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Pole-touch and rhythm

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
LisaMarie has another thread going on rhythm and pole touches. I don't want to try to hijack her thread, so I thought I would post a slightly different question here. I also have pole touch issues. For many years I have been rhythmic with my poles, but my pole touch has always been to initiate the turning sequence. I touch, then change edges and turn. Pole swings out early, makes the touch, then the turn starts. However, recently I have been taught that the edge change should come first, then the pole touch. I have been trying, but this is impossible for me. My rhythm goes off, my balance gets screwed up and I can barely link three turns in a row without falling apart. Any suggestions would be helpful--also, any comments on why it is so important to change edges before pole-touch. It doesn't seem to work for me.
post #2 of 24
Here is something to think about. Once upon a time it was explained to be that part of the functionality of the poles are as a 3rd point of contact that gives us something to rotate our feet against when we initiate the turn (think of newtons 1st and 3rd laws of motion.)

Now while I don't think it's needed in all types of terrain and for all turn shapes, there are some situations where I feel this is a real function of the poles. With that being said, why would you want to touch AFTER you start to turn your feet?

I was going to write more, but I think I'll play this one close to the chest until I get some more info....

L
post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiDeC58
However, recently I have been taught that the edge change should come first, then the pole touch.
Who told you that? I'll have to ditto lshull.
post #4 of 24
It is my understanding that as you are swinging the pole (flexing your wrist), you are in the process of releasing your edge, or, initiating the turn.

I would agree that the pole is actually touched sometime after you have initiated the turn. "Sometime" meaning it is not set in stone, much depends on what type of turn, terrain, etc.

TB
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by edgerelease
It is my understanding that as you are swinging the pole (flexing your wrist), you are in the process of releasing your edge, or, initiating the turn.


TB
sorry but I have had it drummed into me that the pole starts its movement the moment the other pole touches the snow..... those poles should be in CONSTANT movement if you want to be doing the same (ie flowing).....

otherwise you are thinking along the lines of "go this way..... TURN... go this way...." even if you think you are not....

In order to be simply "going down there" both you & the poles need constant movement....
post #6 of 24
Funny, isn't it, how we're all "told" things? I've been "told" - and it makes sense to me - that the pole touch/plant marks the ending of one turn amd the beginning of the next.

RiDe, has someone "told" you how your pole touch timing is affecting your skiing - and if so, what have you been "told" about how it affects your skiing?

Perhaps sometimes it's the interpretation of what we're "told" that makes all the difference.
post #7 of 24
Wow, how do you keep you poles in motion when there in the locker room?(kidding)

I agree that they should be in constant motion, I was commenting on what part of the turn you are in at the point the pole touches the snow.

Poles are trippy, if you overthink them you can mess a lot of stuff up. This is why it is important to have some level of ownership of movements starting at the feet, and hopefully the poles will be good to you and follow along correctly.

TB
post #8 of 24
YIKES!!! Now I know why my instructor told me to wait till Sunday so we can work on this, and not dwell too much upon what's been said on Epic, lest I become even more confused.
post #9 of 24
I was just told (by and instructor in the Whistler Atomic Dave Murray course) that the pole plant signals the end of a turn. Interpret that as you will.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
It seems that I am not the only one a bit confused by this. I have been "told" to touch down after edge change by both Ric Reiter (at ETU last year) and again by Tom Burch (this year at ETU). They both said that the edge change is the first action of the turn and the pole touch happens immed. after edge change (particularly for rapid short radius turns). This is contrary to what I have always done and I find it very difficult. Anyone else have any thoughts?
post #11 of 24
We did extensive research in this area in the late 70's at one ski school...The pole is a balancing movement to counter your commitment to the inside edge of the new stearing ski......Much like when your right hand comes forward as you step on your left foot when you walk. So as mentioned in post 10 here---it is almost always edge then pole.

It almost never triggers extension as we have been told for years, but happens during an extension or while fully extended (long radius)and can happen pretty much anywhere from when we are across the fall line (as in a short radius turn) to directly in the fall line (in a long radius turn). It also seldom "starts" a turn except in all but the shortest radius. Properly timed the pole touch will happen anytime between the the very beginning of the turn to the "halfway point" of a given radius---and when it happens exactly is right after you commit to the edge of the new steering ski.
post #12 of 24

Let's look at it this way...

There are 2 ways to view the timing of a pole plant/touch.

Offensively and defensively.

In the traditional "Pianta Su" methodology, it involved a touch of the pole as a balancing mechanism at the point of maximum edge set and discontinuance of the direction change. Most would look at this as occuring at the moment of maximum flexion.
This would be immediately followed by a vertical rising/extension movement, which would then facilitate the edge release and subsequent re-engagement. The fact that the pole is actually interfering with the CM as it tries to transition from one side of the skis to the other, is what drives the CM upwards through that change. It is the only direction it can go, safely.

This is what is viewed as a defensive, or blocking, pole plant. This movement pattern is still valid in certain circumstances, such as steep chutes, or anytime irregular terrain dictates speed control. This type of turn is usually associated with more pivoting actions, than carving actions. This also promoted a very late edge engagement, which usually results in a strong braking, or deccelerating action.

In contemporary skiing, the pole touch occurs after the edge change. Whether the edge change is effected by a vertical movement (combined with a cross over) or by a lateral movement, the touch compliments a fluid movement to the inside of the ensuing turn. It also allows for an earlier edge engagement, resulting in a smoothly carved turn.

This is what is commonly viewed as an offensive, or gliding, poleplant. Even the name "plant" is a misnomer. It exists as a very gentle touch, as the skier slides past the point of contact. It is not used as a primary balancing point, but rather as a simple timing and rythmn mechanism.

I will stipulate that in the WC arena, both are used constantly, as each racer makes adjustments during a run. But from the perspective of the average recreational skier, both are valid tools to have at your command. As you begin to allow your skis to do more of the work for you, you will find it more effortless and enjoyable to use the offensive/gliding timing more often than the defensive/ blocking version.
post #13 of 24
vail snopro---good post but I have to disagree with part of it (and yes I am well aware of your qualifications in the Industry)

Here is what I suggest you try with regards to the pole touch happening at the point of maximum flexion.......

Video some good skiers from your school on Intermediate, expert and gnarly terrain in a very short radius turn as in the type you discribed in the "Pianta Su" methoud. It would be better if you never told them what you were looking for. Stop action on your video screen at the exact point of the pole touch and place some tape on the video screen at the top of the head and the bottom of the feet, then back up frame by frame and watch the results. I'll all but bet you note an extension (of any sort) before the pole touches the snow.

Frankly we TRIED to time the pole touch to trigger an extension (in those days vertical motion) and even the most accomplished skiers including one examiner were unable to accomplish it.

Might be a good topic for the MA thing on Tuesday nights.

On a personal note I'll be back in the area again around 4/3 skiing for a few weeks with the "Teaching Styles lady" (Joan H). We'll try to find you and take a few runs.

Greg
post #14 of 24
Poles are like churches. You need them only when you don't have enough faith in yourself.

Ever look at racers? Where are their poles? Are poles really necessary to tell you what you already know to do?

How about the cover of Harald Harb's book, Anyone can be an Expert Skier 2? (tried to get a link to the cover, but the cover we have on our copy is not the one on Amazon, etc.) How do you tell someone learning to ski bumps that one hand goes to head level, and the other by your knees, and look like you're diving into a foxhole?

I took music lessons once. I am not a great skier, but I suppose skiing can be like that. Once you learn the piece, you don't need the sheet music to know how to play it each time. It's in your head, in your rhythm.

Or do we need to remind ourselves over and over?:
post #15 of 24
A lot of good, accurate info in this thread. Like most other ski technique discussions, you need to take away what works and makes sense for you. Try it on snow, understand it, then type it.

The reoccuring message I would take away from this thread, is that you DO release the edges before touching the pole. So yes, you have started the turn as all the pro's seem to be echoing.

It is fun to dig deeper, but I think most the pro's in this thread are agreeing on the same fundamental movement with the pole.

And yes, I would agree that poles should not be picked apart so much. As I said earlier, accurate movement patterns starting from the feet will aid in a natural pole touch. If poles are annoying you, ditch them and come back to them later.

TB
post #16 of 24
Ric

Great explanation.

My "local" instructor says it this way: "Release, Reach (to project into the next turn), re-engage, and touch". I will say that she doesn't gripe too much if the re-engagment of the edges and the touch happen together. If I touch first, however, I hear about it.
post #17 of 24
I get into big trouble if I am caught "reaching" for pole plants - they had better be where they should be or else....
post #18 of 24
A note cribbed from another post that would go well here: If you don't like skiing slow, you can still use the pole plant rhythm thing, just don't stick it in the snow.

Also, for some people walking across a catwalk (a structural one) or climbing up a star case is easier with a railing, even if they don't put any weight on the railing. It gives them a sense of security and guidance, and thus helps their balance.
post #19 of 24
Ghost - someone here posted my old trick.... Simply find a thing that really challenges your balance (maybe 1 leg on bosu with eyes shut?) then try the same exercise but have something vertical within hands reach & when you feel wobbly "tap" the vertical thing with finger (no pressure required) ... feel the difference in your balance?

Your body uses the split second of information to help adjust its view of the world & where you fit....

Ditto pole touch
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
I get into big trouble if I am caught "reaching" for pole plants - they had better be where they should be or else....
I'm with you on that.

My post was to denote the intended timing of each movement. My reach is the projection of new inside half (if I'm saying it right) and a "flick" of the wrist.
post #21 of 24
Now that I think of it, there seems to be a substantial difference in the pole "plant" in very short, quick turns and the pole "touch" in longer, say, GS turns. For better or for worse, this is causing me to give more thought to the subject, and I'm just hoping it's not too much!
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coach13
I'm with you on that.

My post was to denote the intended timing of each movement. My reach is the projection of new inside half (if I'm saying it right) and a "flick" of the wrist.
I'm not allowed any quick flicks either - pole tip starts to move when the other pole touches the snow - by the time it is needed it should be there - ther being wher I have determined I want to be going....

I'm terrible at this - but as I spent a bit of time with one of my instructors trying to fine tune the stuff it is improving... all I know is when those poles are better I tend to have me running better.... that said if I need to learn new/different stuff I prefer to leave them behind...
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by oboe
Now that I think of it, there seems to be a substantial difference in the pole "plant" in very short, quick turns and the pole "touch" in longer, say, GS turns. For better or for worse, this is causing me to give more thought to the subject, and I'm just hoping it's not too much!

Oboe - I seem to be taught that the timing is different for the short turn versus the GS-LONG turn.... This season I was told repeatedly that my timing for longer turns was really good - but that my short turns suffered from my pole timing being out.... maybe it is just that I get the sychronisation wrong in the shorter turns - but it felt like the pole plant needed to eb earlier (turnwise) than I felt it would have been in a longer turn...

the amount of "grunt" in te pole plant seemed to be a factor of what I wanted it to do - rather than the turn type.... steeper stuff or grotty snow seemed to be more the 'solid plant' type of requirement - vs a touch for the more relaxed flowing type of skiing... ie it felt as though it was 'how much help do I feel I need here' .... when it is all good I only need to touch down - no help required...
post #24 of 24
Flex, Flatten, Touch, Turn, Extend.

End of story....

On holidays.

Talk to you later!
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