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Kids and poles?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

When should a child begin to use poles (i.e. learning pole planting)? Our daughter is 8 1/2 and has skied 2 days 2011/12 and 5 days 2012/13. She hasn't used poles yet but can match her skis, do various-sized linked turns, is learning to hockey stop and can ski blue-blacks at Mammoth Mtn, CA in control. She likes challenging terrain and doesn't mind bad weather at all. We're very pleased with her progress. Thoughts?

post #2 of 7

There is no hard rule for a specific age or ability to start using poles. Very young children have a hard time just holding on to the poles. For them poles just get in the way. When you are skiing mostly in a wedge, you don't need poles to help you balance. Your daughter is at the age and ability where you can try giving her poles and teaching her how to use them to help make her turns match up to parallel sooner. If they help, then great. If not, you may want to point out some of the skiers who make super carved turns without using any poles (can anyone find some you tube clips?) when you tell her that poles are not really necessary for having fun on snow.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks TheRusty. I also read on an old thread that poles can be "earned" for achieving various things skiing.

post #4 of 7

Hey there, 3who  Your daughter is PLENTY old enough to be using poles. 

 

For very small schildren the no poles doctrine is more about logistics than learning.  Holding onto poles, navigating the lift line, loading etc etc is hard for toddlers and their parents/instructors.  Further, little kid morphology is not really conducive to hands up / pole planting techniques. An 8 yo girl however should be working on being up front in her boots and incorporating proper pole plants into her turning.

 

Personally, I am a pole advocate even for smaller kids.  Poles are not "vital" but play a major role in balance, ski comfort, and flats navigation.  They are also very handy for getting back up on your feet after a fall and even stepping out our your bindings for a trip into the lodge.  Poles can also be incorporated into any number of drills for instruction.  Not to mention poles are perfect for whacking snow covered branches, poking stuff, scraping boot soles etc etc etc.

 

Further, the #1 shortcoming of level 2-3 skiers I see is the lack of a "pole plant".  Most instructors would agree that this is a tricky but vital skill to master, but they inexpicably reserve the use of poles until relaltively late in the game.  On more challenging terrain, poles are essential for getting out of the back seat.  One of my fav mogul games/drills is the "poke 'em in the head" drill.  Little guys and gals take great delight in sadistically stabbing moguls "in the head".  A little sick I agree, But sure gets little hands up reaching down the hill, getting their weight forward, and initiating the turn around the plant.

 

Get her some poles.  :)

post #5 of 7

Hey there, 3who  Your daughter is PLENTY old enough to be using poles. 

 

For very small schildren the no poles doctrine is more about logistics than learning.  Holding onto poles, navigating the lift line, loading etc etc is hard for toddlers and their parents/instructors.  Further, little kid morphology is not really conducive to hands up / pole planting techniques. An 8 yo girl however should be working on being up front in her boots and incorporating proper pole plants into her turning.

 

Personally, I am a pole advocate even for smaller kids.  Poles are not "vital" but play a major role in balance, ski comfort, and flats navigation.  They are also very handy for getting back up on your feet after a fall and even stepping out our your bindings for a trip into the lodge.  Poles can also be incorporated into any number of drills for instruction.  Not to mention poles are perfect for whacking snow covered branches, poking stuff, scraping boot soles etc etc etc.

 

Further, the #1 shortcoming of level 2-3 skiers I see is the lack of a "pole plant".  Most instructors would agree that this is a tricky but vital skill to master, but they inexpicably reserve the use of poles until relaltively late in the game.  On more challenging terrain, poles are essential for getting out of the back seat.  One of my fav mogul games/drills is the "poke 'em in the head" drill.  Little guys and gals take great delight in sadistically stabbing moguls "in the head".  A little sick I agree, But sure gets little hands up reaching down the hill, getting their weight forward, and initiating the turn around the plant.

 

Get her some poles.  :)

post #6 of 7

There's no pole plant in a level 2-3 turn. In level two they would for sure trip over it. In 3 they would plant it all wrong.

I agree with you about helping get down the hill. They can have the opposite effect though, and help people hide behind them.

 

For the op, sounds like your daughter is ready to try poles. If she can't hold them properly, then take them away. Usually that means they hold them straight up and down barely gripping them. Kids and adults often use poles as a way to stop, or hide behind and stay up hill from the turn.

 

There's some good discussion on this in a thread from 10 years ago.(wow, that's weird), but which continued this year.:

I quoted from that thread here about the grips.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/8502/when-should-kids-start-using-poles#post_1532818

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

 

Also, for the poles themselves, the best poles - most functional that is, allow one to put the top of the pole in the palm of the hand. Way too many kids poles, and a fair number of adult poles, have a top of the handle that is a large circle or hexagon or pentagon. It's nigh impossible to fit it into the palm. This doesn't allow them to push behind their feet with their poles in an easy, strong manner when ascending up in herring bone fashion. It also prevents doing a bullfighter turn which is useful to change the way you're pointing without going downhill.

 

This is my huge peeve about poles that isn't addressed by the industry. One could simply cut the tops off most of these things. Most racing poles for kids allow the palm in the hand for tucking. Get those or cut and grind the tops off the others.

 

Here's Scotts "Notch Strike Grip" - for adults. They make junior Notch Grips also. Note the small top. This works in the palm. This type is what you want

 

http://www.scott-sports.com/global/en/products/2165040006081/pole-scott-wc-sl-green-125/;jsessionid=636A342826A833B3587A5782EB416D1C

 

 

Here's the Junior Notch Grip. This will work like above for kids.

Quote:

 

 

 

Now this is their other kids grip, the "Junior Joystick" grip. It's hard to tell from the photo, but "joystick" usually means a large top. It may not fit in the palm. You have to see.

Quote:

post #7 of 7
Few years back when we started skiing, i made up some levels and took my kids' poles away and they only got them back as they progressed to a certain level, which was roughly parallel skiing... I don't think it is a question of age, but ability.

Cheers
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