Vail Valley running: Skiing moguls helps your running |

Vail Valley running: Skiing moguls helps your running

Greg Decent
Vail, CO Colorado

While I was skiing the large powdery moguls of Prima recently, I thought about the similarities between skiing bumps and trail running.

Learning how to effectively ski moguls can help you run strong and navigate the mountain trails more efficiently when the snow melts in the spring. I believe trail running downhill and mogul skiing are very similar.

Both specific actions of those sports require quick eye-feet coordination, seriously-buffed-up quadriceps, and a skillful use of your core.

When skiing moguls, you must focus on your line to determine where you feet will guide your skis. Trusting your skillful abilty will be helpful as your body experiences the full impact of hardened mounds of snow.

If you choose to remain in the gravity line, then your descent will be faster then if you shop around for the best place to make your next turn. Quick feet and rapid breathing will make you feel as if you are running down the mountain.

When skiing moguls, think as if you are racing down the mountain during one of the Vail Recreation Department’s trail races. Always be two steps ahead with your planning. Your quads will burn and feel wasted if you are sitting back in your ski stance, much as if you were leaning back while running downhill. Remember to lean into the trail, not away from the line of gravity.

Trail running and mogul skiing both require training a strong core and powerful legs. When you ski moguls, think as if you are walking down a flight of stairs. When you walk down stairs, you do not look directly down at the next step, you look a few steps ahead because you know that the step you are about to descend onto is right below you.

This is exactly the same when you are skiing moguls, in order to effectly ski the moguls, you must focus ahead and anticipate your next turn. When you trail run you also look slightly ahead and anticipate where to place your next step. A strong core will help you balance.

Skiing involves sliding and both demand you to find your perfect active balance. If you lean to far forward or too far backwards on your heels, you will soon find yourself on the ground. Powerful legs are essential to make your bump skiing or trail racing experience more enjoyable. The ultimate goal is to master the continuous and efficient line of movement.

To strengthen the core and the quads, the tried and true methods are the most reliable. Wall sits, lunges, and squats are great practice for building up lactic acid resistance. Plank position and standing bicycle crunches attack the entire core area. Standing bicycle crunches are much more effective than in the prone position because your core is acting against gravity.

They also help build up those obliques that are rarely isolated in exercise, but so essential to proper form for downhill running and skiing.

Remember: nothing worth doing is mastered without practice.

Greg Decent writes a running column for the Vail Daily.

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