In Skiing, what is a Mogul?

Malcolm Tatum

A mogul is a bump that is found on a slope that's naturally formed when a skier passes down a slope and makes turns. As the turn is executed, the snow is kicked up and resettles into a bump. Some are be intentionally created as part of the preparation for the competition sport of mogul skiing.

A bump on a ski slope is referred to as a mogul.
A bump on a ski slope is referred to as a mogul.

Moguls help skiers in a number of ways. One of their most valuable uses is as a landmark. People who are out skiing and looking to follow along paths that are traveled by other skiers can use the presence of the mogul to identify the best ways to get down various slopes. They are able to do this based on the fact that mounds of snow are present that were obviously created by other people.

Fresh snow can bury moguls.
Fresh snow can bury moguls.

Along with being excellent landmarks to help skiers find interesting paths, the mogul can also serve as a means of tracking skiing activity. This is especially important if someone becomes lost and needs to retrace steps, or rescue crews are called in to look for a missing skier. Since moguls are created by turns and pivots taken during skiing, an expert can read the formation of the mogul and determine which direction the skier went, even if more snow has begun to cover over the ski blade tracks.

Along with these practical applications, moguls are also the means of setting up a course to test the skill level of the skier. Mogul skiers are expected to advance through a course on a downward slope that is riddled with the presence of various sizes of mounds or bumps. The goal is to successfully complete the course without ever running over any one of the mogul formations that have been set up along the course. A good skier is able to get through the course without damaging even one mogul, and doing so within a short period of time.

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