I've seen high skill boarders and freeride skiers display incredible timing, rhythm, flow and balance without having poles in their hands. Flow through bumps is enhanced when a skier learns to ski them without a blocking pole plant and the blocking that is accomplished with the pole can be accomplished by using the fact the our feet are providing us with a stable platform, a moving platform but a stable one nontheless. And can I incline or bank too much in longer radius turns if nothing is dragging that I don't want dragging? Is it possible that in that type of turn banking and inclining might just be the way to go.
|Originally posted by Ydnar:
Are we having fun yet or what?
You are so right in pointing out how much agreement there is is this thread. Even with my devil's advocate posts I admit to there being better and less better ways to use your poles. The main point that I am trying to make is that pole use, in particular the pole plant, has been stratified and applied in a far too rigid way by much of the ski instruction establishment often to the detrement of the students. Too often I have seen the teaching of "good hand position" lead to stiff rigid bodys. And saying that the pole plant should be introduced at a particular point in a skiers development has caused more interuptions in indivdual skiers development than anything else I can think of.
I also like your comment about hands and the top skiers in the world. A WC racer's hands go where they have to go to aid in accomplishing what the skier wants/has to do and at times all you can say about them is that the elbows do seem to stay in front of the frontal plane of the body.
Ok, enough Mr. Nice Guy let me go back to being bloody minded here.
Since my hands aren't connected to the poles in the same way that my bones are connected to each other I have the option of skiing with them or not. Skiing without them frees me to explore greater ranges of movement with my hands and arms and see how that affects the ski on the snow. Once I pick up poles my movements become restricted by the fact that I have these long sticks in my hands. And if I listen to conventional wisdom I become even further restricted because there is a correct position to hold them in and a best way to flick the wrist to swing them. Hell, I have to make certain movements with my hands/arms just to keep the damn things from dragging in the snow.
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr /> Good pole technique, however will add timing, rhythm, improve flow, improve balance, act as a blocking stabilizer in bumps, and tell us when we tend to bank or incline too much in longer radius turns as it drags on the snow.
Finally, even though it wasn't clear from your post I assume that you want us to try a couple runs on blades without poles and then a couple runs with poles and see which feel better. The answer is easy, if you have spent years sliding around on snow with poles in your hands then having poles in your hands is going to feel better. But take a hot inline skater and put them on blades for a few weeks then have them try your experiment and you would get a totally different answer. In fact if you were to spend a couple weeks on blades without poles you might be suprised at how they felt when you picked them up again. We are creatures of habit and something new and different feels awkward and wrong.
And wouldn't it be cool if someone could show up for a level 3 exam without poles and not be instantly written off by the examiners,
</font>[/quote]Ydnar: You make many good and well founded points. First let me start by saying that I see the difference in our opinions as:"Is the cup half full or is it half empty?" My take is that it is at least "half full" when poles are used to benefit the skier in complementing overall movement patterns of improved flow, rhythm, fluidity, etc.,etc.--I'm sure you get my point.
Contrary to your statement about freeing oneself by skiing without them, I conversely feel more free to move in greater extremes with them, then without them. If one has a tool and clearly understands its advantages and its limitations then I see it as the best of both worlds.Poles are just another tool and most skiers and many instructors have only at best a gray understanding of their advantages and their limitations.I agree
with your comment,that their value is limited due to poor teaching of pole technique in most instances.
In reference to your comment on skiing bumps with out poles. I have and do. However, here in the East among the frozen bumps of crud & and icy boiler plate, I challenge you to ski them as fluidly and seamlessly without poles, as you do with poles. In those conditions poles definately aid in balance, timing, and keeping movement patterns consistently on track. We still ski from the feet up, not the shoulders down. I frequently ski my sno-blades in the bumps. Both with and without poles, strictly as an exercise in balance. I, however feel quicker in my movement patterns then without the poles. Maybe it's just a personal preference, my age, I'm now a grandpa, but that's me.
In reference to you analysis of banking or inclining, you could be very right on soft western snow surfaces. Change the slope surface to Eastern hard packed icy boiler plate and I challenge your thinking. If you were to make that same turn in an over inclined /(Banked), position you would frequently find yourself sliding sideways out of control and constantly trying to recover your balance. The only way to keep this from happening is to have a well angulated position, which would eliminate the inclination all together in the first place.
In reference to your comments on blading without poles. I spend a great deal of time on blades every season. In my first years I spent 100% of my blading without poles. I had a blast and as you have said right along I did feel very free in my movements. But for me at least, I found that poles added an improved dimension in timing, flow and overall quickness. Again, for me "the cup is half full". Your in-line skater analysis may be right on also, but I believe it's more than simply "what we're used to". I still feel that fundamental movements are clearly enhanced with the use of poles, rather than without them.
Your assessment of my proposed blading exercise is correct. I would like you all to give it a try. Be as honest and objective as possible and see what you come up with.
I think your post is excellent and proves that if we adapt to continuous changes in how we approach our sport and eliminate the contrivances placed upon us by some professional organizations, then we all can grow and improve our skill sets. Isn't that what this is really about?
Thank for your imput and views. I believe we have all gained by thinking about this complex subject.
: [ October 02, 2002, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: whtmt ]