What Are The Characteristics of A Top Mogul Skier Like Matt Graham?

This morning, Matt Graham was awarded Australia’s first medal – one of silver in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the freestyle moguls.

Graham’s second-placed finish was the 3rd time that an Australian has been awarded an award in the event at an Winter Olympics. Dale Begg Smith who was the coach of Graham’s mentor Steve Descovich – took home silver at the 2006 Turin Olympics along with silver medals at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Is Mogul Skiing A Sport?

Official mogul races since. In the International Ski Handbook of the Federation states that a mogul race:

… will consist of a single free skis on a steep course, with a lot of moguled terrain that emphasizes technical turns, aerial maneuvers and speed.

Mogul events comprises at least one round (beginning with a single run for all participants) and a final stage comprising one or more rounds. Graham’s silver medal came following four sessions along the Olympic course, which included one qualifying round, and the three rounds that concluded.

The thing that makes the mogul discipline distinct is the fact that it is also a judged event as well as one that is timed.

Athletes are awarded scores of 100 for their total time (20 points) and their ability to turn maneuvers (60 points) and aerial maneuvers (20 points). In the assessment of turn, five judges decide “rhythmic changes in direction of travel”. Two judges judge the shape and difficultness of a mogul skier’s aerial maneuvers.

The International Ski Federation’s judges handbook offers clear guidelines for granting points to athletes.

Physical Demands

Moguls skiers are faced with a myriad of physical obstacles in their sport. They are able to ski at a high speeds, downhill on steep terrain and must to take the shock to their bodies caused by a myriad of artificially created undulations, referred to as moguls.

The Olympic track is:

… an upward slope with an average slope at 28°, a variation between the two elevations of 110 meters in length, a course length of 250m, and a minimum length of 18 metres. In the middle of the course is comprised of 2 jumps.

While training, athletes have to be able to adapt to the forces they’ll encounter at high speed. They also need to prepare to make two landings down steep slopes as they attempt to perform aerial manoeuvres on a higher level.

In Pyeongchang the athletes faced extremely low temperatures that altered the surface of the ski surface.

Mental Demands

The decision to engage in mogul ski racing requires athletes to improve their mental abilities to handle the amount of training that is required as well as their precision technical abilities, and the ability to withstand the cold temperatures of a snow surface that is different each time they ski.

Like all sports players must consider the risk of injury, especially to their lower legs.

A 2010 study on freestyle skiers revealed:

… The risk of injury among World Cup athletes in freestyle skiing is extremely high, and especially for injuries that are severe. The knee is among the most often damaged body part and is heavily impacted by serious injuries.

Coaching Is A Crucial Part of The Job

Mogul skiing’s tactical and technical aspects offer coaches the chance to build a personal training environment for their athletes.

Australia has the head coach (Desovich) and an instructor for jumping (Jerry Grossi). Both coach athletes in an environment of daily training that spans the globe. Graham has been competing in international events since 2010. He was a finalist in this year’s Sochi Olympics.

The silver medal he won in Pyeongchang is the result of the support of his relatives and close associates, as well as years of hard work and the advice of seasoned coaches.