Originally Posted by S11
Hockey players don't need poles to skate. I think pole planting is going to largely disappear.
Will poles disappear? They're handy in liftlines and I think they make snowboarders secretly jealous. Will they stay around for "balance" like a circus wirewalker's pole?
Everything I see says that this is true. I know I'm in the minority here (since we've had this discussion several times in the last year). However the more I watch people on the hill, and the more I work on my own skiing, the more convinced I become that pole use for normal balance and turns by normal recreational skiers will disappear over the next 5 years. It'll be viewed the way old rear entry boots, pencil skis, and neon fartbags are today. Poles will be viewed primarily as tools for getting up, releasing bindings, navigating lift lines. And if you asked my kids, they'd tell you they are good for drawing in the snow while waiting for mom & dad.
The best skiers I see on the mountain just don't do it. Or when they do move their poles regularly, it is more arm movement rather than real pole planting, or even touching.
Last week at Stevens - with knee deep fresh pretty heavy "powder" - while riding up Tye Mill lift I saw a skier come out of a tree chute to skiers left of Tye Rock. Dropped maybe 10-ish (won't swear to the exact amount) feet of air, landed it without missing a beat and flew directly into a couple of perfectly arced turns & then kicked his skis into what I can only describe as a pivoted braking turn on their tails. Few people here could ski the entry to that chute, let alone take the jump and make the landing clean. Guess what - no poles. The guy never broke a sweat - smiles & woot all the way. Likewise for his boarder buddy. FWIW - subjectively the skis looked somewhat smaller to me, but the graphics looked like Blowers.
My read is that there is a great deal of technique "inertia" in the ski world. And it limits people's sense of what can be done on modern equipment and how to use modern equipment most effectively (including outdated beliefs about the versatility of fatter skis).
As I said, I know we won't settle this here - but pay attention on the hill and see who is really in control, and can ski on and off piste, and isn't breathing hard at the end of their runs. And notice how much they use their poles - whether on groomers, in the trees, or in bumps... And how that ratio shifts over the next few years. And then, don't forget to laugh