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Ski Poles, a valuable device, or unnecessary?

post #1 of 166
Thread Starter 

Hello fellow ski geeks.

 

A couple years ago, I hit the chair, and realized that I left my poles at the shop.  Instead of making the uphill hike and back for twenty, I just went skiing.

 

A carver apprentice, I did not miss them, and took to leaving them behind on frontside hardpack days when thin bony conditions awaited off piste.

 

Now that I actually learned to stand up, and ski using correct edge technique, I leave the poles behind almost every day.  It is unbelievably liberating to just ski, no poles to drag you back, to hold onto, or worry about.  My technique is solid now, swiveling back and forth in the bumps, I just hold that imaginary beachball, or two fists in front, or wave off that nasty roost from those inevitable twintips.

 

I have gotten a flamboyant reputation slamming and slarving the bumps under the lifts, and everyone is asking why I don't use the poles.

 

I just return the question, Why don't you ditch your poles?  There is no good answer.

 

When I'm mountaineering, hiking up a boot track, negotiating cliffs, chutes, tight spots, and trees in powder, I bring my poles.  Those days, I have my big reverse camber/sidecut boards.  But mellow days then there is no fresh to be tracked, I hit the piste sans poles and rack up the vertical as fast as possible on my full camber old school shape skis.

 

Has anyone here given up the almighty pole plant?

post #2 of 166

Poles are very useful on long flat traverses  - the sort of places where snowboarders have to hop along awkwardly.  They're also nice for the backcountry! 

post #3 of 166
Thread Starter 

I am very nit-picky in waxing and edge maintenance.  Knowing my hill, I rarely ever need to skate off a flat or traverse and carry momentum wherever I desire.

post #4 of 166

Very helpful in the flats, getting up from a fall, searching for skis or other pole in powder fall, projecting yourself down the hill at the top of a slope etc...

 

Certainly not necessary for ripping groomers, but all around quite helpful.

post #5 of 166

For those of us of a certain age it's nice to have them to help ourselves get up after falling, especially in loose snow.

post #6 of 166

For groomers, poles are a nuisance.  I don't even use them if I skiing all day with the wife who is strictly a green/blue groomer.

 

There is no way I could rip down a decent mogul run without poles.  Not without skiing solely in the troughs and going significantly slower.

post #7 of 166

this was just discussed in a ski racing thread. Poles for beginners to intermediates are a hinderance. It actually causes these individuals to ski in the backseat, have their hands fall behind, and really make imapproriate ski moves.

 

Ski racing or carving without poles is akin to not skiing at all.

 

Poles = balance , allows you to quickly and unpredictably set your edges.

 

More power to you that you can ski without your poles, but when you decide to go back learn how to pole plant and you will see a drastic change in carving, bumps and powder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MP2QYBHy0J0

although not the best, he is still using his poles considerably.

 

post #8 of 166

I can and have often skied without poles.  I don't need poles in order to ski any particular terrain or line.  However, I prefer to have them with me as extra mass under my control to affect my balance and inertia. 

 

The only time I prefer to ski without poles is when I have a fresh  injury (e.g. broken wrist) that makes hanging onto a pole more painful.  Strangely enough, if I have to ditch one pole, say because I broke my right wrist or thumb, but not the left one, I prefer to leave both poles at the top of the hill or in the car for the rest of the day.

 

P.S. I don't need no schtinking pole plants! wink.gif

post #9 of 166

The last time I skied without poles is when I separated my shoulder. I didn't want to cut my trip short, so I got adviled up and skied for 3 more days. One arm in a sling, no poles. That being said, I think that ditching the poles every once in a while can be helpful, it removes some of the reliance on them.

post #10 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buttinski View Post


When I'm mountaineering, hiking up a boot track, negotiating cliffs, chutes, tight spots, and trees in powder, I bring my poles.  Those days, I have my big reverse camber/sidecut boards. 


You answered your own question.

 

Next question?

 

Wouldn't mind to see a vid of your slarving the bumps sans pole

 

Also, why do you think racers don't leave their poles behind. It's not required by the rule, is it?

 

post #11 of 166

If you saw what happened to Lindsey Vonn's skiing in her last GS race (when one pole was ripped out of her hand at the start), you'll have your answer.

post #12 of 166

 

"Ski Poles, a valuable device, or unnecessary?"

 

Valuable device.  Next question?

post #13 of 166

if you want to win the Olympics, you should use poles. If you have a reputation for flamboyantly ripping bumps under the lift without poles, keep rocking your show! Think about going freeheel, you will blow their minds!

post #14 of 166

 Never leave home without them! smile.gif

post #15 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

if you want to win the Olympics



Have you been listening to Billy Kidd?

 

post #16 of 166

if you want to watch it

post #17 of 166
 
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoal007 View Post

Poles for beginners to intermediates are a hinderance. It actually causes these individuals to ski in the backseat, have their hands fall behind, and really make imapproriate ski moves.

 

 

That wasn't my experience at all in teaching my 3 boys.  We didn't use poles at all in their first year of skiing (4 or 5 years old), but I introduced poles soon after they were skiing confidently by themselves on green slopes.  I found that having my sons learn how to properly use poles to time their turns actually improved their stance especially at their turn transitions.  The key though was getting them to learn to plant their poles down the fall line and to reach for their plants.
 

 

post #18 of 166

 

I loves me some poles!

post #19 of 166


perhaps, its about who teaches them.

 

I always see improper pole usage all over the hill by beginners and intermediates and always think that they would be far better off without them.

 

You did say they started without poles and perhaps the people who are using them wrong started with poles? I don't really know -- I don't teach but I enjoy watching people on the lift rides up and when I am taking a short rest.

 

thanks

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noodler View Post

 
 
 

 

That wasn't my experience at all in teaching my 3 boys.  We didn't use poles at all in their first year of skiing (4 or 5 years old), but I introduced poles soon after they were skiing confidently by themselves on green slopes.  I found that having my sons learn how to properly use poles to time their turns actually improved their stance especially at their turn transitions.  The key though was getting them to learn to plant their poles down the fall line and to reach for their plants.
 

 



 

post #20 of 166

I wonder if you could rock a monoski without poles?  That would be something to watch.  From a safe distance.

 

post #21 of 166

I think the pole plant is more critical the shorter the turn becomes.  Because it is not only used as a balance tool, but also a turning force.  Now I don't mean poles help you turn, I mean they force you to turn; just like a tree doesn't help you turn, but it forces you to turn.  And with a shorter the turn there is more need to make quick turns, so you get the strong almost blocking pole plant.

 

Take this guy as an example:

 

As you can see in his medium and long radius turns he has just a small pole touch.  However, when he is making short radius turns his pole plants are really planted in the snow to allow that extra turning force.

 

And that is why a strong pole plant is critical in mogul skiing... I could go on, but I will let Micheal Rogan tell you why.

post #22 of 166

I agree...they are huge help--less from balance--but more from a rythm perspective in bumps or more challenging terrain.  For me they also exact as 2 other "sensors" to gently feel the surface of the snow and the changes in terrain.  I like to do drills by holding my poles horizontal out in front of me etc...but don't generally enjoy skiing without my poles. 

post #23 of 166

Poles rock! But one can still have fun without them. I'm pretty lazy on groomers about using poles. When I Nastar or coin-op race i only need poles for the start. I'm pretty uncomfortable in powder without poles (or even without baskets). And if I'm charging bumps, my arms are tired at the end of the day.

 

Thread hijack: I love my old 80s strapless wrap around grips. Are they coming back in style?

 

Eric

post #24 of 166
This thread is a good example why TGR laughs at Epic (along with the "why powder" thread.

OP: if you are "ripping" bumps under the lift without poles, you are either skiing bunny terrain or you only think that you are looking good. Poles are essential for aggressive skiing in truly expert terrain. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Now, let's count how long it takes until this thread makes it over to TGR.
post #25 of 166
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

Now, let's count how long it takes until this thread makes it over to TGR.

Why should anyone care?
 

 

post #26 of 166

Poles often prevent falling.  Sometimes that prevents injury or death.  The long lever arm of a pole plant enables a precise correction during a turn.  On really steep terrain it is critical for balance in jump turns.  But practice a lot without them on easier terrain to improve technique.   

post #27 of 166
Thread Starter 

Thanks everybody, smile.gif

 

I was just wondering what percentage of folks here eschew poles as a matter of choice.

 

FWIW, the response here is about the same as everyone I meet on the local hill, ewww what a weirdo nonono2.gif

 

Sure poles are a fine device in proper usage, and help in lumpy lift line mazes, but the mental block to not using them reminds me of the vanguard of shaped skis, or the newschool shapes that inexplicably gives everybody the willies.

 

Yes, you cannot make aggressive fast powerful turns in steep bumps without a perfect pole plant every turn, but who skis those lines exclusively?  

 

I'm talking about losing the poles, and learning how liberating it really is.  Bumps are possible and fun, the mindset shifts somewhat maybe from power toward finesse.  Turn precision and feel drives the tips back into the fall line naturally, a pole plant almost defiles that sensitivity.

 

My dad always said, "don't knock it if you have not tried it".  

 

Everyone is free to run with the herd as that is the safest bet.  

 

If anyone does ditch their poles, and LIKES it, please let me know.  I think a little revolution is good every now and then, and losing the poles would really enhance our total experience on our ski resorts.

post #28 of 166

I'm sure many of us in the herd would love to see a video of you ripping bumps and steeps without poles. Please provide.

post #29 of 166

i can't ski without poles...

 

in about 15 inches of powder on friday i tried to film myself using my pole cam and looking at the footage it was horrible!!!

 

only time the pole cam works is on piste... ski poles are so important for so many reasons mentioned above!!!

post #30 of 166

I sometimes find my poles indispensable when one-ski skiing.

 

When carving groomers, I often forget to pole-plant.  Carbon fiber poles are so light that I don't think they add much if the hands/arms are doing the right thing.

 

I agree with alexzn, pretty much.

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