Mogul Skiing is on the Come Up! Start Paying Attention

Posted on November 4, 2011

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By Tony Sunzeri

As Olympic gold medalist and three-time Audi FIS Alpine World Cup overall champion Lindsey Vonn (Vail, CO) makes her first turns of the season at Golden Peak in Vail recently followed by a 3 hour session at the gym, the US Freestyle Moguls team gears up for their season by eating gummy bears and playing Madden 12 on XBOX.  Oh yeah, and doing sit ups, lots and lots of sit ups to perfect that six-pack.  “Bump skiers” or “gaper gangs” as they are called by their ski racing counterparts are the bad boys of the ski industry.

Jonny Moseley and Glenn Plake are the most famous of them all (followed closely by Harkin Banks from the 1984 movie HOT DOG http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087425/).  Moguls skiers are also the best athletes on the US Ski Team, and maybe even in the world even. Don’t believe me?  Watch the video posted, and tell me anybody can roll out of bed, dust off the Doritos and do that. Ski racers are jealous. They spend their day training, slamming into bamboo gates and using only momentum to carry them down the slopes. Bumpers? Well, they turn their brain off and any sense of well-being for their body flies out the window as their knees absorb moguls the size of mini-coopers  which would re-align the drive train on an F-350. Then they jump; they spin, they flip, then they land in a field of moguls. THEY DO THAT TWICE!  It’s dangerous, fun to watch, and the coolest thing on skis. They’re subjectively judged on only three things: speed, air, and control under absolute chaos.

Members of the US Freestyle Ski Team travel the world navigating challenging bump courses in search of nothing except respect, an occasional free pair of skis from a sponsor, and a thank you from the sports world in a small article in a Podunk mountain town newspaper (I live in South Lake Tahoe, CA, hate mail can be sent to Tsunzeri2@gmail.com). Here’s how it works, there’s no rules. Just stay within your fall line boost off two huge jumps and cross the finish line in one piece.  You are world-class if you can do it in 26 seconds while going the length of  two football fields. It’s also steep.  I was never good at geometry or with that compass thing with the super sharp point on it which could kill a horse, while your scissors couldn’t cut through a paper bag, but the pitch degree varies from 24 degrees to 28 degrees. That leads smoothly into the winter Olympics.

Ok, maybe that segue sucked, but the winter Olympics are in Russia in 2014. Freestyle Mogul skiing is one of the events and usually the only time when it gets any play from the media. I’m changing that. I want to start a tv station where it’s all mogul skiing, all the time. It’s that neat; nd it’s waaaay cooler than ski racing in tights!  P.S.  my next article will NOT be about ballet skiing…google it for a good laugh though!

You can read more about outdoor and extreme games and sports from Tony here. You can also follow him on Twitter @sportscentraltv and email your questions directly to Tony at tsunzeri2@gmail.com

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