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Mogul Skis: The Bump Busters

Mogul Skis: The Bump Busters

Gear
By Doug Sabanosh
posted: 12/12/2001

Bump skis take a pounding. They flex and rebound hundreds of times a day, sometimes in a single run. Skiers rip zipper lines on them, hit moguls at high speeds and land big airs on them. To endure this punishment, a bump ski must be rugged and durable, yet snappy, light and quick from edge to edge.

In the old days, before bump-specific skis hit the market, mogul skiers simply used all-mountain skis or slalom race skis, which tended to have most of the aforementioned qualities. As mogul skiing became more popular in the Eighties, with professional mogul competitions and bump tours springing up, ski manufacturers began to make mogul-specific skis and developed them with the other championship skis in their production lines. And yet, mogul skis have always been, if not exactly the bastard child, then at least the last segment of the market to be researched and served by manufacturers.

Why? Mogul skis have special needs and design restrictions that limit their versatility out of the bumps. They are generally softer (especially in the tail), have mostly foam and/or fiberglass cores and have relatively no sidecut, which makes them harder to turn on or off piste. Since shaped skis inundated the ski world in the mid-Nineties, ski manufacturers have concentrated on developing new shapes, sizes and constructions for slalom, GS and all-mountain skis and more or less neglected to develop mogul skis. The reason: They are a small niche for manufacturers, and their design is pretty straightforward; maximal flex, rebound and torsional rigidity with minimal weight. Bump skis do not change drastically because they are used specifically for moguls and the overall design has proven to work well. Basically, mogul skis change when world-class mogul skiers ask for them to change.

Today, ski manufacturers are designing bump skis with the same technology they use for their other world-class ski lines and experimenting to a small degree with sizes and shapes. The 180-190 cm bump skis of yesterday are now 170-180 cm. However, not too much has changed from the "old-school," straight bump skis found in the beginning of the 1990's. Sure, manufacturers have incorporated twin-tip designs, wider waists and lighter core constructions, but in terms of size and shape, they are nearly the same.Here's a look at what's changed; or hasn't; and what's available this season for the bump basher in you.

Dynastar
Assault Superior
86-61-76
175-190 cm
$695
The ski that has won more gold medals than any other bump ski in history returns for the 2001-02 season with improved graphics and a beefy design. The Assault Superior core is built with Rohacell acrylic foam and wood stringers, with fiberglass "leaf spring" construction for more flexibility, power and durability. Rohacell acrylic foam is very lively and is used to make the ski lighter, quicker and more energetic. It's so lively that Dynastar weaves wood stringers through the foam to dampen it, giving it a mellower feel. Fiberglass sheets are stacked in horizontal piles inside the core in a "leaf spring" formation to keep the ski torsionally stiff (twist-resistant) while maintaining longitudinal flex. The Assault Superior is specifically designed for bump skiers. It has a double sidecut radius of 21m in the tip and 39m in the tail.

Fischer
Lunar
90-62-78 mm
171, 181, 191 cm
$595
Hot off the last year's production line, the Fischer Lunar hits the market this year with modified cosmetics. Fischer builds the Lunar using four technology breakthroughs: Air Carbon, Power Vacuum, Power V PDT and Twin Tip. AirCarbon technology comes straight from Fischer's Aircraft Division (Fischer Advanced Composite Components). Built with a vertical wood laminate core that is strategically layered and wrapped with AirCarbon weaves, the Lunar is durable. AirCarbon technology prolongs the life of the ski's ex and camber because it is resistant to degradation and fatigue. AirCarbon weaves allow the ski to flex properly then return to its original camber. Power Vacuum is a production technology that allows Fischer to combine various materials in optimum configurations throughout the ski. The result is quick response from the ski and maximum power transfer and edge-grip from tip to tail. Power V PDT technology allows Fischer to offer superior swing-weight and shock dispersion in its skis during landings and bump bashing. It does this by transferring power along the center of the ski, then fanning it out at the tip and tail to optimize pressure distribution. Basically, the ski directs power toward the tip and tail after impact to initiate a turn or spin. Twin-Tip technology allows the ski to release easier at the end of a turn as well as allowing for smooth landings both forward and backward.

K2
Lava Lamp
84-64-74
175, 180, 185, 190 cm
Price: $449
The ski that won Olympic gold in Nagano, Japan in 1998 is back with new graphics and a new name. The Lava Lamp is a competition bump ski designed to be quick down the fall line and very lightweight and maneuverable. The triaxial braided fir/spruce wood core allows the Lava Lamp to be very lively, flexible and light while maintaining a snappy flex pattern. The Triaxial braided core was introduced by K2 in 1988 and is recognized as one of the best torsion box constructions available. The process wraps an interlocking fiberglass weave around the skis' wood core at 38 degrees to provide a strong, lightweight, durable ski that is torsionally stable. The result: greater turn response with less effort while keeping a sensitive feel for the snow. Braided torsion box skis tend to have more lively and energetic characteristics that provide a high degree of rebound and performance.

Nordica
Air Drive TT
104-73-95 mm
140, 150, 160, 170 cm
$449
Nordica hits the market this year with two models of mogul skis, the AirDrive TT and the Pipe Drive TT. Straying from the "traditional" bump ski design (very narrow waist and little shape), Nordica designed its bump ski to be a little more versatile. With a 73-mm waist, the TT is wider than most bump skis. Rather than being strictly a competition bump ski, the TT line is like an all-mountain ski that rips in bumps. The width underfoot makes the TT line more versatile and stable when a skier ventures out of the bumps and on or off piste. Made with a wood core that is reinforced with carbon instead of metal, the TT is not only lighter, but it also flexes and rebounds more smoothly and more progressively. The sandwich cap construction and twin-tip design allows the TT line to release easier, making for a smoother transition from turn to turn.

Salomon
Teneighty Mogul
95-66-82 mm
170-180 cm
$675
Basically the same ski as last year but with new graphics, the Teneighty Mogul is a bump-specific ski designed by bump skiers for bump skiers. It's designed with a beefy single-wall, wood-core cap construction that ensures lots of rebound energy. The poplar core is strong and lightweight and responsive. A quasi twin-tip design allows for easier turn release, eliminating the chances of hooking the tail when coming out of a turn. Salomon designed the Teneighty Mogul with a slightly wider waist with the philosophy that a narrower ski tends to be more critical and that landing big airs is easier on a wider platform.

Rossignol
Mogul
99-66-87 mm
168, 178 cm
$569
Rossignol hits the mogul market this year with a totally new ski called the Mogul. Developed with their World Cup mogul athletes Donna Weinbrect and Toby Dawson, Rossi designed the Mogul to be the first real new-school bump ski. The Mogul gets a wider waist than traditional bump skis (about 4 mm wider) to give it a bigger platform underfoot for more support when landing big airs. The Mogul also has as a twin-tip design for quicker release down the fall-line at the end of a turn as well as for backwards aerials. With its Dualtec construction (short, thick vertical-sidewall construction on the bottom for progressive flex; cap construction on top for rebound and edge-grip) the Mogul flexes and rebounds with great energy.

Volkl
V Straightline
89-63-78 mm
180, 185, 190, 195cm
$600
Skied by the likes of World Champion and two-time Olympic Gold medallist Anne Battelle and World Cup and Olympic Team member Alex Wilson, the Straightline is intended for aggressive fall-line bump skiers. It's a traditional, bump-specific ski with very little shape, built with Volkl's Sensorwood Core and Powerglass construction. The Sensorwood core is Volkl's highest performance core construction. Used in all its World Cup race skis, it's very responsive. Combined with a special fiberglass laminate, the Straightline flexes and rebounds more consistently and is more durable. If you're having trouble finding the V Straightline in stores, don't be discouraged: Because bump niche is tiny, retailers tend to buy it in small quantities, but can special-order it directly from the factory.out 4 mm wider) to give it a bigger platform underfoot for more support when landing big airs. The Mogul also has as a twin-tip design for quicker release down the fall-line at the end of a turn as well as for backwards aerials. With its Dualtec construction (short, thick vertical-sidewall construction on the bottom for progressive flex; cap construction on top for rebound and edge-grip) the Mogul flexes and rebounds with great energy.

Volkl
V Straightline
89-63-78 mm
180, 185, 190, 195cm
$600
Skied by the likes of World Champion and two-time Olympic Gold medallist Anne Battelle and World Cup and Olympic Team member Alex Wilson, the Straightline is intended for aggressive fall-line bump skiers. It's a traditional, bump-specific ski with very little shape, built with Volkl's Sensorwood Core and Powerglass construction. The Sensorwood core is Volkl's highest performance core construction. Used in all its World Cup race skis, it's very responsive. Combined with a special fiberglass laminate, the Straightline flexes and rebounds more consistently and is more durable. If you're having trouble finding the V Straightline in stores, don't be discouraged: Because bump niche is tiny, retailers tend to buy it in small quantities, but can special-order it directly from the factory.

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