World Cup Freestyle Mogul Runs are Made

World Cup Freestyle mogul runs are crafted, not born!

In my last blog, we discovered how mogul fields were naturally born. Today, we’ll turn to FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Moguls that must be man-made to exact standards. Mogul competitions are deeply rooted into Deer Valley’s ski culture, as the resort has been hosting these events for the past 17 years, including of course, the 2002 Winter Olympics.

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The first freestyle mogul competitions began in 1971 and the FIS Freestyle World Cup Circuit debuted in 1980. The first World Championships were held in 1986 in Tignes, France. Mogul skiing started as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics before becoming a medal event at the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics.

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I asked members of Deer Valley’s mountain venue operations team, to help us understand how Deer Valley creates the impressive freestyle mogul field on Champion ski run. To establish its consistent, regulation-profile, the steepest section of “Champion” had been precisely earth-graded prior to the 2002 Olympics.

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The mountain venue operations team works with a number of outside contractors, volunteers and vendors, to get everything setup, running, to maintain the entire venue, and tearing it down when the competitions are over. It really takes a huge number of players with diverse talents to put up this classic event and produce the stunning show we’ve been enjoying for years.

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To put the event together, the participants are as many as they are distinctively talented. It all begins with the resort’s snowmakers and groomers that are making sure there’s plenty of good snow at the venue. The resort’s snowmaking team starts by blowing all the extra snow needed onto the run. Then a snowcat, using a winch attachment, evens it out over the entire course. The hill is then snow-probed to make sure it’s sufficiently covered. If needed, extra snow will be made and spread around. The snowcat operators then shape the horizontal ridges that become bumps and will be finished into moguls by using hand-tools and skiing them into shape.

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It’s obvious that weather conditions always plays a huge role in building the venue. Cold temperatures are always a plus. This ensures that the resort can make snow. Natural snowfall will have little effect unless it’s a huge storm that produces enormous quantities of natural snow on an already built course. The way Deer Valley Resort goes about building its own venue may differ from what other resorts hosting similar World Cup events might do, depending on the management team involved or the slope characteristics. However, the course must be built to satisfy the International Ski Federation (FIS) specifications.

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Nothing is built randomly, the entire course is measured out to comply with FIS specs. Everything is spelled out, like course width, length, finish corral length, distances from the start line to the first jump and second jump to finish, jump sizes as well as bump width. Dual Mogul events require that four “zipper lines” be built (a zipper line is an alignment of moguls directly down the fall-line, over which skiers literally bounce off the top of every mogul in succession).

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As you can imagine, creating this man-made mogul field is no small task. It takes about 10 days to build it from start to finish. Of course, it’s not just a matter of moving snow around or shaping bumps into ski moguls. The whole process also entails the interaction of the Ski Team officials including the FIS delegates, the Chief of Build, the Chief of Course, and all of the volunteers that will literally pitch-in in building and continuously maintaining the venue.

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The snowcat operators are also critical in building the jump tables, the grades and in grooming the sidelines, as well as the TV camera platforms along the way. The Chief of Build and Chief of Course work together with the respective crews on jump construction and on mogul maintenance. The event crew is responsible for installing the safety fence and the protective pads while the resort’s own electricians are laying power and TV cables on the outer perimeter of the mogul course, so that projectors can be installed and oriented to light-up the venue.

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In recent years, the official FIS specifications governing the course have remained pretty much unchanged, but like anything else, they’re always subject to change. Typically, mogul courses are between 650 and 885 feet long with an average slope grade of 26 degrees. The moguls themselves are set approximately 12 feet apart. The course includes two sets of small jumps that are used as take-off for aerial maneuvers consisting of upright or inverted tricks.

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The Deer Valley course, Champion, has a length of 827 feet with a slope grade of 28 degrees, which is quite steep. Deer Valley’s Champion run is one of the steepest and longest mogul runs there is, making it a very challenging course. It is quite unique as it perfectly mixes the high intensity of skills international athletes bring to the event, with a crowd of 7,000 spectators cheering them on, under the lights!

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Deer Valley Resort's Global Athlete Ambassador, Ted Ligety, is back on skis after 10 weeks of recovering from microdiscectomy surgery. Welcome back Ted! | #DeerValleyMoment ... See MoreSee Less

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Eric HandMore impressed by the steady camera work of whoever was following him

2 days ago   ·  17

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Matthew LivingstonShredd!! You're the best. Same run I fractured my tibial plateau on last year. Glad to see you're back. Hope I can do the same next year.

2 days ago   ·  1
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Lori Mencarelli WalshWELCOME BACK!!! I'm 15 months post op discectomy/laminectomy and last week was my first time on skis since :)) It felt GREAT!!! Best wishes to you and your recovery'!!! Pain free is the BEST!!!

6 hours ago
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Mitch MannWe wore the same color jacket and skied DV today as well, but our skiing form was a tad different.

2 days ago
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Bill PidwellAnd he even slowed down for the slow signs bottom Wasatch -- what a stud!

1 day ago   ·  1
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Rod WoodGreat vid... Almost felt like I was on skiis just bebind him. Luv the speed Luv the feeling

1 day ago
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Priscilla GrahamSitting in Florida in 85 degree weather...you have no idea how good this looks!!

2 days ago   ·  2
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Justin IrishDidn't get to see you at nationals in Colorado but I'm glad your back man !!!

1 day ago
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John TredentTrue carve turn, Ted is one of the best in the world.

2 days ago   ·  2
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Tess TeurlingsTyler Teurlings they finally got around to posting this video of me from spring break

2 days ago   ·  1
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Stephen PohlmanWizard

2 days ago   ·  2
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Larry WeiderThat's what I look like in my head when I ski. It's better I never know what I actually look like.

2 days ago   ·  1
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Kelly DetweilerLooks good to me ☺

2 days ago
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Ron ReillySmooth

2 days ago
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Justin BrownThat guy knows his way around an edge! Awesome!! Steve Levitas Lauren Stone

2 days ago   ·  1
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Max ScottPaul Stu Herlan you guys just missed ripping some runs with Ted

2 days ago   ·  1

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Jeff PetersonHe recovered well! He listened to and followed the instructions of his surgery team!

2 days ago   ·  1
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Wendy Lynne Castle SimkinsLooking good! ⛷Glad to see you are back on skis!

1 day ago
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Dennis BressGreat run and great camera work. :-) Kerry Rutherford

2 days ago

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Octavio BarreraEmilio Fernandez our next level of skiing for next winter 💪🏽

2 days ago

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Scott DillmanGo Ted. I am sure it feels really good to be carving some turns. Enjoy your regained freedom.

2 days ago
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Karen-Cecil ThompsonBeautiful to watch.

1 day ago
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Rod Wood

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Davey ClementMust be closed or no one else can afford to be there.

1 day ago
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Andrew NolandMichael Riley] ... I think he makes a few more turns than us... 😂

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Sunday, March 26, 2017
Deer Valley Resort has recieved over 400 inches of snow this season and still has a 101" base. You can only #SkiTheDifference for three more weeks. | Skier: Jillian Vogtli Video: Chris Morgan / Two Sherpas LLC on Sunday, March 26, 2017.
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Rose JutrasGo Jillian!! What an Ambassador!!

3 days ago   ·  1

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Adi DeOltManon Mbd she has the same color equipment like me. And I skied there. Could it be me? 😂😂😂

2 days ago   ·  1
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Claine CowdrickWhy end the season if there is still enough snow to ski on? Extend the season maximize profits

2 days ago
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Sue Mcjamesgo girl!

5 hours ago   ·  1
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Steve ZebrowskiSure didn't look anywhere near 101 inch base Saturday

2 days ago   ·  1
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Marcela MrugalaIt was a fantastic day of skiing yesterday!

3 days ago
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Ken RuanoMaybe I should come up?

1 day ago
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Brandon BenallyCute but can she ski MOGULS as fast?

3 days ago
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Lori Mencarelli WalshI look just like that skiing!!! ( in my head ; )

7 hours ago   ·  1
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Lou KaltensteinWatched her cut her teeth at Holiday Valley! Go girl!

2 days ago   ·  1
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Indy BaileyVery cool!!

3 days ago   ·  1
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Nic ReneeAwesome skiing this year

3 days ago
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Sheila RoseBobby Quinn and friends!! We are still getting snow!

1 day ago
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Tia Allison Mittelstadt"Received"

1 day ago
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Elaine Lawrencer u having a good time

3 days ago
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Larry TallmanWhat a year and still coming.

3 hours ago
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Kathy Meindel PalmerBeautiful. Have fun

2 days ago
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Tai RobinsonYeah Jillian Vogtli!

3 days ago   ·  1

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