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Do expensive poles really make much of a difference? - Page 3

post #61 of 89

Cheap poles are not, on their own, a problem. It's the cheap, assembled-in-a-non-replaceable manner, annoyingly stiff STRAP that made me regret getting the cheapo poles I currently have.
 

post #62 of 89

I don't care what anyone says,  unless you are racing, poles are poles.   I still have a pair of fiberglass poles and some plain rental poles that i got for free with a purchase.  

post #63 of 89
Ski poles are just balancing accessories. Just go with whatever out can afford. Nobody cares what poles you carry. Granted regular aluminum poles will bend with excessive force so buy whatever is durable and in your price range.

Sent from a Samsung Fascinate running CM 10.1
Edited by tekweezle - 3/16/13 at 11:59pm
post #64 of 89
In college I worked at a few mountains in NH and when I left at night there was always single poles left on the racks sitting next thier broken siblings. I ended up buying a pipe cutter ans started bringing the poles home and cut many many ski goes down to the height I liked and gave away many sets to friends The good thing was no one would ever steal. A miss matched pair and I haven't bought poles for over 20 years....
post #65 of 89

After 9 years with the Scott Composite, the very nice straps were fraying and looking shabby. With one email and an included photo, Scott sent me a new set. Lookin' sharp again.

post #66 of 89

Poles are poles. Do you write better with a stolen hotel desk pen, or a Waterman deluxe? They both get ink on the page, but one might feel more comfortable in your hand then another . As far as the OP is concerned (10/16/11? really?) If you rent skis and boots, or even just skis, most shops will throw in completely adequate poles for free, thus showing where poles live in the equipment food chain.  

 

For most beginners I take the poles away. Until you know what to do with your feet your hands are just a distraction. I'm perfectly happy to ski with out poles if I forget mine. If I'm planning on heavy duty bumping where poles really do help I'll use any old rental pole if I feel I must have them. Wind resistance means more to me then weight. A fat pole if skiing quite fast (or on a windy day) is harder to swing easily, but to me weight is a non issue. The swing does more for you then the plant, thus a heavier pole needs less movement for similar results then a light pole.

 

For me personally I use adjustable Al/comp Leki trigger poles. After adjusting to them I like how when clipped in the poles can't fall out of alignment with my hand. I like that they can pull free if they get caught in something without separating my shoulder (although I do unclip when in the trees 'cuz why take chances). I like that after getting on average 3 seasons out of a pair of Al poles before bending them the (skinny) composite shafts straighten themselves after a  bad fall or other bend prone adventure. 

 

I like their being adjustable. As someone who alpines and teles I need only keep track of one pair of poles. I like that in "land rush" rope dropping situations I can run them out looong for a more powerful skate. As an instructor if I'm teaching pole less client who is ready, or who have the wrong length pole I can set up mine for them so they can feel how the right pole can enhance what they do. 

 

Over all I would just repeat what I heard somewhere in a discussion of the relative importance of various pieces of gear. "After all they call it skiing, not poling".

post #67 of 89
Ive seen a slight uprise in people actually going hipster with their poles to make them out of things that shouldnt be poles or purposefully lowtech.
And humble-bragging that oh I made these out 2 umbrellas that I found or out of wooden golf clubs or canes I rescued from a dumpster 15 years ago.
post #68 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post

Poles are poles. Do you write better with a stolen hotel desk pen, or a Waterman deluxe? They both get ink on the page, but one might feel more comfortable in your hand then another . As far as the OP is concerned (10/16/11? really?) If you rent skis and boots, or even just skis, most shops will throw in completely adequate poles for free, thus showing where poles live in the equipment food chain.  

 

 

You're supposed to take the hotel pen, you're not stealing it. Don't you feel a whole lot better now?

For those of us who are hard on poles the better quality thicker aluminum is less likely to bend. Or buy cheap ones and replace as necessary. But I'm very partial to adjustable poles, once you get over the beginner/intermediate thing, if you ski off piste, sidecountry, etc.  Why would the same pole length work for hardpack and three feet of pow?.  And for long climbs and traverses lengthening the pole makes it a lot less work.  I like my BD traverses.

post #69 of 89

It seems like the grip & strap makes the bigger difference to me than carbon/aluminum.  That said, I have an old pair of Leki carbons with the cork grips.  I like the swing weight but the grip and short strap just don't fit my hand (large glove size).  Can the the grips/straps be replaced...easily?  If so what you recommend?

post #70 of 89

I will only use bamboo.

post #71 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post

It seems like the grip & strap makes the bigger difference to me than carbon/aluminum.  That said, I have an old pair of Leki carbons with the cork grips.  I like the swing weight but the grip and short strap just don't fit my hand (large glove size).  Can the the grips/straps be replaced...easily?  If so what you recommend?

maybe the straps are only meant to go around your hand, and not your wrist.  

post #72 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdiddy View Post

maybe the straps are only meant to go around your hand, and not your wrist.  

Hmmm...now that is a possibility that I didn't consider.  Being a relative newcomer (in old flesh) I havent seen a hand only configuration, but given it's length, it would definitely be easier to get off (no more panic in the lift line). I just don't think the retention (in a fall) would be very effective, but it might be a bit safer from a wrist/thumb fracture standpoint.

post #73 of 89

Could not agree less that "poles are poles." That idea comes from skiing in positions where you don't hold them correctly, so the swing weight doesn't much matter. Eg, along these lines: http://www.google.com/search?q=skiing+posture&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FSBHUYq6LqnD4APS5YCACA&ved=0CFAQsAQ&biw=1566&bih=914#imgrc=Bv1ZpRfz2ZyQNM%3A%3BhLfQhGQ89R7EEM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fpeakleaders.com%252Fwp-content%252Fuploads%252F2012%252F02%252Fblog-3-11.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.peakleaders.com%252F2012%252F02%252Fbanff-f-t-t-p-q-r-s-ast1%252F%3B640%3B378

 

But if you take your skiing seriously: http://www.google.com/search?q=skiing+posture&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FSBHUYq6LqnD4APS5YCACA&ved=0CFAQsAQ&biw=1566&bih=914#imgrc=zZIX66LfDZx0OM%3A%3Bf4qJE1uDJfKJ6M%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fcdn.epicski.com%252Fc%252Fc3%252Fc3efc31f_Vonn.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.epicski.com%252Ft%252F90579%252Fwhere-do-we-want-our-hips-over-our-feet-why-do-we-want-to-move-our-hips-forward%252F150%3B3000%3B2000

 

Or even are just a solid rec skier: http://www.google.com/search?q=skiing+posture&hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FSBHUYq6LqnD4APS5YCACA&ved=0CFAQsAQ&biw=1566&bih=914#imgrc=SzjefDojDgigbM%3A%3BP6jjnNBKm-GWnM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252F3.bp.blogspot.com%252F-GsODnFeF2yQ%252FTpOJq-WPlYI%252FAAAAAAAAAEI%252FXR6AuwaC-98%252Fs1600%252Fskiing2.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.stevenricefitness.com%252F2011_10_01_archive.html%3B340%3B512

 

Point being, poles with a higher swingweight - which isn't the same as total weight, although that also figures in to the basic problem - are going to discourage good hand and arm position, over the hours encourage dragging the uphill pole behind during a turn or keeping them pointed down so the only movement is a big stab at the snow to try to time turns. (Which will make you late, BTW.)

 

If you don't believe me, next time you're on the slopes, try a training trick. First, pretend you're Vonn without gates that you need to block: Do a whole run with your arms away from your sides, relaxed but mostly extended at the elbows, hands a little in front of your hips but not reaching way forward, pole shafts parallel down the fall line, eg, past horizontal enough to stay off the snow. Keep your arms and hands relatively quiet, only the poles are doing much movement, so obviously you're square down the fall line and your hips and legs are going the major movements, not your upper body. How are you supporting the poles? Are they light enough that you're using your 4th and 5th fingers to support them, or heavy enough that you're cocking your wrists downward? Does the cocking include a curl inward so the poles flare out? Is it hard to keep them off the snow behind you when you stop concentrating?

 

Now next run, same idea, same quiet hands, but add a proper pole tap each turn, so the outside (downhill) pole just flicks at the snow at initiation while the inside stays parallel to the fall line and off the uphill snow. Do you begin to notice the small forces required to have the poles constantly trading this motion? Do you see that when we quiet the hands and arms down, the poles are being moved by comparatively small muscles of the hand and fingers instead of big muscles like the triceps and delts?

 

Now explain how poles don't matter...wink.gif

post #74 of 89

Nope.

post #75 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplemind View Post

Hmmm...now that is a possibility that I didn't consider.  Being a relative newcomer (in old flesh) I havent seen a hand only configuration, but given it's length, it would definitely be easier to get off (no more panic in the lift line). I just don't think the retention (in a fall) would be very effective, but it might be a bit safer from a wrist/thumb fracture standpoint.

I never put straps around my wrists, always around my hand.    It's also kind of an unwritten rule in the backcountry to avoid being pinned down by your poles if submerged in an avalanche.  

post #76 of 89

I like good poles and I cannot lie.

post #77 of 89

Scott Series 4 aluminum poles. icon14.gif

post #78 of 89
+1 what Alexzn said.

Scott Series 4 poles seem just right.
post #79 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post

Poles are poles. Do you write better with a stolen hotel desk pen, or a Waterman deluxe? They both get ink on the page, but one might feel more comfortable in your hand then another.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldgoat View Post

You're supposed to take the hotel pen, you're not stealing it. Don't you feel a whole lot better now?

 

But I just went in to write something down, not rent a room and walked off without returning it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Could not agree less that "poles are poles." That idea comes from skiing in positions where you don't hold them correctly.


Now explain how poles don't matter...wink.gif

 

 

For the same reason that some people feel they need a suburban to be safe driving on a dusting of snow, and others are happy to be in any econobox even in 4+ inches.

 

Your own arguments are based on technique rather then the actual pole. I would submit that if you gave Vonn a couple lengths of 1" galvanized pipe with grips and baskets it would make no difference in her hand placement. I would expect to see pole movement be reduced to near zero as the polar moment of the overall weight and swing weight of the pole make tiny moves very effective. Try skiing carrying 5 gallon carboys of water some time if you want real direct feedback, your hands won't be up but a tiny wrist twist can turn you around (and you can really fly on traverses). 

 

The range of available poles are such that while some may be easier to to use properly then others, none are a bigger driver of poor technique then not knowing proper hand placement in the first place. Over 30+ years of teaching I've spent a lot of time talking about hand positioning, but outside of the bumps very little talking about "pole use".

 

The one caveat I would give is the old sabre grips that were supposed to save your thumbs, but mostly made it impossible to swing the pole without swinging your whole arm. As I seldom see them any more I don't think they matter in this discussion.     

post #80 of 89

There is a new incarnation of the old Sabre poles.  Better design, lighter weight (I have the carbon ones), and safety release built in so no worries about straps, wrists, or accidents in the trees.

 

Not very common, but they can be found:

 

http://www.komperdell.com/en/poles/freeride/sabre_grip/index.php

post #81 of 89
I never gave much thought to ski poles, but now I think I could take my skiing to a whole new level buy getting a very light helium fillled pair of aerospace grade carbon fiber poles. Do they make such a beast? If not, I think I will start my own ski pole company. I'm going to patent the idea tonight.
post #82 of 89

Just make sure the poles are properly tuned.  1/3 bevels, and a 2 on the basket wink.gif

post #83 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnerbob View Post

Just make sure the poles are properly tuned.  1/3 bevels, and a 2 on the basket wink.gif

No NO NO NO,  the Bevel is not important but the type of wax used on the baskets is key....  duel.gif

post #84 of 89
Of course you need the fat powder baskets because the skinny ones won't work at all.
post #85 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

Of course you need the fat powder baskets because the skinny ones won't work at all.

 

post #86 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post

Your own arguments are based on technique rather then the actual pole. I would submit that if you gave Vonn a couple lengths of 1" galvanized pipe with grips and baskets it would make no difference in her hand placement. I would expect to see pole movement be reduced to near zero as the polar moment of the overall weight and swing weight of the pole make tiny moves very effective. Try skiing carrying 5 gallon carboys of water some time if you want real direct feedback, your hands won't be up but a tiny wrist twist can turn you around (and you can really fly on traverses). 

Not an engineer, and maybe you are, but think you have the argument backwards, and seems to me you're using an incorrect physical example. Obviously Vonn could use a 1" pipe. But she doesn't. Why? Why are higher performance poles, whether metal or carbon, so light? The answer isn't just marketing. A pole with you at one end and a higher swing weight will require more force to move from point A to point B. It will have a higher moment of inertia. That, in turn, will influence the dynamics of the turn, especially in skiers who don't have the forearms to use their own galvanized pipe. I'd guess the second biggest single problem for high intermediates to advanced's (after COM, but part of it really), is late turn initiation. And I think poles play a role.

 

Here's why I think this:

 

Yes, it's very easy to statically hold a barbell at the axis of the polar moment of inertia. Or move buckets at each end of a pole with a small movement. But that's an incorrect model IMO. The grip of a ski pole is at the axis of rotation in a system where your arm and shoulder muscles, but with good technique, mainly just your wrist muscles, are taking the place of the counterweight you envision. So the wrist becomes defined as one end. At least that's what any biomechanics text in the land works it out as, classic example being lifting a book off a table: T, torque or moment of force, is defined as the total weight. F will be the force required to move that weight some distance at an arc. r is the moment arm, or perpendicular distance. So as T is increased by using a heavier book/pole (assume r is constant), F will have to increase. Or if you want to think in terms of inertia,  angular inertia will increase as mass does, meaning that the heavier book/pole swing will either require more F, or slow down your initiation, an issue of angular acceleration.

 

Think about all the biomechanical studies of swinging a tennis racquet or golf club or baseball bat in this regard. They are all about swingweight and its impact on shaft/bat speed at contact and muscular force, they all define the pivot as roughly where you grip the bat or club, sometimes where the machine can grip it, and they all worry about what's happening out at the end of the shaft. If you're concerned about the other end of the system up at the elbow or shoulder, you're a ortho surgeon, the system is a complicated set of linked segments, and anyway it's not clear ski poles contribute to rotator cuff fraying or tennis elbow. They do require muscular effort to support and swing, though. Equally obvious, the swingweight is a function not just of total mass but of its distribution. Tennis pros have factory tech guys who spend years playing around with where a few gms of lead should go in the racquet head. Ditto for golf pros and drivers. Etc.)  So while maybe/maybe not it's technically correct to see this as a polar moment of inertia balancing water buckets thing, but that really seems to mis-conceptualize the biomechanics. Obviously could be wrong. 

 

Now for the anatomy, which I know a bit better: In fact, your example of the buckets is why it's considered a good wrist exercise to move a light barbell up and down using arm supported and quiet, eg., only using ulnar or radial abduction at the wrist. The mass out at the ends magnifies the force required to move them. And this is the movement involved in flicking a pole. More to the point, for poles, it's accomplished using two small muscles that are both weak and biomechanically inefficient at abduction: The Extensor carpi radialis longus, and the Flexor carpi ulnaris. Some of us can keep a very light pole in horizontal with some digital abductors, but that doesn't work for the actual swing. Or for more direct evidence, just borrow two poles, one heavy for one hand, one light for the other, and notice the difference. Again, these two small muscles are taking the place of your second bucket. Finally, instructors I've come across pay attention to this in higher level lessons. Not just the hands, but whether the pole's a dud. 

 

Which is why, by analogy, a lot of companies have already reduced or are rushing to reduce mass at the tips and tails of their skis. Cf: Kastle, Fischer, Rossignol, Salomon, Dynastar, Stockli, prolly others that don't make an advertising point of it. The only companies I've heard of that are deliberately adding mass to the tips are DPS this season and Goode for a while, obviously because their skis are so light they had issues of too little inertia. Not an issue I can see for poles. 

 

So will the average skier notice the difference of a few oz? Maybe not consciously. But over the course of a day, a heavier and/or higher swingweight pole will become just one more drag on the average skier's technique. So since the title of the thread was whether poles make a difference, the answer is yes. Whether that difference makes it worth it to you to get new poles, cost/benefit, is a whole other issue. 

post #87 of 89

Garage sale - 2 bucks for a pair of Scott, works for 5 years now. 

post #88 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

Not an engineer, and maybe you are....... So since the title of the thread was whether poles make a difference, the answer is yes. Whether that difference makes it worth it to you to get new poles, cost/benefit, is a whole other issue. 

 

 Not an engineer just a long time ski instructor. I thank you for your input and insight. I agree that I was (perhaps over) simplifying in order to keep moving.  As an engineer an argument can be made for or against any gram, anywhere on the pole. Weight at the basket is worse then weight at the grip. Weight overall is a pain to move with you. The more the poles weigh the less I need to swing it to get the same impetus at my center. Heavy poles are harder to control in a short turn situation, though light poles can be more easily deflected by snow or wind. I know they were joking at techno weenies getting way to serious (guilty) but Pdiddy has a point, sort of. Ever ski on a day when the snow is so wet it builds up on the basket of a pole. It's kind of neat feeling how the weight build up down low changes the feel and effectiveness of the swing. in other words---------------In the strict reading of the title of the post you are correct.

 

However.....

 

Do you remember when Chrysler products were sold as the engineers car? Among the features were lug nuts threaded clockwise on one side of the car, counter clockwise on the other. In the lab it makes a difference because of rotational inertia potentially loosening nuts threaded the "wrong" way. In the real world it resulted in lots of lost and over/under torqued nuts, and broken and stripped studs.

 

In the original post the question is would it be worth it to him to buy better poles. Hard to say but given the range of poles out there I don't think he can go too far wrong whatever he does. I agree with you that good technique is better then bad technique. The trickier part is, will the right pole make enough difference to be worth the price? As a long time instructor I tend to think not. I have yet to see anyone who cannot preform the "correct" moves solely based on their poles. Do some instructors try to make over their students gear? No question some do. I feel my job is to show people how to get the most out of the gear they've got. I'll suggest replacement if it's a real issue (most often boots). For the OP in the long run I feel the best choice would be to buy cheap poles and invest the price difference of expensive ones in a lesson. 

 

In the real world were the bulk of the skiers I see, ski, and work with live poles are poles.  

post #89 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave W View Post

For the OP in the long run I feel the best choice would be to buy cheap poles and invest the price difference of expensive ones in a lesson. 

 

In the real world were the bulk of the skiers I see, ski, and work with live poles are poles.  

^^^^ Total agreement about the benefit of a couple of lessons vs. The World's Coolest Ski Pole. And yeah, until someone's at least at advanced level, do not see this as an issue worth pursuing. I get into the science of this stuff; it's my strength and weakness. 

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