New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Powder without Poles

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm a level 5/6 'adaptive' skier and getting back into the sport after a few years off. My disability only affects my arms, so I've never used poles.

I used to only ski groomers because I had the fear of getting stuck or ending up inverted in powder. But now, the pros outweigh the cons, so I'm starting to venture into off-piste powder. Plus, I'm always with a few buddies, who can help me out if needed.

The question is: What tips do you have for skiing powder without poles? Are poles really necessary for skiing in deep powder?

TIA!
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthrogrian19 View Post
The question is: What tips do you have for skiing powder without poles? Are poles really necessary for skiing in deep powder?
Poles help with timing, rhythm and balance, but you can compensate with a little extra concentration and awareness of your body position. I've read lots about poles vs. no poles, but very little about proper form without poles. I'd love to hear the juicy tidbits of wisdom from the instructors specifically for improving sans poles technique.

But in the meantime, here's some amateur thoughts that helped me get more comfortable w/o poles.

1) Stay forward. The "reaching out" to make pole plants helps with upper body positioning. Adapt by keeping arms and elbows out in front of your body. If you can't reach out with your arms, then "reach out" with your head/shoulders. I initiate turns by tipping my upper body down the fall line (to the inside of my next turn) during the unweighting process and legs/skis magically follow.

2) Avoid backseat: keep your knees over your toes. Your shins should press firmly against the tongue of your boot. A common problem with no pole novices is getting too backseat. I rarely see "leaning too far forward" problems, but routinely see the opposite (poles or no poles). That said, if I see a drift or rise coming up (something that may throw me frontseat), I'll go a bit backseat and extended as I enter it, then as my skis slow down, I bend my knees again and my upper body catches back up. If you find yourself backseat in pow, drive knees forward, toes up to close ankles, and bend forward at waist. This move drives tips up, which will momentarily slow your feet down letting your upper body catch up and get back over your boots.

3) Find your rhythm. Pole "walking" in pow establishes rhythm and fluidity. When poleless, I use the weighting/unweighting of turns to establish a rhythm to link turns. Poles or no poles, linking turns is essential.

4) Don't go straight - always be in some sort of turn. Poles help with balance (think tightrope walker). Arms forward/lean forward addresses fore/aft balance problems. Use the Gs of carving to maintain side-to-side balance.

5) Maintain a strong "inside half". My inside arm is usually raised and extended toward the center of my turn radius. My outside arm is brought in closer to the body (but still forward). Commit your upper body (center of mass) to the inside of your turn, and you'll carve more and skid less.

I'm far from an ideal role model, but here's a steep-shallow-pow clip sans poles. I'd love to hear what I could be doing better.



Poles can be really helpful, but far from required. Just go for it!
post #3 of 19
Snowboarders dont use ski poles eather. I think for powder there is no restrictions as long as you stick to phat skis that float. You can allways work the ski technique and balance part out just like you did on a groomer. However, just as you pointed out falling could be an quite unpleasent experiance but there are more issues. First you have to "get there" and then you have to "get out of there".
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks for the detailed response! I've noticed that I need to greatly alter my weight distribution in powder. I typically put 75%+ of my weight on my outside ski when carving. I understand the weight distribution needs to be 50/50 for powder. I'm fairly good about always facing downhill while carving, so I should be able to easily integrate that into my powder technique.

I've noticed that I sometimes lean back too much and take the pressure off the front of the cuff. I'll make sure I work on that this weekend.

Lastly, I've been shopping for some powder skis. My current setup is inadequate for my size and skiing style; I'm 6'0'', 180#. I'm currently skiing Salomon StreetRacer 9, 165cm, 108/69/102. I've been eyeballing the High Society FR twin tips for powder days.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was finally able to view the video; YouTube is blocked at work. It certainly looks doable without poles, and he wasn't having any trouble linking turns.
post #6 of 19
I've been dealing with some tennis elbow that seems to be inflamed by pole plants so I've been trying to ski without using my poles, though I carry them still. I've had no problems making the switch even though I forget sometimes and use them. When I don't use them, I don't seem to need them, and I have been skiing quite a bit of powder and crud. In fact each of my 10 days this year have had new snow and only one had less than 5" of new.

It can be done.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Posaune View Post
I've been dealing with some tennis elbow that seems to be inflamed by pole plants so I've been trying to ski without using my poles, though I carry them still. I've had no problems making the switch even though I forget sometimes and use them. When I don't use them, I don't seem to need them, and I have been skiing quite a bit of powder and crud. In fact each of my 10 days this year have had new snow and only one had less than 5" of new.

It can be done.
Great to hear you've had success riding powder without poles. I'll see if one of my buddies can bring his camera next trip.

Oh yeah, these should help, too.

High Society FR Twin Tip, 179 cm, 124/92/114

post #8 of 19
Poles are useful when moving at low speed and hiking, which can be the case whether you're on groomed or untracked snow. As far as actual skiing, however, poles are arguably unnecessary anywhere, and most of us probably use them out of habit more than anything. (I could just be projecting, of course, but that's why I use them.)

I should note, however, that the FR isn't really a powder ski. In the PNW, it's more like a one-ski quiver. If you're really looking for powder stability and ease, I'd go wider -- at least to 100mm or so wide.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
I should note, however, that the FR isn't really a powder ski. In the PNW, it's more like a one-ski quiver. If you're really looking for powder stability and ease, I'd go wider -- at least to 100mm or so wide.
I definitely agree with you. I should've explained that my current skis are Salomon StreetRacer 9, 165 cm, 108/69/102, which are way too small for venturing off-piste. They're fine for putting around on nicely groomed runs, but they're unstable at speed and are too small for my size (6'-0", 180 lbs). I'm hoping to use the FRs 90% of the time.
post #10 of 19
arthrogarian,

Poles help stabilize the upper body in pow as direction changes are made. The abs and obliques and be exerted to also help stabilize.

RW
post #11 of 19
Go much bigger than those skis if your not using poles.

all the guys who started the nopolean in powder deal are on reverse camber and soft 120mm+ waisted skis.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
Go much bigger than those skis if your not using poles.

all the guys who started the nopolean in powder deal are on reverse camber and soft 120mm+ waisted skis.
I might get some powder-specific skis in the future if I find that the FRs don't suffice my needs. I've been lusting for some Hellbents.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron White View Post
arthrogarian,

Poles help stabilize the upper body in pow as direction changes are made. The abs and obliques and be exerted to also help stabilize.

RW
Nice general point, Ron, but did you read the original post? He's not choosing not to use poles; he can't use them. His question is basically whether that means he'd doomed to the groomed.
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinedad View Post
Nice general point, Ron, but did you read the original post? He's not choosing not to use poles; he can't use them. His question is basically whether that means he'd doomed to the groomed.
Thanks for the clarification.

One of the hardest things about being poleless is getting through the lift lines, especially if they're narrow and on an incline. It's hard to propel/stop yourself with just your skis in such a small space, without running into other riders. Naturally, fatter/longer skis don't help the situation. But, the payoff is worth the trouble associated with getting bigger skis. If my new skis are difficult to maneuver through busy lift lines, I'll take them off and walk them to the chair.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
BTW, Bushwacker, I recognize some of the scenery in that clip; it was blocked at work. It looks like the Eric Pollard scenes were filmed at Mt Hood Meadows.



As far as my balance and physical strength - both are excellent, even for an able-bodied skier. (I've been playing soccer for 20 years and have legs that look like stumps. ) I honestly can't remember the last time I fell because of balance issues. I usually get caught up in crud from not skiing the fall-line. I'm working on that part, though.
post #16 of 19
I have been skiing for about 16 years.  For the first 12 years I used poles.  Then I took a friend to teach him and left them in the car so I could help him out.  I found that poles are a complete waste of time.  I have raced in NASTAR without them, and I ski all slope levels and never have had a single problem.  For me the benefits outweigh the cons.  I really think it is an unnecessary security blanket. 
I highly recommend to all skiers - Go out without poles for 1 full day and see if they are as 'necessary as you think.  You will probably be surprised.  
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dantes View Post

I have been skiing for about 16 years.  For the first 12 years I used poles.  Then I took a friend to teach him and left them in the car so I could help him out.  I found that poles are a complete waste of time.  I have raced in NASTAR without them, and I ski all slope levels and never have had a single problem.  For me the benefits outweigh the cons.  I really think it is an unnecessary security blanket. 
I highly recommend to all skiers - Go out without poles for 1 full day and see if they are as 'necessary as you think.  You will probably be surprised.  

 

let see video of you skiing steep, bumps or trees? or anything for the matter. Unless your mahre your most likely rotate your upper body and I bet cant link turns on bumps runs....
post #18 of 19
  Try and ski for a day without your poles and see how you do.  Im sure you would be fine, like i said before it is a security blanket.  Maybe you just aren't comfortable without them, or flexible enough?  Try stretching out before you get out there.  Get down very low and use your arms for balance.  Since Ive dropped my poles - ive only improved my nastar racing times.  5 gold medals in the past 4 years.
And I ski all slopes, I do not however, ski in or around trees, or off trail.  Ive seen way too many cocky people go out there and hurt themselves.
post #19 of 19
Skiing without poles can be a good learning tool when working on getting on your edges, carving etc. I do it every now and then especially while high speed cranking.

I've never skied bumps or powder without them, or tried for that matter as i never saw a need to do so or any advantage it would bring me.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Ski Instruction & Coaching