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One way to tell if you use your hands effectivly. - Page 2

post #31 of 50

piante su

post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

 

I understand the Austrian coaches have a saying: if you forgot your pole plants, stop skiing and go home and get them. They've been the best for so long, who am I to disagree with that?

 

It is true that a bad pole plant can mess up a lot of other good movements, but that's a reason to learn proper pole plants, not to ditch them... once you get the pole plants, your skiing should improve two levels right there... it's been my experience. You should probably stop calling them "pole plant" but "pole touch" it reflects better what you use it for 'on piste': timing.

 

cheers,

Razie

I don't believe that I ever advocated "ditching" the poles.  I merely said that IMO they are unnecessary.  I often make the joke that "poles/vision is a crutch for weak minded skiers".  That being said I definitely ski better with poles and when I can see.  I can however ski pretty darn well without poles and in whiteoutscool.gif.  Even without poles my hand position is generally the same as if they were there.  What I said in my post was "It is far more important to have appropriate upper and body alignment and hand position while skiing than to actually have poles in your hands.".  As to my comments about the teaching, I said that concentrating on a pole plant when there are other bigger problems that should be fixed first is, IMO, counterproductive.  That doesn't mean that I don't teach pole plants to those who are ready to use them effectively and benefit from them.  Also when I am working with a student on pole usage I often use the phrase "Tap & Touch, don't Stab & Jab".  In general I advocate what we call the flowing pole plant rather than the blocking pole plant.  I do use blocking pole plants in specific tactical situations and as a recovery move, but personally find the flowing pole plant to be more elegant and less jarring on my body.  I use the term pole plant, because that is what it is called by most people.  The description of the move, except in the case of the blocking pole plant, could more accurately be called a touch.

 

As for the Austrians....  My direct supervisor is an Austrian who holds full certification in the Austrian system.  He has nothing to do with PSIA and returns to Klienwassertal to maintain his certification.  IMO he is one of the best skiers I have ever seen and I love clinicing and free-skiing with him.  One of his big focuses in training is flexing through transition and pushing the feet out to the side through the shaping phase of the turn.  He skis with a very rounded back and generally looks different than my PSIA trainers.  He is a very funny guy and has said some things that just crack me up.  For example, one day I was at his desk and noticed a book by HH.  I asked him what he thought of it.  He said that he though it was "pretty good" and asked if I was familiar with it.  I said not so much, but it was my understanding that HH doesn't really recognize rotation as one of the fundamental skiing skills and was ousted from PSIA.  He grinned and said in an Austrian accent "Rotation is for pussies".  Then we watched and analyzed a bunch of YouTube video of Ritchie Berger who was one of his trainers in Austria before Berger went to Japan.  Berger crushes it!

 

I will give two examples of times I skied without poles in hard conditions and it helped me.  The first was in a tele clinic.  The clinic was small and everyone was pretty good.  We were skiing the Tower 3 chute in JH in knee deep powder during a storm and the clinician thought we were too reliant on our poles for balance so he took them away and we did a few laps through the chute without them.  I found that I really had to move my CM into the turn aggressively to avoid collapsing to the inside and had to be more diligent about finishing each turn without losing momentum to control speed and to maintain for/aft balance.  It was pretty hard and really fun.  The other example involves a private lesson I taught for two strong level 8 women on a powder day with an early tram ride.  They were almost late for the box and in the excitement of nearly missing our ride, I didn't notice that one of my students had somehow grabbed her kids poles on the way out of her condo.  I gave her mine, adjusted the length for her, and used the poles she brought.  The kids poles came to about mid thigh on me, which was about how deep the snow wasyahoo.gif.  We skied Rendezvous Bowl into Alta 1 chute, went up Sublette chair and over into The Expert Chutes, back up Thunder chair, down Grand Woods, back up Sublette, then down The Hobacks.  We skied hard and fast and I never fell and was still able to ski somewhat better than they did.  It was challenging for me and it forced me to be very accurate with my directional movements, lateral balance, and for/aft balance.  Would I have chosen to do this in these conditions?  Hell No!  Was it cool?  Hell Yes!  Of course when we hit the base I got some rental poles for myself and we finished the day.  In that case I held the poles in the same position as I would if they were mine and even swung them sometimes, but there was never any pole touch.  I was able to use my lack of poles as a teaching tool to emphasize directional movement into the turn, anticipation, and commitment to the fall line.

 

I stand by my statement that poles are unnecessary.  Helpful Yes, Necessary not so much.   

post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

The kids poles came to about mid thigh on me, which was about how deep the snow wasyahoo.gif.  We skied Rendezvous Bowl into Alta 1 chute, went up Sublette chair and over into The Expert Chutes, back up Thunder chair, down Grand Woods, back up Sublette, then down The Hobacks.  We skied hard and fast and I never fell and was still able to ski somewhat better than they did.  It was challenging for me and it forced me to be very accurate with my directional movements, lateral balance, and for/aft balance.  Would I have chosen to do this in these conditions?  Hell No!  Was it cool?  Hell Yes!  Of course when we hit the base I got some rental poles for myself and we finished the day.  In that case I held the poles in the same position as I would if they were mine and even swung them sometimes, but there was never any pole touch.

 

Just like the park kids!

post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatoldman View Post

epic and tpj,

 

Yours is the experience that I would expect from experienced skiers. The 'I can do this but it feels different' should be there because, well, it is different. You take this to the next level by being able to evaluate how it affects your skiing. The next level would be a discussion of how refining the move might aid you skiing. All I intended here was one quick fairly easy way to evaluate your hand usage. I made no claims that it would make a change for the better, although refining the move, understanding just what it is doing and becoming more comfortable with it would have a positive outcome on your understanding of not just the task but how it can be used to make changes in someones skiing.

 

tpj,

 

You wouldn't believe how much I agree with your comments about poles, how they are used, or misused, and how teaching pole plants is often used as a cover for not understanding the underlining cause of a problem and just treating one of the symptoms. Skiing without poles often demonstrates that some people (not you) rely on them as crutches rather than as aids to timing, stance and forward movement. And if someone can ski all over the mountain and make the same turns without poles as they would with them then I'm sure that they are a damn good skier.

 

fom

 

I messed around with the double pole plant a little more today.  I got smoother with it, but don't see a lot of benefit to it for me at least.  One of my "problems" in my personal skiing is that I stay too squared up with my skis through the turn.  If I was to maintain a more "anticipated" orientation through the turn, it would allow me to make more efficient directional movements and help with some of my angulation issues.  This not to say that I don't ski strong in a variety of terrain and conditions, only that I could be more efficient.  Metaphor suggested that the double pole plant is good for reducing excessive counter-rotation.  What I am calling anticipation is technically a specific type of counter rotation.  Because I am trying to use more, this drill isn't really helping me achieve the outcome I'm looking for.  This is also part of the reason that I haven't been finding it very difficult.  I am surprised that any L3 would have problems doing it let alone a DCL.

post #35 of 50
Thread Starter 

tpj,

 

I've often asked people to ski without poles for various reasons but your experience gives me a new idea. Give them poles way to short to actually 'plant' them and see what happens.

 

Like you I seldom 'plant' my poles. I use controlled, precise movements of my hands to lead my body into the new turn. This motion results in the pole basket swinging forward and even occasionally brushing the surface of the snow. The swing and the touch/brush are an outcome of a well disciplined upper body/arms /hands not a cause. I also agree that most skiers are shown pole plants before they are ready. Most instructors are of the "look they made a parallel turn now I can teach them a pole plant' mindset.

 

fom

post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

...said in an Austrian accent "Rotation is for pussies"..   

That's priceless! Rotation is being given too much attention, probably because it's easy and comes natural to people, and that is detrimental to learning the stuff that sctually matters...

So, let's agree to disagree on poles - i can certainly ski without them and we have many drills that don't use poles, but I wouldn't want to spend a day on the slopes without them...
post #37 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post


That's priceless! Rotation is being given too much attention, probably because it's easy and comes natural to people, and that is detrimental to learning the stuff that sctually matters...
So, let's agree to disagree on poles - i can certainly ski without them and we have many drills that don't use poles, but I wouldn't want to spend a day on the slopes without them...

 

I "always" ski with poles.  I ski better with poles.  I just don't think they are "necessary".

post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by razie View Post

That's priceless! Rotation is being given too much attention, probably because it's easy and comes natural to people, and that is detrimental to learning the stuff that sctually matters...
..


Whoa there. Rotational movements are a significant part of the skills set required for good skiing. It's this kind of thinking that leads to too many folks just riding their edges and going wherever the skis take them rather than actually being able to manipulate the skis for precise control.
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Whoa there. Rotational movements are a significant part of the skills set required for good skiing. It's this kind of thinking that leads to too many folks just riding their edges and going wherever the skis take them rather than actually being able to manipulate the skis for precise control.

That's very true, but in my travels I see more skiers limited by their rotation-based turns than by their carving-oriented turns. Far more. 90-10 style.

To go further, modern rockered and other play-oriented shapes allow skiers to rely even more regularly on rotation-based turns.

I didn't see razie dismissing rotary entirely, not as you are suggesting.

I saw razie saying it's over-emphasized now.

And I agree.
post #40 of 50

Finally, stance and balance.... why do you all have so much emphasis on the hands, upper body etc?  Too many instructors teach from the head down, and not from the feet up. IMO

post #41 of 50

^^ Because so many skiers have their hands too far back and it messes up their lower body positioning after a couple of turns even if they start out in the correct position.  I'm no instructor, either - it's just obvious - you see so many people with this problem.

post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

I also played with the double pole plant today.  I didn't find it hard and am don't think any reasonably decent skier would have trouble with it...

 

You're a Telemark skier. You've probably made a thousand turns with double pole plant. Of course it's not difficult for you!

post #43 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

 

You're a Telemark skier. You've probably made a thousand turns with double pole plant. Of course it's not difficult for you!

 

Telemark skiers use double pole plants?

post #44 of 50
Since nobody has mentioned ski touring, allow me to -- and to point out that while, historically, double poles were a fairly recent development, skiers have been using two poles a lot longer than we have been riding chairlifts. Double-poling gives skiers more power to glide because we use our core muscles in addition to arms, whether combined with a skating step or not. Relevance to Alpine skiing? Watch a racer explode out of a start gate, or try to reach the finish faster.
post #45 of 50

Excellent point, Silverback.

post #46 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 

Telemark skiers use double pole plants?

Vintage telemark is an interesting case study, because for a long time they used a single, long pole, as Silverback noted, in a way more similar to modern standup paddle (SUP) surfing than to modern skiing.  And, turned surprisingly well without modern pole plants (and all the other neat stuff we use these days).   

post #47 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15 View Post

 

You're a Telemark skier. You've probably made a thousand turns with double pole plant. Of course it's not difficult for you!

It is true that watching someone on old leather tele gear, or on modern xc skis, dance their way down with double pole plants can be really cool.  The more people rely on the poles, though, the more this tends to be linked shoulder rolls, as opposed to linked, graceful turns. 

post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKook View Post

Vintage telemark is an interesting case study, because for a long time they used a single, long pole, as Silverback noted, in a way more similar to modern standup paddle (SUP) surfing than to modern skiing.  And, turned surprisingly well without modern pole plants (and all the other neat stuff we use these days).   

 

I have skied using a lurk.  It's pretty fun.  I think it's more like kayaking than SUP.

post #49 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

 

I have skied using a lurk.  It's pretty fun.  I think it's more like kayaking than SUP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luSS2jHNVYE  That is probably a better comparison, true. 

post #50 of 50

Jumpinjohn, post #40, said "Finally, stance and balance.... why do you all have so much emphasis on the hands, upper body etc? Too many instructors teach from the head down, and not from the feet up. IMO"

 

Note that we started this thread talking about how the hands don't do much, but can undo a lot...all true. And then morphed into a discussion of pole plants, double pole plants, and sidled into a few posts on that old favorite, Rotation? Good or bad? All valid topics, all pretty much saying to me that (1) all elements of technique are important, (2) all parts of the body have a job, and they're different but important, and (3) isolating one part of technique or one part of the body, such as the hands, doesn't usually fix the whole problem.

 

Having said all that, many years ago, Warren Witherell started talking about looking at what technique is and what the body needs to do from the snow up, not vice versa. True then, true today. So in my years on the snow, I've seen very few skiers who had problems with the hands who didn't have something not so good going on below. Ron LeMaster gave a really good talk in Boulder a couple of years back where he talked what he heard from WC coaches re technique, and there were four anchor points, the first of which was "Quiet upper body", and then he went on to talk about how a quiet upper body is only possible if the lower body's balancing act against the ski is doing the right things. So the lower body doing the right things usually helps quiet down the upper body, which in turn, usually keeps the hands quiet and disciplined...

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