One of our instructors tries his hand at at a fun freestyle moguls competition, the legendary Mogul Mayhem in Zermatt.
“Mogul Mayhem, where to start?
Well it’s my first season here in Zermatt working for ES. So far it’s been absolutely brilliant. I’m having the time of my life, working with a fantastic team of outgoing and like-minded people in what has to be one of the top resorts in Europe!
I was never into ski competitions; I entirely believe that skiing is all about having fun. In my opinion, competitions often get too serious and take the fun out of skiing. I never felt comfortable or confident enough to do them. Never would I have pictured myself in a mogul competition, I always disliked and struggled with skiing bumps and moguls. But when I heard that Mogul Mayhem was coming up and signed myself up straight away. I spent the next few weeks wondering who else would do it with me and I questioned many times if I had somehow lost my sanity, signing myself up for a mogul competition.
Soon the day came along, after little sleep the night before in anticipation. The teams were sorted, ES had two teams competing, each consisting of four members. A member of the opposite sex or a second discipline had to be on each team in order to compete. The competition was going to be tough.
We all met at Iglu Dorf at 10am, suitably dressed in retro gear and looking a little like an 80s tribute band. The weather was looking bad in the morning but luckily we were in a bit if a sun spot and the sun stayed, right up until the end of the day despite the clouds looming over the Matterhorn in the background.
Looking down the course for the first time was extremely scary, waiting for a few people people to go first just made the anxious anticipation worse! Then it was my turn to go, dropping in felt very uncertain but after a few dodgy turns I started to get into the rhythm of it. Just in time for the large moguls to give way to little rut lines in front of the jumps, of which there were two choices. One large with a very steep lip that kicked you right up in the air and the other a much mellower jump that kept your forward momentum up without sending you up into infinity.
Soon the first competition run came up, after skidding the track a little to smooth out the bumps and take the ruts out of the backside of each large mogul. The runs are judged on speed, style and the jump at the finish.
I managed to pull ahead on the first run and it was all going well down the moguls. Then we reached the ruts at the bottom which I actually found harder to begin with. I kept trying to turn in them and could always feel my edges catching on them, but I made it! I played it safe at the jump with a double handed grab under my boots to stay level in the air and not do the helicopter arms that I’d have done if I’d just tried to do a straight air. The landing was good and I managed to win my first run out of three.
Tim, Beth and Max also put in stellar performances with no crashes. Plus, the crowd was great, too! Everyone was welcoming and encouraging to all the competitors that came down throughout the day and it made for a really fun atmosphere.
We were down for a few minutes before being told to return to the top for our next run. It was quickly noticeable how much bigger the bumps had become from people skiing down them and they now had ruts on the backside again that can catch you out in an instant with the wrong edge angle. There were two lines to go down and everyone had a preferred line / side to take. We all preferred the red side on our team, which we had in our first run, but now we had the blue side to deal with.
We all made it down with no incidents in a good time, Tim did a great 360 off the bigger jump keeping his skis nice and level through his rotation picking up some good points. However the opposing team were far stronger than us and actually went on later to be the overall winners of the event.
The final heat was up next and it was a very tough one indeed; the moguls were now like mini Matterhorns and the ruts were like the grand canyon in my opinion. Beth was up first and got off to a flying start with her competitor crashing near the start giving her a great lead. Right up until one of her skis ejected from the pressure created from skiing the moguls. Luckily she had time to climb back up to the ski, put it back on and complete the run before her competitor, winning the run overall.
Then it was my turn, dropping in I was feeling good and I managed to pick up a slight lead although I could always hear my competitors skis bouncing off each mogul just behind me, so I knew it was very very close! There was a set of three particularly tricky and large moguls, where I put a little extra pressure on my heels to skid a little more and scrub off some speed, but unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough! I had to hold the slide over the bump. I landed into the next mogul a little backseat and instantly regretted it as I felt my skis ping off the top of the mogul. Before I knew it I’d cleared the next mogul and crashed down in the dip at the bottom, losing my slight lead and therefore finishing second.
Tim was also caught out in the same spot, but Max managed to get down without any trouble before throwing a backflip off the big jump, and coming extremely close to landing it.
Looking back I’m absolutely stoked to say I took part and tried. Like I said at the start, moguls were never my thing before but now thanks to the training I’ve had over the season with ES and also thanks to this event, I feel far more confident and I’m starting to really enjoy the challenge of skiing them.