MOGUL DRILLS:  Turn Initiation & Pressure

Fore Aft Drill:   Finding balanced stance on ball of foot.

Start with Unbuckled boots on a flat pitch, cat track or top of lift.  Have the athlete’s rock fully forward then fully backward finally settling on the balls of their feet.  It is important to exaggerate the forward and backward positions in order for the skiers to feel the differences in proper and improper stance so that they can recognize and differentiate.

What are we looking to achieve:  Athletes learn to identify and differentiate proper and improper stance.  To be able to identify difference in stance while skiing.

Common Mistake:  This drill is pretty simple but if executed on too steep of a pitch or at too high of a speed the athletes can become defensive and lose the drills focus.


Boot Flexing Drill:  Getting athletes to flex in the fronts of their boots.

On a flat pitch, cat track or top of lift; start with a flexed knee stance.  Have the athletes alternate flexing into left and right shins, feeling weight over the ball of foot before you start moving.  Have them continue this motion while moving.  Insure that they recognize the weight transfer with the center into each flexion and that the ski turns with the applied pressure.

What are we looking to achieve:  Getting athletes to identify the feeling of flexing in the front of their boots.  Understanding of that shin pressure and knee drive will initiate a turn.

Common Mistake:  Athletes may understand the motion as a bounce from foot to foot.  Remind them that it is a knee and shin drive, not a center bounce.


Lifting Inside Foot: Establishing “New Foot” early in the turn and focus weight on individual foot throughout the turn.

Beginning with a long radius turn, have athletes traverse a fairly gentle pitch.  Athlete will lift inside foot (downhill foot at the time of the turn) as they begin their turn.  The inside foot will remain elevated throughout the turn.  The Athlete drives the turn by focusing weight into outside knee and shin.  As drill is mastered, athletes can move the motion into linked shorter radius turns.  

What are we looking to achieve: Initiating weight transfer early in the turn.  Commitment to individual foot throughout the turn.

Common Mistakes:  Watch for athletes becoming off balance by leaning uphill, away from turn.  Hand counter and hip squaring will help prevent this mistake.


Slip and Dip:  Athletes learn to establish pressure driving knee and creating ankle pressure.

Skier stands in forward athletic position facing across the trail.  Skier  slide down fall line keeping body square to side of trail.  Skier will then come to a complete stop by rolling the knee uphill and pressing shins into the front of the boot.  Skier will then release the pressure and repeat the process.  This drill is meant to be split into 2 sections so that skier can practice the skill on both sides.

What are we looking to achieve:  Demonstrating how edge pressure and ski control can be created with knee roll and shin pressure.  When the skill is applied to turns, the knee roll and initiation of pressure occurs at the “top of turn”.

Common Mistakes:  The most common mistake in this drill is the skier finding their control by pushing their feet.  We want to insure that the stop is a result of knee and shin pressure.  The feet should never travel outside of the hips.



Low to High:  Projection of center forward into top of turn.

Athlete begins in a crouched position traversing fall line preparing for a mid radius turn.  When athlete begins turn, they lift stance projecting center of mass into outside shin.  The weight of the center drives through turn.  When turn is completed, athlete returns to crouched position traversing fall line.  Focus in squaring in order to insure that weight is driven to individual foot.  

What are we looking to achieve:  Understanding bodyweight moves into top of turn and drives turn with weighted foot.

Common Mistake:  Athletes may mistake the low to high as an up and down drill.  The drill is a projection of weight from back to front.


MOGUL DRILLS:  Upper Body, Stance & Countering Positions

Downhill Hand Pointing Drill:

Beginning with a long radius turn, have athletes traverse a fairly gentle pitch.  Have the athlete point their down hill hand at a specific spot down the fall line.  Athlete will then make their turn, keeping the hand pointing at the same spot.  The hand will become their uphill hand reaching down the pitch across their body.  Switch, repeat.

What are we looking to achieve:  This drill is a simple way to start using body counters to weight the downhill ski.  It can translate into “Counter Punch Drill”.

Common Mistake:  This drill is pretty simple, but athletes may become confused about which hand they are pointing with.


TV Screen:  Keep hand reaching down the hill. Vision.

This is one of the oldest and most commonly taught drills in moguls skiing.  Athlete holds the poles upside down so they can be seen in their field of vision.  Athlete is instructed to pick and image down the fall line.  They are to then execute short radius turns, keeping the image within their ski pole “TV Screens”.  If the athlete’s body begins to turn, they are encouraged to use their hands to counter the twisting body in order to keep that image in their screens.  

What are we looking to achieve:  This drill touches on a few different fundamentals.  Vision: the athletes are looking for a specific spot down the hill.  Hand drive:  Don’t let those TV screens drop.  Square body position:  Arms and shoulder must actively counter the turn to remain square down the hill.

Common Mistake:  The squaring of the upper body is the most likely fundamental to be compromised.  Athletes TV screens will be swaying from side to side as they ski.  The counter moves must be active and deliberate.  


Counterpunch: Individual foot and keeping weight moving down the hill.  

This drill can be difficult to understand in terms of timing.  Start with your group standing on the slope facing perpendicular to the fall line.  Ask them to feel the weight distribution in their feet.  The weight should feel close to even between each foot.  Then ask them to drive their uphill hand, shoulder, hip, twisting their bodies to face down the fall line.  They will now notice that the weight is almost completely over their downhill foot.  This is the preface to the idea behind this drill.    Starting with a medium radius turn (tightening the radius as the moves become more familiar) athletes drive their uphill (opposite) hand with the pole plant timing.  Example: Right hand is planting, right ski is downhill, left hand is driving down the hill.  This drill can be added to by incorporating shoulder then hip

What are we looking to achieve:  By driving “opposite” hand the athlete turns weight over downhill foot.  This motion also acts as a catalyst for other body parts to turn in counter motion.

ring the drill useless.  Timing the motion with the weight transfer is also critical in keeping the execution of the motion fluid.

Common Mistake:  Coordination is your friend on this one.  Often athletes will point their downhill hand down the hill and leaving their uphill hand neutral rende Individual foot and keeping weight moving down the hill.


Pole Plant Swings:  Pole Plant Swings Drill can be incorporated into nearly every drill.

On a flat pitch, cat track or top of lift, athletes extend arms in front of them at comfortable height.  Using wrist mobility (NOT arm extension or shoulder turning), flick to pole forward and plant.  Once pole is planted, the wrist retracts to neutral and the opposite wrist begins reaching.    Executing correct timing with the pair of these drills is important.  The pole should plant as the weight is being transferred.  Example: the left pole plants in the snow as the center moves toward the right foot. Once mastered, this drill can be paired with the “Boot Flexing Drill”.

What are we looking to achieve:  It is important at a develop pole plant timing at an early stage.  Pole plant timing is perhaps the hardest change an athlete can make to their muscle memory in later stages of their development.  

Common Mistake:  The most common mistake in this drill is dipping of the shoulder.  Athletes tend to tilt their torso as they extend the reach for their pole plant.  Shoulders should remain square and level, only wrist and elbow extend.  Also meticulous attention to timing is critical.


Freedom of Center Drill:  Allowing the center of mass (COM) to move with the skier as needed, laterally or forward.         

On a medium or blue pitch run, the skier will execute short radius turns with their arms extended out to their sides.  The stance should be tall and the center allowed to move laterally from one foot to the other as well as forward into the front of the boots.  The athlete is encouraged to think of leading with their center, allowing it to move to begin each turn.

What are we looking to achieve:  A skier’s balance is rooted solely in the position of their COM.  As the athlete becomes more comfortable with allowing their center to move freely, they will be able to make balance corrections more easily as well as using their COM more effectively for weight transfers in their technical skiing.

Common Mistake:  This drill is one that needs to be explained well and the athletes need to think about as they are doing it.  By simply demonstrating the drill the athletes may be thinking “why are we skiing with our arms out to our sides?”  If they think as their center is leading them down the fall line, they will begin the shifts and movements with the weight.  


MOGUL DRILLS:  Absorption & Foot Containment

Early Foot Pull:  Establishing foot containment at top of turn.  

In athletic stance, athlete traverses fall line.  At turn initiation, athlete pulls outside or uphill foot back using a hamstring curl motion.  This motion should weight the foot.  The motion signals the beginning of the turn.  The weight (now on the outside foot) drives through the turn.  Be mindful of counters as body will begin to lean away through the turn.  Athlete finishes traversing fall line in the other direction.

What are we looking to achieve:  By containing the new foot at the beginning of the turn, the athlete will be able to weight the weight the front of their ski at the start of the turn.  Weighting the ski at the top of the turn will prevent the ski from sliding away and create a rounder turn shape.

Common Mistake:  Often the athlete will pull the new foot, but then release the pressure almost immediately as they begin the turn.  Once the foot is pulled into a weighted position, the foot must be retained in order to maintain the application of weight throughout the turn.   


Low “Pull” Drill:

Athlete stands with a very low stance, knees bent to about 90 degrees but still maintaining an athletic posture.  From this stance, athletes will make mogul radius turns down the fall line.  The emphasis will be on the pull motion.  Tails lifting of the ground and quads burning are signs that the drill is being executed effectively.

What are we looking to achieve:  The foot containing “pull” motion happens as the skier crests the highest part of the mogul.  Thus the motion will happen when the athlete is in their deepest range of absorption.  Pulling is more difficult from this lower position.  This drill replicates the motion in the moguls more closely.

Common Mistake:  There are a few mistakes to look for with this drill.  The first is the athlete simply not standing low enough.  They can also hinge at the waist and look low without being in a deep range with their legs.  Mainly we just want to see that the hamstrings are curling to pull the feet.   


Tail Hop: Actively “pulling” off of end of turn to initiate early tip drive to the top of the next turn

Athlete first finds a forward stacked position.  Heading directly down the fall line, the athlete begins a series of short swing turns.  On each turn, the athlete makes a “pull” move while moving from left to right foot by contacting their hamstrings.  The tail of the athletes skis should come of the ground with each turn while their tips stay in contact with the snow.  The athletes will bring their knees up with every motion from left to right and their shoulder will stay at the same height throughout the drill.

What are we looking to achieve:  The “pull” motion keeps the foot retained under the skier’s center.  This enables them to find early forward pressure as they initiate the top of their next turn.

Common Mistake:  Athletes often bounce from one foot to the next and their head shoulders and center rise with the hop.  It is important that the “hop” happens with just the legs and the rest of the body travels at an even height.

Another common mistake is that the athlete hop lofting the entire ski.  It is important that the tips stay on the snow, so that the hop is a retraction of the feet under the center.



Mogul Traverse Absorption:  

In a natural mogul field with a gentle slope, have athletes traverse the fall line.  Athletes will absorb the moguls as they encounter them through relaxation of their legs.  Some hinging at the waist may be required to fully absorb the face of the mogul, but the mogul should be absorbed primarily with the legs.

What are we looking to achieve:  Athletes become comfortable with the motions of absorbing moguls at a slower speed and overall less threatening scenario than they would with fall line skiing.

Common Mistakes:  Stiffness/ catching air off back of mogul a clear sign of a defensive approach to this drill (particularly in younger weaker athletes).  If you notice an athletes not bending at the knee and or hinging too much at the waist; have the athlete reduce their speed by traversing a line more perpendicular to the fall line.  At the lower speed the athlete can focus more acutely on the drills purpose.       


Mogul Traverse Foot “Pull” Drill:  

This drill works as an extension of the “Mogul Traverse Absorption”.  As athlete crests the mogul they should be in their deepest absorptions.  In this deepest absorption positions, the feet are stacked in front of the center.  At this moment the athlete should tuck the feet backwards using a hamstring curl accompanied by ankle flexion.  This motion momentarily contains  the momentum of the feet, giving the center a chance to catch up.  From there the athlete can release the range and begin moving body weight back to the front of the ski.

What are we looking to achieve:  By continuously “pulling” to contain feet, the athlete is able to stay forward and balanced with their skiing.  This motion essential acts a reset to the athletes’ athletic position and works to prevent back seat bumpin’.  

Common Mistakes:  The most common mistake with this drill is confusion between “center projection” and “foot containment”.  Athletes will commonly think to extend their legs and move their center trough without using hamstring to contain their feet.  These motions work together, the pull must come first in order to establish a point that the center will then move past.  

MOGUL DRILLS:  Jump Entrance, Takeoff & Landing

info to come.


Mogul Skiing Vocabulary

Free Bumping:  Skiing natural moguls outside of a set mogul course.


Individual Foot:  Used to reference one foot at a time.


Outside Foot:  Foot positioned on the outside of the turn radius.  


Fore Aft Movement:  Movement of pressure throughout the ski from front to back and then back to front


Stacked Position:  Balanced body position in where the shins are pressed in the front of the boot.  The feet are tucked back to be directly under the knee, the knee directly under the hip.  The hands forward and the chest and head up.  


Pull:  Use of hamstring in a backward curling motion to keep the feet positioned under the hips.


Range:  Depth of absorption.  


Foot Containment:  Keeping the feet in a stacked position under the center of mass with the weight on the ball of the foot.


Center Projection:  Active movement in a forward motion to return the center of mass over the ball of foot and front of ski.