What is Mogul Skiing?

Adrenaline skiing

Adrenaline, speed, and spin.

Perhaps you’ve watched the Winter Olympics and heard the phrase “mogul skiing”. Just like many other sports the name makes sense if you know the terminology and is a complete head scratcher if you don’t. Of course, if all you’ve ever heard about the sport is an Olympic announcer mentioning the winners of the latest run then you will remain baffled. The short answer to the question of “what is mogul skiing” is that it’s an engaging and edge of your seat winter sport for fans who want to see skiers hurtle down a mountain and jump through the air.

The athlete competes on a course that’s around 650 to 880 feet long. The run is timed and the course is steep and heavily moguled course, hence the name. Moguls are the bumps and hills that form when skiers follow the same path over and over. These can also be formed artificially. Competition judging stresses the aerial maneuvers, speed, and technical skill. The turns are essential to winning. One of the most outstanding mogul skiers nowadays is Dale Begg Smith who won the gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games 2006, as well as the World Cup.


Moguls are nothing if diverse and that adds to the need for skill. Natural moguls can vary depending on the level of the skiers on that particular slope, how steep the slope is, and the condition and type of snow. This makes for a complex course and artificial moguls are meant to duplicate that difficulty level. A competition must have the large variation that natural moguls do in order to properly showcase the skill of the athlete. The variables can include incline, patterns, distance between moguls, shape, as well as sheer size.

Yes, you did see aerial maneuvers earlier. They are an important part of competition when it comes to mogul skiing. They make 20% of a competitor’s final score. Mogul aerial maneuvers include flips, turns, and other gymnastics like feats performed in midair and on skis. Another 20% of their score has to do with how fast they make it through the course. This is definitely a sport where speed matters. That still leaves 60% and that is taken up by the skill with which they make their countless turns. The speed, turns, and acrobatics make Mogul skiing an enthralling thing to watch.

Mogul is a form of freestyle skiing which means it’s in the company of aerial skiing and slopestyle. Aerial skiers are the ones you see going up 9 foot ramps to reach heights of close to 20 feet where they proceed to do incredible flips and twists before landing. Slopestyle is for both skis and snowboards. Athletes of this sport go through a course that’s much like the obstacle courses you might see used in BMX or skateboarding competitions. In other words, mogul skiing is in the fine company of other mind blowing sports.