Originally Posted by ydnar
If you want to go down the hill then why are you trying so hard to not go down the hill. Personally, I seldom just want to go down the hill, it's a boring way to ski.
It's not that hard.
Stick riding, stemming (wedge turn and stem christie) and carving turns are all ways of controlling the speed of descent. I use all three. Stick riding mostly of flat runs, catwalks, run outs etc, just for fun. It relieves boredom, not causing boredom.
Before the boys of Telemark, Norway learned to use their skis to control descent in the 1860's, stick riding was how skiers slowed or turned. Riding stick like a witch to slow while straight running, dragging to one side to turn, kind of like kayaking.
Some thirty years after the amazing developments of the telemarkers, Zdarsky devoloped turns that used a stemming movement (snowplow and stem christie turns). Norwegians probably had used similar moves but prefered the telemark and parallel christie turns. The stemming movements came in very handy for the wealthy European guests that Austrian resorts were beginning to attract with fancy hotels, fine dining and outdoor activities including skiing.
Skiing without poles is viable choice for recreational skiers who stay on piste (not hiking to OB, etc.) Racers will need poles for the start and probably for the turns too, but free skiing may be a lot freer with out poles. Andrea Mead Lawrence (American Olympic ski champion, double gold in 1952) writes effusively about the joy she gets from skiing without poles in her autobiography "A Practice of Mountains".
When Elan SCX burst onto the scene, an article in Ski or Skiing wrote about telemarkers using SCX and no poles. When I shared a snowcat ride to Empire Canyon at Deer Valley with a Texan who used the same skis as me (ELan SCX), he asked me why I used poles. I didn't reason that he had read that article until later, I just shrugged and thought "same reason you do". I guess he had concluded that poles weren't necessary with carving skis if your heel was free. He was probably right, and they probably aren't needed by most skiers. Snowboarders would have a greater need for poles than alpine skiers (who can skate flats) if you think about it.
I'm with Tai Chi on this one and I plan to ski without poles a lot more next season. Perhaps I will even try to Teleboard without poles, but that is a scary idea to me right now.
Give up the stick riding. Sometimes I drag my poles between my legs. I bet most of us drag the poles to facilitate turns at least a little bit and we probably agree that it is a bad habit to lean on the poles or drag them. Lose the poles, free your heels and ski for real! Flatboard!