How to Ski Moguls: Tips From Olympic Skier Kari Traa

Ever wondered how athletes hit those bumps on the ski slope? Want to get better at skiing moguls? Follow this Olympian’s advice.

We’ve got plenty of expert skiers on staff, but we’re no Olympians. If you’re looking for some expert advice on how to ski moguls, try these tips from Olympic mogul skier Kari Traa.

Check out her bio:

  • Started cross-country skiing at age 2, started skiing moguls at 14
  • Won bronze in the 1998 Olympics, gold in 2002 Olympics, and silver in 2006 Olympics
  • 4-time gold medalist in World Championships for moguls and parallel moguls; has 37 victories in total

Tips & Tricks

KariTraa headshot1. Always keep your arms in front of you for balance.

Picture a $100 bill between your shin and the front of your boot. Then picture an egg on the back of your ankle in your boot. You don’t want to squeeze the egg, you want the $100 bill. So you lean forward to keep the $100.

2. Keep your speed and ski between.

You don’t really slow down on moguls; you normally have the same speed. So many people think they’re going to ski over the bumps, but you ski between — in the troughs — so the backs of your skis are touching the moguls. It’s not bad for your knees if you know technically how to ski.

kari traa horizontal
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3. Don’t worry about finding your line.

I’ve always jumped from line to line. But in the Olympics, if you find your perfect line on the first day, it will change. So I ski all the lines, train hard for the jumps, then find my line on the last day of training.

4. Practice, then believe in yourself.

I always told myself simple advice: You’ve practiced, you aren’t going to die. I’m not sure that’s good advice, but it works. Sometimes when you ski, you want to do a jump, but it’s hard to do. So you switch over to skiing technical bumps. Or you just try again the next day with a new start.

So there you go: Lean forward, believe in yourself, and go for it. The moguls are waiting.

Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.