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What's up with the crooked poles?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I have seen some instructors and photos of free skiers using bent downhill-style racing poles. Other than for tucking at high G's, are there any other advantages vs using straight poles?
post #2 of 28
Or entertainment for the observant???
post #3 of 28
And Vita-mans last attempt at the Hunter Mt. speed record may have been had if he HAD "cool poles". That extra drag with the baskets retracted out of the air stream would have resulted in a gain of .00022 mph per 1000 feet traveled.

Would you believe maybe ...... ??? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]
post #4 of 28
I've got a pair of smith poles that have a bend about half way down. The actually angle back. The idea is that in a forward pole plant these poles are actually a bit back from a straight pole. Results in a slightly more centered pole plant, and hopefully you run in to them a bit less. Realistically, I think the cool factor has more to do with it than anything.
post #5 of 28
Just a thought the smith Z-bend's cost over $50 dollars and I know alot of people that like to show off there $$$$$

duke
post #6 of 28
Seconds.
post #7 of 28
Smith stopped making poles 2 years ago...
post #8 of 28
Maybe bent GS poles have something to do with balance, as you don't really plant your poles in GS, but use them as an outrigger for balance. Just a thought-because you really don't have time to get in much of a real tuck in GS anyway, so there might be another reason.
post #9 of 28
Smith Comp 4 Z-Bends (discontinued as mentioned) required less wrist movement to swing them into position for pole plants. Unfortunately they were messing up my timing as I was planting too early. Switched over to the straight poles... harmony.

BTW - I picked up BOTH pairs for $70 Canadian.
post #10 of 28
Well, if we're going to be serious, they're for wind resistance. Some tucking does go on in Gs and that's what it's "for". As everyone has been commenting on usually it's the cool factor. On the world cup, you often see photos of gs with straight poles or bent poles.
On of the more interesting chair rides I've had was at Canon Mt. in NH a couple years ago. I was riding up the lift with a guy and I looked over. He was dressed in NE classic casual earth toned sweater etc. and was on telemark skis. He was obviously a good skier (how one tells is a whole 'nother thing). We were talking when suddenly I noticed his poles. They were somewhat beat up yellow poles that were bent for racing. I asked him about them and it turned out they were Bode Miller's poles. He was a friend of his and they used to race together when Bode was well, more normal. They even had "BM" on them. It was really classic NH.
post #11 of 28
I know nothing about wind resistance, but from experience, using curved poles makes tucking much more comfortable. The poles curve around the body, and don't slip as easily. They also look cool.

One thing that's interesting is that alot of WC GS skiers are going back to straight poles so they get more sensitivity when it comes to pole plant. Relating to that, having curved poles can reduce wrist strain from pole planting, since the curve allows them to absorb shock, acting like a spring.

[ March 24, 2003, 07:58 AM: Message edited by: D(C) ]
post #12 of 28
I'm skiing with GS poles because they're the only poles I have right now. Last year during the Olympics one of the Norwegians on my Slip-Crew skied over one of my straight carbon fiber poles and snapped it in half. He gave me a dumb look and didn't even bother to apologize much less replace them. :

I don't care what they look like, they're poles and they work like they're supposed to. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]

[ March 24, 2003, 10:14 PM: Message edited by: Inspector Gadget ]
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by sukotto View Post
Maybe bent GS poles have something to do with balance, as you don't really plant your poles in GS, but use them as an outrigger for balance. Just a thought-because you really don't have time to get in much of a real tuck in GS anyway, so there might be another reason.
Saw a GS worldcup run the other day. About 50% had straight poles and not bent..
post #14 of 28
I kinda like mine-got 'em last X-mas for racing and I've ended up free skiing with them. Besides, they're a conversation starter on the lift such as:"Hey, you know your poles are bent?" " Yeah, but I got 'em cheap!"

I'm not really concerned whether I look like a gaper, poser or worse........
post #15 of 28
Most racers have a pair of straight SL poles and a pair of bent GS & speed poles. the SL poles will generally have hand guards on them, which suck to freeski with. Hence, most racers will use their GS poles while freeskiing.

Not to say that there aren't people out there looking for something to up their image.
post #16 of 28
My straight poles are cut short for moguls.
I use my dh poles because it's much more comfortable when tucking.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brokendown Palace View Post
I have seen some instructors and photos of free skiers using bent downhill-style racing poles. Other than for tucking at high G's, are there any other advantages vs using straight poles?
When your poles are lashed together with your skis, curved poles are easier to grab.

Well, I was pole shopping and I dropped into a Sports Experts not really thinking I was going to find anything at a price that I was willing to pay. I found a pair of Volkl curved poles at 30 bucks. They were the cheapest ones in the store, and they came home with me.
The funny thing was that some of them were priced at $130.00, while others were at $30.00. I called the clerk over to ask what the difference was, and he told me that the $130.00 poles were this year's model. I grabbed the $30.00s and headed for the cash.

hmmmm.... this has happened to me quite often, lately...

Dean.
post #18 of 28
I have a pair of crooked poles but they were straight when I bought them.
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takecontrol618 View Post
Most racers have a pair of straight SL poles and a pair of bent GS & speed poles. the SL poles will generally have hand guards on them, which suck to freeski with. Hence, most racers will use their GS poles while freeskiing.

Not to say that there aren't people out there looking for something to up their image.
Eh, who needs handguards for slalom? I've gone without for many races, gates bend and are plasict, wont hurt much no matter how fast you go.
post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean View Post
When your poles are lashed together with your skis, curved poles are easier to grab.

Well, I was pole shopping and I dropped into a Sports Experts not really thinking I was going to find anything at a price that I was willing to pay. I found a pair of Volkl curved poles at 30 bucks. They were the cheapest ones in the store, and they came home with me.
The funny thing was that some of them were priced at $130.00, while others were at $30.00. I called the clerk over to ask what the difference was, and he told me that the $130.00 poles were this year's model. I grabbed the $30.00s and headed for the cash.

hmmmm.... this has happened to me quite often, lately...

Dean.
Materials have alot to do with it as well, may have related to the price gap. My Leki Alu-Carbon GS poles go a bit more than normal Leki GS poles.
post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by D(C) View Post
I know nothing about wind resistance, but from experience, using curved poles makes tucking much more comfortable. The poles curve around the body, and don't slip as easily. They also look cool.



[ March 24, 2003, 07:58 AM: Message edited by: D(C) ]
I tuck all the time. Probably once or twice a year if not three whole times. Curved downhill poles are just ghey at a resort unless you are racing.
post #22 of 28
Que, are you one of those who only ski in a straight line while tucked?
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post
Eh, who needs handguards for slalom? I've gone without for many races, gates bend and are plasict, wont hurt much no matter how fast you go.
You'll change your mind after you break your fingers or hands a few times.
post #24 of 28
IIRC, Scott owns the patent on the angled grip. Next time you pick up a pair of Scott poles look at the grip (even old ones) - they have an angle built into it (i.e. it's not straight in line with the shaft). This offset angle is to place the pole slightly further forward than where it would plant if it were straight.

All other manufacturers have to acheive the 'offset angle' by some other means. Leki bends the shaft just below the grip. The Smith Z bends used two bends that looked like a DH bend, but not done for the same reason.

GS pole bends are slight, but done more for 'clearance' around the hip/gate than for true aerodynamics (after all - how much time is spent in a tuck in a GS?). Just look at any photo of a WC GS skier and you'll understand what I mean about the clearance issue ... that said I don't think there is any issue with a straight pole either - personal preference.

SG and DH bends are more for aerodynamics where obviously it makes a bigger difference since you're in a tuck longer and the speeds are higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rise To The Top View Post
Eh, who needs handguards for slalom? I've gone without for many races, gates bend and are plasict, wont hurt much no matter how fast you go.
Huh? I can understand that you might have the precision to nail the gates with the base of the grip, or shaft, thus never hitting your hands, but "won't hurt much no matter how fast you go" ? ... you must not be going too fast, or you've never hit your finger ... worst is the tip of the thumb.

Every year I'll jump into a course without armor only to eject a few gates down in pain after getting progressively more aggressive ... let's just say that i would find it impossible to train and/or race (fast) without some type of hand protection.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodee View Post
Huh? I can understand that you might have the precision to nail the gates with the base of the grip, or shaft, thus never hitting your hands, but "won't hurt much no matter how fast you go" ? ... you must not be going too fast, or you've never hit your finger ... worst is the tip of the thumb.
.
I havent hit my thumb yet, I can only imagine how that would feel. Gate usually hits below hands, but will occasionally hit my knuckles.
post #26 of 28
Rise To The Top ........... sooner or later .... you will .. :

Got Advil ??

PS ... SL hand guards don't come with the poles ... ya' gots to buy them and screw them on.
post #27 of 28
Nah for those of us of mere mortal skiing ability the only advantage to these crooked sticks is an increase in THE DORK FACTOR

YO GAPER GAPER didja get those babys in a GARAGE sale ??
post #28 of 28
Another advantage of straight poles: a stronger push off at the start (less flex in the pole).

As far as hand guard are concerned: not only do they protect the hand, but they also protect the pole. If you hit SL gates with your pole, and are fairly consistent with where you hit the gate with the pole, you'll create a weak spot in any kind of pole (alu or CF, doesn't really matter). The hand guards act as a means to disperse the impact force, thus preserving the pole's structure.

Even a set of half-shell guards is better than nothing if you're running SL gates often enough.
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