Moguls

How to snowboard moguls (Learn from an instructor)

Most snowboarders are afraid of moguls.

Getting your board around those bumps takes skill and bravery. And having a solid technique means everything.

I have been snowboarding for over 25 years and have been teaching others for 10 years. Since becoming an instructor I have noticed that very few riders can ride moguls in control.

I am writing this article to share my knowledge. Below you will learn how to snowboard moguls with style.

Let’s get started.

How to snowboard moguls: Six simple steps

  1. Choose the right mogul field. Start learning on a less steep (blue) mogul field. With smaller size moguls.
  2. Pick a line. Stand at the top and pick a suitable line down. Visualise the path you will take and where you will turn.
  3. Stand correctly. Knees bent, relaxed joints, weight balanced over both feet and looking where you are going.
  4. Absorb the impact. Slide into the moguls absorbing the impact with your knees to kill speed.
  5. Turn on top of the mogul. Start turning when you reach the top of the bump. Completing your turn as you slide down the back side.
  6. Look for the next turn. You should always be planning. Spot the next turning point and reset your stance in preparation.
Mogul field

What are moguls in snowboarding?

Moguls are large mounds of snow that cover a slope. They form large bumps across the hill. Hence, moguls are often referred to as ‘mounds’ or ‘bumps’.

You will find many moguls grouped. And they can often cover an entire hill – stretching hundreds of feet down the mountain.

A broad set of moguls covering a slope is known as a ‘mogul field’.

Moguls usually form on steep slopes. That’s because many riders are making tight, skidded turns to control their speed. This pushes the snow into mounds.

Snowboarders often find moguls difficult to ride. They require great balance and technical skill to produce many tight turns in quick succession.

Mogul field

Detailed instructions on how to snowboard moguls

1) Choose the right mogul field

The first step is finding a mogul field that suits your snowboarding skill level.

Anyone new to moguls needs to start on a shallow slope – ideally intermediate (blue) steepness.

The moguls should not be too tall. And there should be space on either side of the mogul field for you to exit onto a ski slope if you lose control.

The biggest mistake people make when learning moguls is choosing the wrong slope. Don’t be a hero – pick the easiest slope you can find.

Move on to more challenging mogul fields once you have mastered the technique on intermediate terrain.

2) Pick a line

You need to plot a route before you start.

Every mogul field has many lines you can take. It’s about choosing a route where you can link some consistent turns.

Beginners best start with an indirect line. This allows you to traverse wider across the slope. Making it easier to control your speed.

You can pick a more direct line once you improve your skill and confidence. This line keeps your pointing down the slope. It’s a faster line with tighter turns.

The main thing is to pick a line where you can visualise yourself making consistent turns. You should always be thinking a few turns ahead.

Be proactive instead of reactive.

3) Stand correctly

Stance is everything. And that goes for all aspects of snowboarding.

You should have a relaxed posture with all joints bent a loose. Bent knees are especially important.

Weight should be balanced evenly across both feet. Make sure you are looking at where you are going. Spotting where your next turn is going to be.

Being in this ready position heading into the first mogul is vital. Put yourself in a position to control the ride.

4) Absorb the impact

Hit the first mogul and allow your body to compress.

Your bent knees will cushion the blow and your body will compress.

Absorbing this way reduces your speed. And makes it easier to control your direction.

Make sure you stay centred at all times. Leaning back will lead to problems.

5) Turn on top of the mogul

Keep absorbing as you go up the face of the mogul.

You will then feel a release of pressure when you reach the top. This is your opportunity to turn.

The best type of turn in tight mogul fields is a pivot turn. This means spinning your front leg – and using your back foot to push the board around.

There may be times when you can wait for the board to come around without pivoting your back foot. But sharper pivot turns help you control your speed in tight areas.

You will complete the turn as you slide down the back of the mogul.

6) Look for the next turn

Reset your body into your most athletic snowboard stance. Centre yourself if you were knocked off balance by the previous mogul.

Now look for the next turn. Plot your route and prepare to start absorbing the next bump.

Remember to reset your balance after every mogul. Hitting the next bump with a poor stance guarantees falling.

Repeat these steps as you head down the hill.

And don’t forget to celebrate when you reach the bottom!

Moguls

Snowboarding steep moguls

Many mogul slopes are steep. This is because moguls are created by people skidding – which pushes the snow into mounds.

Steep slopes make it more difficult to control your speed.

You need to perform tighter turns when snowboarding steep moguls. You will spend less time facing down the hill – which controls your speed.

This is a situation where you will use a pivot turn. Rotating with your front foot and kicking the back of the board around quickly.

You can also traverse across the slope for longer between each turn. This will give you time to reset your stance and calm your nerves.

Remember to take your time. Too many riders rush into turns when they are not ready.

Speed control is everything. Just take it one turn at a time and try to relax. A calm mindset improves your stance and balance.

Snowboarding steep bumpy snow

How do you snowboard on bumpy snow?

Bumpy snow is less challenging than moguls.

You are still able to complete wide, sweeping turns and maintain control.

The key to bumpy snow is having a relaxed stance. All your joints should feel loose. Ready to absorb the bumps.

Allow your knees to flex and extend beneath you. These are your shock absorbers. Your upper body remains stable throughout.

Continue to pick your line carefully. Look for space in the bumps to turn on a flatter section.

Return to your shock-absorbing, balanced position after every turn.

And have fun! Bumpy snow can be awesome on a snowboard. You might even catch some air if you get enough speed.

Snowboarding bumpy snow

Most common mistakes when snowboarding moguls

Choosing the wrong slope

I have seen many riders need to unstrap and walk down a mogul field. They were defeated.

This only happens if you choose a slope above your skill level.

Be humble and start on an intermediate slope.

Choose a short mogul line to practice. And lap it constantly until you improve.

Choosing the wrong line

You can stop a suitable line when standing at the top of the slope.

Look to see where other riders go. And that might be a good line to follow.

Make it easy for yourself by spotting good turning places in advance.

You should always be thinking 3 turns ahead when snowboarding moguls.

Incorrect stance

Stance is everything on moguls. Because it helps you balance.

Keep your body in a relaxed position. Bent knees are important to absorb the shocks and reduce speed.

Stay centred over your feet. Resist the temptation to lean back.

Get the basics of stance down and you will find every aspect of snowboarding easier.

Lack of confidence

Most riders are scared of moguls.

Fear causes you to tense up. And you then cannot absorb the bumps.

Being scared also causes you to lean back. So you will land on your butt when you hit a large mogul.

Only attempt mogul fields you feel confident enough to attack.

Start on small slopes that don’t fill you with fear. And don’t attempt any moguls until you’ve mastered the basic technique.

Snowboarder falling on a mogul field

Advice from an instructor

Practice is everything.

Learning how to snowboard moguls takes dedication. Because it’s not easy.

Find yourself a good instructor and pick up a few lessons. They will see your shortcomings and give you actionable advice.

Take the advice and constantly lap a mogul field until you find some level of control.

And remember to stay safe. Riding moguls is challenging and falling in bumps can be painful.

But above all – enjoy every moment. Snowboarding is an amazing sport and this is another challenge that you can overcome.