you can plow through powder.But alas, the sins of a sloppy skier are never more evident then on a good old-fashioned mogul run.”They’re pretty unforgiving,” said Diana Benedict, a snowboarder from Denver.Those just learning to ski the bumps find them frustrating, jarring and just downright mean. “I hate them,” said Janette Andrews, a Denver skier who is just learning how to ski moguls.”Honey, you’ve only been on them six times,” replied her husband, Chris. “Six times is enough!” Andrews answered back.Nevertheless, they are everywhere at Vail and Beaver Creek. And the word on the street is that once you actually learn to do them right they are “fun.” It’s a change of pace, it’s a challenge. What do you have to be afraid of?Moguls: Home-wreckers of the mountainsKris Ferguson is an all-mountain skier with a black ski outfit. Bumps are no big thing to him, but he’s modest about it.

“They’re fun, but tiring,” Ferguson said. His wife, Jodi, is a little less enthusiastic about them.”They can be brutal,” she said. She also is learning how to ski mogul runs well. The biggest mistake people make is keeping their legs too far apart when they try to turn around the moguls, Ferguson said. “It’s kind of a wedge-christy turn,” he said. Who’s this Christy person? And it’s been a trying time for the two lovebirds.”There have been a couple of crying spells,” Jodi said. “When I felt the feeling, I knew what I was doing right. I just want to be able to get down without stopping.”I know, Jodi. I know.Moguls: Conversation pieceTalking about bump runs brings back fond memories of Merrill Dickson’s ski patrol days. He’s a Tennessee resident now, but grew up in Colorado. “I went to dental school in Richmond, Virginia,” Dickson said. “I met my wife there. I guess the eastern part of Tennessee was as far west as she would go.”They actually do have ski hills in the southeast. Well, sort of.

“I used to work ski patrol in North Carolina,” he said. “It was a ‘ski hole.'”He knows how to ski it all. Cruisers. Crud. Powder. Garbage cans. He skied the trees until he actually ran into one. Since then, he’s been recovering from the shoulder injury the tree gave him. That tree will get its just desserts some day, I’m sure. Despite all this, it hasn’t stopped him.”I’ve got a leg brace now, but I’m still skiing double-black diamonds,” he said. And, Dickson knows a thing or two about skiing the bumps.”I learned by skiing through the troughs,” he said. “If not, you’ll go right over them. You have to keep your balance, keep your weight on your downhill ski.”And then he paused for a moment.”There are people who can ski down groomers without knowing how to ski,” he said. Moguls: Not your average bumpSo bump runs are just for skiers, right? Ha!”I actually think they are easier to go down on a snowboard,” Benedict said.



She demonstrated some tips on how to snowboard moguls the right way. “I do this with my board, and then this,” she said as she sat in the snow, turning her snowboard right and left. Wiggling. You have to wiggle to do bumps. But her fellow boarders aren’t quite as convinced that one board is better than two on moguls.”I’ve never heard anyone say that before,” Chris Andrews replied.One thing is certain, however. Doing bumps is not recommended when you have a bun in the oven.Just ask Catherine Belaski of Littleton. The expecting mother and mogul queen is limited to easy cruiser runs. In fact, she’s not even supposed to ski past the first trimester. “I’m cheating a little,” she said. “But this is my last day.”Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado


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