Virtual Bump


Virtual Bump

When we execute turns, the direction we’re moving down or across the slope is always changing.   As such, so too is the angle at which we’re descending the mountain. 

Think of it this way; if we were skiing straight down the falline of a slope that had a 45 degree pitch, our angle of decent would be 45 degrees.  Simple, right?  If, however, during that falline descent, we were to execute a turn to the right, and continue turning until our skis were pointing 90 degrees to the falline, our angle of descent at that end of that turn would be 0 degrees.  We would, at that moment, not be going downhill at all.

That is exactly what happens through the bottom half of a turn.  Our angle of decent lessens.  The sensation is that of skiing up a bump.  Our skis are turning uphill, we feel compression, and we slow down. 

As the new turn begins, we again begin to turn back towards the falline, and our angle of decent steepens.  It’s as though we have crested the top of a bump, and have now begun to ski down the back side of that bump.  Our angle of descent is now growing, the hill is falling away from us, pressure lightens, and our speed accelerates.  This continues through the entire top half of the turn, until we reach the falline. 

A series of turns is similar to skiing over a series of bumps.  We go up the front of a bump through the bottom half of each turn, and down the backside of that bump through the top half of the next turn.  The transition between turns mimics the top of the bump. 

We all know what happens to us when ski over a bump.  As we crest the top of the bump, our momentum tends to keep us moving up, while the bump decides to go down.  Hello air time.  The same thing happens as we go through the transition between turns.  The faster we’re traveling, and the sharper we’re turning, the bigger the bump, and the more unweighting we experience as we transition from one turn to the next, cresting the top of the virtual bump.