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Carving and pole plant/touch - how are they related

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Recently there has been a lot of chatter about "carving" (Threads about inside ski weight, having difficulty carving, overpowering a ski, park and ride and so forth). I have been carving (leaving those nice RR tracks) since I was on Salomon 3s's (Turn radius about 4 turns down our local midwest hill) The responses to these threads have struck a cord with me and the techniques and ideas expressed are ones that I feel, have tried and relate to well.

But I do have a question floating around in my head. I remember using a pole plant/touch as at least a timing aid at the start of a turn. It seemed to help with the unweighting and/or with a pivoting or some other movement of the skiis.

It seems that now my turns are initiated by a change in edges and accompaning upper body dynamic change to maintain the balance and pressure on the edges, has the pole plant/touch has lost its function. In fact, it even seems to get in the way especially when I am carving aggressively and laying down fast RR tracks.

Has the pole plant/touch lost its place at least in some forms (read strong carve emphasis) of skiing. What is the reaction out there in Bear land?
post #2 of 25
I think that the actual "touch" has lost a lot of its function. In carved turns, we don't counter as much as we do when we make skidded turns. In skidded turns, the more we skid, the more we counter, and the more we use a pole plant. When you get to the extreme where you are not skidding at all, and there is only as much counter as tip lead, the pole plant doesn't have the same benefits, and has some drawbacks (you would be planting it very close to your skis, and it could get in the way). However, the movement of the upper body into the turn can still be assisted by the motion created with the pole swing.

In WC racing, you'll see a lot of double pole swings, but little pole touching going on, for all the same reasons. The use a double pale swing because it pulls them forward a lot more forcefully.
post #3 of 25
I have been taught to have my pole tips ALWAYS moving.... as soon as one touches down the other starts its journey forward.....

When I do this in long turns it does aid my timing & also helps me maintain flow...

The pole is touched down(just) not planted.... the arms do not move... only the wrists & poles....
post #4 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
In WC racing, you'll see a lot of double pole swings, but little pole touching going on, for all the same reasons. The use a double pale swing because it pulls them forward a lot more forcefully.
You'll see a lot more touches when the terrain becomes steep or gnarly (e.g. fall-aways), or when a racer gets off-balance. Furthermore, the pole touch is more of a tool for quick turns (e.g. slalom) versus the other events, where its sole use is typically as a recovery aid (getting back on line, getting forward, etc.).
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skugrud
It seems that now my turns are initiated by a change in edges and accompaning upper body dynamic change to maintain the balance and pressure on the edges, has the pole plant/touch has lost its function. In fact, it even seems to get in the way especially when I am carving aggressively and laying down fast RR tracks.
Back up a step.

This "initiated by a change of edges" suggests that you are lumping edge release together with initiation. Remember, the skis begin to flatten during release. Initiation happens after they have flattened. Neutral is the point when the skis are flat and the CM is directly overtop.

If you wish to continue using a pole plant, I suggest that you consider it for the purposes of release -- a strong reach downhill and forwards can be helpful in flattening the skis. The forwards component can engage their shovels sooner.

It's more active than floating through transition.
post #6 of 25
Yes - think that is maybe why it works for me Big E...

as that pole starts to swing it is sort of telling my body that it is nearly time to start working towards next turn....so time to finish this one up...

I still don't really have it sorted... but am better when I do keep the poles moving....
post #7 of 25
The more that I'm carving, the less that I'm pole touching. You'll see me pole touching when I'm predominately skidding/scarving (In bumps, in Powder, in tight chutes). When I'm looking to lay down some trenches, I keep my arms out and my angles huge.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thanks Mattchuck2, bigE and the rest

Quote:
The more that I'm carving, the less that I'm pole touching. You'll see me pole touching when I'm predominately skidding/scarving (In bumps, in Powder, in tight chutes). When I'm looking to lay down some trenches, I keep my arms out and my angles huge.
Yep, I relate to that.

Quote:

If you wish to continue using a pole plant, I suggest that you consider it for the purposes of release -- a strong reach downhill and forwards can be helpful in flattening the skis. The forwards component can engage their shovels sooner.

It's more active than floating through transition.
I relate to that also. It seems the pole touch dissappears on gentler angles and helps in the issue you mentioned as the slope gets steeper.

Does anyone know what the PSIA stand on pole touches is. Or is that a beehive I shouldn't stir up
post #9 of 25
PSIA's position is that the pole is a tool that can be used in multiple ways.
Aside from being used as a timing mechanism, a pole plant can also be used to stabilize the upper body. PSIA likes to see aggressive pole plants when bump skiing and soft pole touches for parallel turns.

It's a little known fact that the basket on a pole is actually designed to keep snowboarders from sliding all the way up to the grip after you stab them. Also, beginners have found that proper pole alignment can improve cell phone reception.
post #10 of 25
Proper pole touch/plant is just as important as it always has been, in fact, still key to proper form & technique in just about all situations except a tuck
(SG/DH)
post #11 of 25
that is what my guys teach.....

they tell me I can choose to forget it if & when I can ski faster in a race course than them!
post #12 of 25
Well, I'll take the minority position. Near as I can tell, pole plants/touches are extraneous 99% of the time - especially when carving on groomers. They are used primarily to shift your body (or really CM) into position for turn transition. And sometimes to enforce rough torso orientation relative to the fall line. Or both. In general, the same can be done with a modest "punch" - or even just projecting your body into the right position without any "tricks" to fool it.

I suspect that in 10 years technique, equipment, and instruction will all conspire to make the pole plant of today seem oddly antiquated.

Of course I've said all this before. And been told how misguided I am before.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by spindrift
Well, I'll take the minority position. Near as I can tell, pole plants/touches are extraneous 99% of the time - especially when carving on groomers. They are used primarily to shift your body (or really CM) into position for turn transition. And sometimes to enforce rough torso orientation relative to the fall line. Or both. In general, the same can be done with a modest "punch" - or even just projecting your body into the right position without any "tricks" to fool it.

I suspect that in 10 years technique, equipment, and instruction will all conspire to make the pole plant of today seem oddly antiquated.

Of course I've said all this before. And been told how misguided I am before.

If I waggled my CM around with my pole plant I'd get shot.....(well hit with an instructors pole!) they want ONLY my wrists moving for that plant.... last time I checked my wrists don't affect CM much....
post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnH
.....In skidded turns, the more we skid, the more we counter....
I must comment on this since I think it is a very good observation. The reason why it is like this is that if you want to de-crese skidding you need to bring your hipps further into the turn. This automatically in-creases counter. It all has to do also with upper and lower body separation.

Back to the original issue.
As an instructor I have been forsed to deal with this matter for as long as I can remember. According to my knowledge and the traditional way of planting your pole it occours when you shift your weight onto the new ski. This is the reason a pole plant is difficult to teach to a beginner working on a wedge turn since the weight shifting occours very late in the turn. In a traditional stem-turn we would plant our pole after we have made the stem move and we shift our weight onto the new outside ski.

Its correct that in modern carving there is no easily visuable move like that anymore but if you watch WC skiing you can see many still planting their poles. And if you focus on when it happens you will realize that its during the transaction and when they shift their weight over to the new outside ski. I remember watching this in GS on TV last sunday. Palander makes a double pole plant for instance and his arms are close togheter way out ahead streched as faar as they go.

Im a traditionla kind of skier and I ski all over the mountain so I use the pole plant a lot. But when I carve easy groomers or when Im just laisy I just cruise without pole plants. I know its all up to styles and stuff but I personally dont like the wrist move pole plant. In FIS mogul skiing it is the only way because you dont have time but its common elsewhere as well. I like mooving my whole arm because I use entisipation a lot.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
If I waggled my CM around with my pole plant I'd get shot.....(well hit with an instructors pole!) they want ONLY my wrists moving for that plant.... last time I checked my wrists don't affect CM much....
Then what is the function of the pole touch in carved turns on smooth green and blue groomers? Several posts indicated it was timing. However, with the new skis, the focus is what is occuring in the lower body. The wrists are along way from the edges of the skis where the real action is occuring. I am a believer in "form follows function" and in the situation mentioned above, it seems that the wrist movement is form without a real function except to please an evaluator.

Like the quote below, I am guessing the pole touch/plant will be used in the many situations that call for it. (that is, steeps, bumps, crud, very short turns and more, where it has a real function. But it will dissapear in the carved turns on groomers and it might be sooner than the 10 years indicated.

Quote:
Well, I'll take the minority position. Near as I can tell, pole plants/touches are extraneous 99% of the time - especially when carving on groomers. They are used primarily to shift your body (or really CM) into position for turn transition. And sometimes to enforce rough torso orientation relative to the fall line. Or both. In general, the same can be done with a modest "punch" - or even just projecting your body into the right position without any "tricks" to fool it.

I suspect that in 10 years technique, equipment, and instruction will all conspire to make the pole plant of today seem oddly antiquated.
post #16 of 25
I have certainly noticed that when I am laying down the big, fast really laid out carves that I really just keep my hands/poles out in front of me and don't plant, or if I do it is just a touch.

When I am on the steeps doing shorter radius "scraves" I go back to using my pole plants, same thing in the trees and bumps.
post #17 of 25
Pole plants serve no purpose in GS carving turns and are actually counter productive. They can help with timing and upper body position on short carved turns.
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skugrud
Then what is the function of the pole touch in carved turns on smooth green and blue groomers? Several posts indicated it was timing. However, with the new skis, the focus is what is occuring in the lower body.
When you walk your focus is on the lower body to...but as your left foot comes forward, so does your right hand to counter balance and the arm swing reaches it's apex when your foot touches the ground.

One of the uses of the pole is to time and provide a counter balance when you commit to the edge of the new steering ski. As we are becoming more 2 footed and feel less commitment to that outside skis edge, our need to counter balance is minimized, hence less reliance on a pole touch/plant.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skugrud
Then what is the function of the pole touch in carved turns on smooth green and blue groomers? Several posts indicated it was timing. However, with the new skis, the focus is what is occuring in the lower body. The wrists are along way from the edges of the skis where the real action is occuring. I am a believer in "form follows function" and in the situation mentioned above, it seems that the wrist movement is form without a real function except to please an evaluator.

Like the quote below, I am guessing the pole touch/plant will be used in the many situations that call for it. (that is, steeps, bumps, crud, very short turns and more, where it has a real function. But it will dissapear in the carved turns on groomers and it might be sooner than the 10 years indicated.

1) balance aid.... if you tap a finger, even for an instant & just a light touch, when you are "off-balance" it helps you rebalance... (I know I get to practice this a lot) It is a THIRD reference point (feet are other two)

2) Timing..... You should be increasing edge angles & then decreasing edge angles ALL the time.... it can be hard to time this to be a smooth movement - as opposed to slamming an edge on then sitting there then slamming the skis the other way..... It is (relatively) easy to keep a pole tip moving at a steady pace... Humans are interesting animals because they have opposable thumbs allowing them to use tools.... this means a considerable amount of brain space gets dedicated to control of hands!
the pole swing helps to get the timing of transition all coordinated in all perspectives - neutral edge angle, Cm movement (umm help someone I know I need to do more... but I'm tired here)
post #20 of 25
I find that I touch my pole rarely on medium to long radius turns, but use them more in bumps and when I'm making short turns. I swing them in all turns, but rarely touch them for those longer turns. To touch seems to me extraneous.
post #21 of 25
sssh - I didn't .... but the guys forced me to do it... even though they do not do it themselves most of the time.....

they insist it will help develop my skiing & that until i am racing I can just keep working at it.....

I skied a couple of lessons with a guy that coaches racers a bit.... He asked what i changed between 2 runs we took & I said "Oh I forgot i am supposed to keep these poles moving" He told me the difference is MARKED.... I ski with better flow etc when I do as I am supposed to do....

he even did a few runs doing it himself 7 commented on how it does sort of force you to time better.... & helps drive outside through too (I dunno why - maybe I am more aware of the hand/arm when the pole moves)

Since then I have worked harder at remembering to use ALL teh time - rather than when I will cop flack... & itb has seemed to help me
post #22 of 25
I can see that disski. As I said, I often swing the pole, but sometimes don't touch it. And if I do touch it, it may be more of a "brush" given the speed of skis across snow v. the rate of touch. Hence, I tend to touch it more with the pole pointing rearward rather than forward as tends to happen in bumps.

Timing and flow are important. I just don't think that physically touching it is as important as keeping them moving and in time.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I find that I touch my pole rarely on medium to long radius turns, but use them more in bumps and when I'm making short turns. I swing them in all turns, but rarely touch them for those longer turns. To touch seems to me extraneous.
In bumps you may need to block or stabilize the upper body more and the pole helps in this regard.

Thinking about this with regards to the commitment to the edge of the new steering ski as I related before, think about this. That commitment is more sudden in a shorter radius turn and requires both a quicker and more profound action with the pole.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I can see that disski. As I said, I often swing the pole, but sometimes don't touch it. And if I do touch it, it may be more of a "brush" given the speed of skis across snow v. the rate of touch. Hence, I tend to touch it more with the pole pointing rearward rather than forward as tends to happen in bumps.

Timing and flow are important. I just don't think that physically touching it is as important as keeping them moving and in time.

Maybe the touch helps me more than normal people....but that small touch does really tell me about my body position etc....
I know how much info I get from a tap standing on 1 leg in the gym.... my guess is I am using it even more on a ski slope where the vertical lines are less helpful as secondary information...
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
Maybe the touch helps me more than normal people....but that small touch does really tell me about my body position etc....
I know how much info I get from a tap standing on 1 leg in the gym.... my guess is I am using it even more on a ski slope where the vertical lines are less helpful as secondary information...
I'm with you on the importance of pole plants. I've gotten lazy about it recently because really, for me, it makes little difference in a lot of turns.

The problem is the tougher the turn, the more important the plant is (for me) for timing and blocking. So if I'm lazy on groomers, it comes back to haunt me on bumps and steeper stuff.

Remembering to pole on *every* turn has an overall postively impact on my skiing.
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