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Update: My Atomic Access and I finally bonded(and new poles helped!)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

As you all may remember, I have posted on here about my frustration with my new Atomic Access rockered skis.  They chattered on hard pack, and I didn't feel quite comfortable on them.  I wondered if I bought the wrong skis.  Here's the threads I started if you're curious:

http://www.epicski.com/t/107938/chattering-powder-skis-on-hard-pack-ice-my-experience-on-the-atomic-access-and-some-questions

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/108780/fatigued-easily-in-powder/30

 

So I no longer think I bought the wrong skis.  I went up to Mt. Hood Saturday and something clicked.  It was a warm day, and the snow was spring-like.  A couple of things helped this happen:

 

1)  I took a lesson last time I went up, which was on another powder day.  I had signed up for a group lesson, but ended up with a private lesson for the group lesson price.  Awesome!  The instructor totally pushed me, which is what I want in an instructor.  He took me on blacks, and I was able to make it down them without falling--I surprised myself.  Some of the most helpful tips he gave me involved

 

--Telling me to lift up my toes while I'm skiing in order to engage my ankles.  I didn't notice a huge difference from this, but the effect it had became obvious on steep black diamonds--my skis felt more maneuverable.  I still find it hard to maintain my ankles in that flexed position, but I'll keep working on it.  Any tips?

 

--Emphasizing pole plants or touches.  This was hard for me last time because I was using aluminum poles, and I would get lazy with them.  The instructor emphasized reaching/leaning for a pole plant to initiate a turn.  This was especially helpful to me on steep terrain, when I get a bit nervous about turning and end up traversing across the mountain a lot.  Reaching out for a pole plant initiated the turn, and boom--I was turning.  I think that will help me get better on steeper terrain.

 

--I had forgotten about the idea of counter--or I had never been taught it.  Keeping my hips facing the fall line really does help, and once I got the hang of it made skiing feel much more smooth.

 

2) At that lesson, the instructor let me hold his graphite poles when I mentioned that my poles were heavy.  The difference in weight was surprising.  I decided to return my aluminum poles and got a pair of Carbon Fiber Leki poles, specifically these:

http://www.leki.com/skiing/skiingPole.php?pID=208

 

I noticed these new poles made a surprising difference in my skiing.  For one, they have this "trigger" grip which you slide over your gloves and clicks into the pole, so that the pole is connected to your glove.  You can let go of the pole and it will still be right where it should be.  The poles swung easily, and that made skiing flow a lot smoother.  I'm not sure of their weight--does anyone know of a website that lists the weight of poles?  Regardless of their weight, the "trigger" grip that keeps them in place meant that the poles felt less fatiguing, since they were just hanging off my gloves.  One technical question:

 

I started to get in this pumping rhythm with my poles, where the hand that had planted ended up behind me, and I brought it forward at the next pole plant.  I was basically always bringing one hand or the other forward.  Is this ok, or should I try to keep both of my hands in front of me at all times?

 

All of this resulted in a lot of fun on Saturday.  I skied for longer before my legs started to get sore.  I also noticed that I was making less zig zag turns to cut speed.  When I did make those style of turns, I noticed how quickly they fatigued me.  I was making more slow, flowing turns, and carrying more speed, which was a lot of fun and slightly scary.

 

The skis still chatter a little when going straight and fast, but I think the benefits of rocker (less catchiness, for one) is more than worth it.

 

Anyway, a lot of words to say that I had a blast and can't get skiing out of my mind now.  I was beginning to get frustrated with my skiing ability, and was wondering if my skiing ability was going to keep moving forward.  It has, and I'm hooked! 

 

Thanks all!

post #2 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post

Hey all,

As you all may remember, I have posted on here about my frustration with my new Atomic Access rockered skis.  They chattered on hard pack, and I didn't feel quite comfortable on them.  I wondered if I bought the wrong skis.  Here's the threads I started if you're curious:

http://www.epicski.com/t/107938/chattering-powder-skis-on-hard-pack-ice-my-experience-on-the-atomic-access-and-some-questions

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/108780/fatigued-easily-in-powder/30

 

So I no longer think I bought the wrong skis.  I went up to Mt. Hood Saturday and something clicked.  It was a warm day, and the snow was spring-like.  A couple of things helped this happen:

 

1)  I took a lesson last time I went up, which was on another powder day.  I had signed up for a group lesson, but ended up with a private lesson for the group lesson price.  Awesome!  The instructor totally pushed me, which is what I want in an instructor.  He took me on blacks, and I was able to make it down them without falling--I surprised myself.  Some of the most helpful tips he gave me involved

 

--Telling me to lift up my toes while I'm skiing in order to engage my ankles.  I didn't notice a huge difference from this, but the effect it had became obvious on steep black diamonds--my skis felt more maneuverable.  I still find it hard to maintain my ankles in that flexed position, but I'll keep working on it.  Any tips?

 

--Emphasizing pole plants or touches.  This was hard for me last time because I was using aluminum poles, and I would get lazy with them.  The instructor emphasized reaching/leaning for a pole plant to initiate a turn.  This was especially helpful to me on steep terrain, when I get a bit nervous about turning and end up traversing across the mountain a lot.  Reaching out for a pole plant initiated the turn, and boom--I was turning.  I think that will help me get better on steeper terrain.

 

--I had forgotten about the idea of counter--or I had never been taught it.  Keeping my hips facing the fall line really does help, and once I got the hang of it made skiing feel much more smooth.

 

2) At that lesson, the instructor let me hold his graphite poles when I mentioned that my poles were heavy.  The difference in weight was surprising.  I decided to return my aluminum poles and got a pair of Carbon Fiber Leki poles, specifically these:

http://www.leki.com/skiing/skiingPole.php?pID=208

 

I noticed these new poles made a surprising difference in my skiing.  For one, they have this "trigger" grip which you slide over your gloves and clicks into the pole, so that the pole is connected to your glove.  You can let go of the pole and it will still be right where it should be.  The poles swung easily, and that made skiing flow a lot smoother.  I'm not sure of their weight--does anyone know of a website that lists the weight of poles?  Regardless of their weight, the "trigger" grip that keeps them in place meant that the poles felt less fatiguing, since they were just hanging off my gloves.  One technical question:

 

I started to get in this pumping rhythm with my poles, where the hand that had planted ended up behind me, and I brought it forward at the next pole plant.  I was basically always bringing one hand or the other forward.  Is this ok, or should I try to keep both of my hands in front of me at all times?

 

All of this resulted in a lot of fun on Saturday.  I skied for longer before my legs started to get sore.  I also noticed that I was making less zig zag turns to cut speed.  When I did make those style of turns, I noticed how quickly they fatigued me.  I was making more slow, flowing turns, and carrying more speed, which was a lot of fun and slightly scary.

 

The skis still chatter a little when going straight and fast, but I think the benefits of rocker (less catchiness, for one) is more than worth it.

 

Anyway, a lot of words to say that I had a blast and can't get skiing out of my mind now.  I was beginning to get frustrated with my skiing ability, and was wondering if my skiing ability was going to keep moving forward.  It has, and I'm hooked! 

 

Thanks all!

Saturday was a great day on Hood.
 

 

post #3 of 8

I love Leki poles, but the ones you linked to are aluminum. And yes, don't drop the hand, try to flick the wrist back instead.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

I love Leki poles, but the ones you linked to are aluminum. And yes, don't drop the hand, try to flick the wrist back instead.



Are you sure?  They say they're a carbon composite--I believe 60% carbon but I would have to check.  Does that mean the rest is aluminum?  Would poles that are all carbon be substantially lighter?

post #5 of 8

I'm just basing it on the product description you linked to. You may simply have linked to a different model than what you got. Carbon composite is usually a mixture of carbon fiber and fiberglass or graphite.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

I'm just basing it on the product description you linked to. You may simply have linked to a different model than what you got. Carbon composite is usually a mixture of carbon fiber and fiberglass or graphite.



Ok.  Now I'm really confused about this...I'd like to sort this out. 

 

First off, what on Leki's page told you the product I linked to is aluminum?  The fact that it says " Tip: Steel?"    I wasn't sure if "Tip" indicated the material the entire pole was made with, or just the material the tip of the pole was made with?

 

Now, I'd   like to figure out what pole I have.  The price tag says ""Vantage Trigger" and the pole itself say Leki Vantage, and at the top it says 18 TS 4.5 Series.  So then it would seem that the pole I have is the Vantage Trigger S?

 

I think the thing that was misleading is in the little brochure that came with the poles, it lists the materials used as carbon composite, then one page later lists aluminum.  Basically, they must attach the same brochure to all their poles.  So while I thought I was buying a carbon fiber pole, it was aluminum?

 

The question for me now is would the carbon composite pole be substantially lighter than the aluminum pole I now own?  You can buy Leki poles that say "Tip: Carbide flextip or Carbide for only $10 to $20 more than what I paid.  But even then, amazon shows the shafts of those poles being made of aluminum:

http://www.amazon.com/LEKI-Project-Black-Green-115cm/dp/B005W1D6B2/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1328046504&sr=1-1

 

Can you sort through this for me?  What does "tip" vs. "shaft" mean?

 

Thanks!

 

post #7 of 8


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post
  One technical question:...

 

I started to get in this pumping rhythm with my poles, where the hand that had planted ended up behind me, and I brought it forward at the next pole plant.  I was basically always bringing one hand or the other forward.  Is this ok, or should I try to keep both of my hands in front of me at all times?

 

...

 

Anyway, a lot of words to say that I had a blast and can't get skiing out of my mind now.  I was beginning to get frustrated with my skiing ability, and was wondering if my skiing ability was going to keep moving forward.  It has, and I'm hooked! 

 

Thanks all!

 

always great to discover things - especially with the help of an instructor.

 

Since you asked... I'll comment on the pole plant thing.

 

The more active your upper body is, the harder it becomes to successfully separate the upper body from the lower. Separation is the key to high level skiing.

If your upper body is jerking around a lot- for any reason it limits the flexibility you'll have from the hips into the legs.

Having your hands end up behind the body core means twisting too much and will affect your ability to work the legs and be ready for the next turn, quickly.

Once the pole plant is done, your hand should stay comfortably forward and let the pole tip/basket exit the snow.

I've seen instruction where novice students are worked to keep their arms high to almost shoulder level - this may be mostly deprecated because it does cause fatigue and doesn't always meet the objective of keeping the arms forward.

The other technique which has some hindering elements is to try to plant your pole forward in a plane where your skip tips are. This 'reaching' technique, again, will eventually cause problems. We do 'reach' a bit on steeper terrain, cause the pole plant is striking the ground lower than the ski current is - but it's not reaching 'forward', it's a slight reach down the fall line.

Watch really proficient skiers who seem always in control on all terrain - Their upper body moves very little. The pole plant is mostly straight down wherever their hands might be. Arms are usually comfortably bent, elbows down and enough off the body to provide good balance with minimal effort for the plant. The hands rarely go much past where they carry them. The poles follow.
I had a bit of a time finding a decent youtube for this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfPdhWt7P8Q

This one is OK - the first skier shows it nicely - she's well balanced and economical is her pole plants. Also seen often is the opening/showing of the 'hand/wrist' during plants. This usually becomes a habit when doing a lot of bumps with normal or longer poles - it's a way to 'shorten' the poles when you're down in the troughs of a bump line. Normally is good to not rotate the wrist outward, but keep everything in line front to back.

Not quite the best pole length can also cause this. Bumps skiers like really short poles, racers a little longer than the bump meisters, skiers who like steeps tend to go longer. For allround I prefer length the old fashioned measure - in normal street shoes, elbow at side, forearm parallel to ground and right angle to upper arm - pole upside down and grasped just under the basket (that would be the main part of the shaft, not the short tip portion) - forearm should remain parallel to ground or very slightly above parallel (or slightly below for those who can;t live without bumps).

Poles which are too long - are common place and create a slew of balance issues for many intermediates - but they are good for planting beans in the spring...

 


Edited by moreoutdoor - 1/31/12 at 3:50pm
post #8 of 8

The shaft material is what you are most worried about. 4.5, 6.5 etc are (I believe) the thickness (gauge) of the aluminum. For carbon and composite poles the shaft is just called carbon. The tip is not too big a deal. carbide is harder than plain steel.

 

As for weight, I think that 4.5 is their thinnest aluminum pole, so it is probably light, but the all carbon poles have better weight to strength ratio and different characteristics - they have bit of flex without bending out of shape. They actually can't bend out of shape, they simply break if bent too far.

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