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Spot It Before You Launch It

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posted: 01/08/2004

Even good mogul skiers show poor technique when they go to launch airs. As soon as they get off the ground, they immediately look down to see which mogul they're going to land on. It's even worse than staring at your tips as you ski-in the bumps, looking down pushes your weight forward and makes it difficult to land without going ass-over-teakettle.

Instead, do a little homework before launching. First, stand on top of the run where your jump (or mogul) is and pick a landing zone. Picture yourself going off your jump and landing the air or trick successfully, then put it out of your mind. Next, look straight out from the jump and choose an object you can keep your eyes focused on throughout the air. In competitive mogul skiing, this is often the judges' stand, but it could be a rock on the other side of the valley, a chairlift tower, or any stationary object.

As you hit your takeoff, focus on that spot as you pop, extend, and perform your trick. Don't take your eyes off the object until your feet are about to hit the ground. This will keep you standing straight and help you improve your balance on the landing.

Travis Cabral
Age: 20
Height: 5 feet 8 inches
Weight: 180 pounds
Home Area: Sierra at Tahoe, CA
Accomplishments: 2003 World Cup Overall Mogul Champion; six-time World Cup winner; 1999 U.S. National Mogul Champion.
Worst Learning Experience: "I came into the Olympic year with the wrong mind-set. Instead of pushing to do my best and having fun, I was focused on making the Olympic team. Putting too much pressure on myself to ski everything perfectly, I blew it and my confidence went downhill. Last season, I changed my attitude to just going all out, regardless of how I finished. The results speak for themselves. Now I focus on performing at the best of my ability, enjoying every second, and not reaching for perfection."

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