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Warren Smith Indoor Moguls Course Review

In a previous blog I gave an overview of tactics and techniques that are useful for mogul skiing.  However, skiing is about doing rather than reading, and this blog is about doing- specifically, my experience doing a Warren Smith Ski Academy indoor moguls course at the Hemel Hempstead Snow Centre

Here are the basic course details:

  • What: Warren Smith Ski Academy Indoor Moguls Course
  • Where: Hemel Snowcentre
  • When:  April 2018
  • Cost: £139 (current cost)
  • Hours: 10am-4pm
  • Instructor: Dan and Raf

I arrived at the Snow Centre at 9.15.  This gave plenty of time to get changed into winter gear, get booted and equipped (boot and ski hire is included if you don't have your own), plus have a couple of warm up runs before meeting the instructors and the other course students.  There were 14 of us attending altogether, and after a quick ski-off we were divided into two groups of 7. The overall skiing level ranged from solid intermediate to instructor level, so this course is really suitable for a broad range of skiing experience.  We then did a trademark Warren Smith-style dynamic warm up, before getting straight into some mogul-specific drills.  These were focused on pivoting/twisting movements, as well as rotational separation (i.e. keeping the body facing down the slope while the legs are twisting from side to side). Some videos of these types of drill are given in the previous blog that I mentioned above, but specifically on this course we started off with a moving braquage- see the video here for an example:

This is a great exercise for really developing the range of movement in your hip joints- as these are ball and socket joints, they are the site of any large twisting movement of the legs.  We then went on to hop turns, of the type that you can see here:

Again, there are a great exercise for twisting/pivoting movements.  As a variation of this, we tried tic tacs (or tip taps), which combine twisting movements with training ski co-ordination.  They are hard work, but a great drill!:

Having practiced the drills, we were finally let loose on the bumps at about 11.45, and apart from a short lunch break, we spent the rest of the day making laps on the bumps with regular and tailored feedback from our instructor Dan.  This section of the course varied between drills in the bumps (e.g. skiing with no poles and arms crossed, skiing with no poles and arms out, skiing on just one ski [not easy!]) and free skiing them. This was the part of the day where we started to see really definite progression in people's bump skiing-  I saw obvious improvements from every one who was attending the course.  For my own part, I felt that my mogul skiing was much more flowing than it was at the start of the course and I'm really looking forward to getting into the bumps on my next trip abroad.

Here's a video showing the type of bumps that you can expect at Hemel- I was pleasantly surprised at how well made they were:


So to sum up, here are my main take-home thoughts on this course:

  • handy venue for London/Home County based skiers
  • suitable for a broad range of skiing experience
  • nice mix of drills and less directed coaching
  • surprisingly good bumps
  • enthusiastic and friendly coaches
  • it's cold in the dome, so wrap up warm.  It's easy to get lulled by nice warm weather outside.
  • the bumps section wasn't too busy- most of the other skiers on the slope avoided them!
  • your bump skiing will definitely improve on this course
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