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Bumps=Pole Plants

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
For all the discussions we have had around here the past several years about moguls and pole plants, I think there is one thing that hasn't been mentioned that is so very important.

You can't have quick feet if you have slow hands. And for many, slow hands are keeping them from excelling in moguls. Much like sprinters on the track, the hands are moving with the strides of the legs and feet. I've coached football for decades and those with slow hands have slow feet. The same thing goes in skiing.

What the hands do for mogul skiing is control the upper body. Quick flicks of the wrists combined with pole touches down the hill instead of plants allow you to be more in rythem with your feet as well as flowing down the hill upper body quiet and in control.

Slow hands make hard pole plants that force you to ski by your hands pulling them back as well as pulling you back into the backseat. This also forces you to use upper body strength to make the next plant with the other hand. Before you know it, your upper body isn't faceing down the fall line anymore, it's bobbing around out of balance with your skis across the hill and in position where you either have to pull out or miss a bump or two and your speed controol is gone.

Next time you practice your quick turns on the groomed practice your quick hands as well. You'll find as your hands get quicker, so will your feet and your bump technique will improve.
post #2 of 12
Lars, discipline in your arms and hands is certainly important but in your running analogy the arms are swinging in a cross lateral fashion. Not really something we want in the moguls. Accurate arms and hands means they are pretty quiet regardless of how we plant the pole. More important is making sure that our pole usage compliments our legs usage instead of interfering with it.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
That's not what I am trying to picture here. Is that what you're reading? If so, maybe I should rephrase it. The movement is just a wrist flick with the elbows rotating near the body, not extending the arms way out. If you look at the video Paul Jones provides, you'll see what I mean. If fack, the still of his video in the first frame shows the arm extended way too far from his body, and sideways to the fall line.

Is everyone else confused here?
post #4 of 12
I think you are right that upper body discipline is important and many skiers hang onto the pole plant too long. Which compromises their ability to balance effectively. It is also very important to understand that if you use your pole as a trigger for the next turn, then it would follow that those movements need to happen at the right point in time. It is also why you see a racer trying to regain their equalibrium by driving both hands forward. It helps them regain some upper body discipline. In that context, hand and arm usage is very important. As you pointed out upper body stability is the outcome we're seeking. If our pole usage compromises that stability, we should reconsider what we're doing. I really don't think we disagree about this. Beyond that it's hard to for me to suggest hard and fast rules about blocking, reaching, or pole touches. IMO the more variable the terrain, the more movement options we need in our quiver to negotiate that terrain effectively.
The other point I was making is that the image of a sprinter doesn't work well for me. Mostly because the arms are swinging and they are doing so through a much wider range of motion. In addition running is a cross lateral activity (left arm moves forward as the right leg moves backward). Which is similar to how a horse gallops. Skiing is a bilateral activity. which is closer to how a deer runs, (front feet moving together, back feet moving together). It's almost like they're bounding, or hopping. Which IMO is a totally different image.
post #5 of 12
Collected is quicker than extended.
post #6 of 12
It all depends on the terrain. If the slope is steep enough just touching the pole to the ground requires a reaching pole movement. Which means extending is just part of the range of motion we need to ski steep bumps well. Which also is why speaking in absolutes doesn't work. Too many variable exist for any one movement to be offered as an absolute rule. Although like Lars pointed out hanging onto the pole plant too long usually causes trouble and should be avoided most of the time.
post #7 of 12
I conjecture that moving/balancing from the CoM outward is a starting point. Then attributing movements for the task at hand. Skiing has abstractions.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ya, the point with my sprinter comment is to make people realize that even though running is mainnly due to leg and foot movements, if you watch good sprinters you will see that their hand speed coincide with their foot speed. They are slow and out of sync if they were to move their hands slower than their feet.

Watch a good competition bump run. The hands are in sync and planting with every turn of the feet. Their hands never ever extend to the side or behind the body. In fact, very seldom outside their elbows in relation to their body position.

Many aspiring bumpers use their poles for crutches to support the upper body and for balance. Thus you see their pole plant end up behind them. This not only turns the upper body and feet away from the fall line, it also puts them in the back seat. End of speed control, end of edge control= bailout
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by slider View Post
Collected is quicker than extended.
Not if we are talking about a yard sale in the bumps.
post #10 of 12
Watch the following clip of Plake (amonst others).

Apart from when he is late, and/or in a recovery move, every pole plant of his (and other skiers, incl. JC and WW) are on the uphill face of the bumps.

The normal speed version can be found in the following clip:

post #11 of 12
I'll definitely keep the info in this thread in the back of my mind on my next trip to Meadows, even though I don't use poles. I skied a few blacks yesterday (Titan and Murcury @ Mt. Hood Meadows), and I had a hard time linking turns. I had to stop after a few turns to collect myself and scrub some speed. The fresh snow was already skied out leaving a nice layer of ice, which didn't help.
post #12 of 12
Tips given to me by an x-freestyle competitor were to have the pole ready to plant before the skis reach the fall line so the plant can be made as soon as you spot a good looking spot, and to never bring the pole forward past the fall line. Plant straight downhill from the boots and make your turn. This is quick, as Lars is recommending, plus contributs to the necessary strong inside half due to reaching way down the hill.
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