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post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I've found I'm a much more relaxed skier when I drop the poles off somewhere and just ski. I'm always worrying where they are, how to swing them, how to keep them from dragging behind, sticking too hard, running over them with a ski : , and numerous other annoyances. I feel I can concentrate better on the other things I have going on without them.

Does anyone else feel comfortable without poles, and if so, how silly does it look NOT to have something in your hand (and where should they be?)
post #2 of 10
I use this exercise all the time when I teach. Some of my students are afraid to give up their poles but once they do it sets them free.
I find that this helps quiet down the upper body and gets the feet working more. I ask my students to keep their hands within their periphrial(sp?)vision. I also think this helps alot with balance.
Without poles to drag around I think it helps the hips get back over the feet.
I ski alot without my poles even in the bumps.
I do feel however that poles play a crucial role.If used properly they help use move into the new turn and helps us with rythm,timing and balance. I don't think I would like to be without them on something very steep.
post #3 of 10
Originally posted by TCarey:
Some of my students are afraid to give up their poles but once they do it sets them free.
I totally agree. I've had students that were so afraid to give them up and so happy when they did. As I tell them, you ski with your feet, not your hands.

I spend about half the season skiing without poles. Either from teaching kids' lessons, or this year because of breaking my thumb. I even raced poleless, and maybe this says how bad I am at racing, but I got some of my best times without poles. It's hard to ski bumps without poles, but I do think it's good for you.
post #4 of 10
When I ski without poles in the bumps I pretend that I have them. The hands must stay forward here and it really gets you balanced. Use the same motion with your wrist just like you would if you had them in your hands.
post #5 of 10
Bonni I think it's a great way to ski/practice. I must add this is coming from a guy with issues involving how I use my hands!

I spent the day with Bob Barnes and a couple of other instructors working on this very topic. I'm trying to think of a succinct summary. As I type I could write about it for a long time.

1. Keep your elbows ahead of your spine.

2. Never allow your hands to drop below your elbows when observed from the bottom of the hill.

I'll leave it at that. Others can certainly add more. Find a pro to teach you a drill called "pole boxes". It's a great way to fix a great many issues.
post #6 of 10
I love teaching pole-less, I do it all the time. It's such a fast way to improve peoples' skiing.

If I've got beginners or level 2s, the minute I seem them stabbing away at the ground with them, we ditch the poles. And like others have said, once they "feel" it, they often demand angrily what are poles for and why do we HAVE to use them?! It lets low-end skiiers develop more natural balance and body position, and they can feel the improvement.

I can't ski bumps with out them though. At Keystone our coach had us try to do Ambush without them, and I just lost it.
post #7 of 10
Yes - spent years skiing saans poles... helps balance a lot & prevents confusion - worry only about feet/legs not arms/hands & get the feet bit working - then add hands back...

Also you do learn to keep them in sight when you ski poleless - because you can't feel them on the ground now...

If you have lower end skiers skiing poleless have them turn palms down & extend fingers so that hand is stretched a bit.. seems to help quite a lot
post #8 of 10
Originally posted by Bonni:
Does anyone else feel comfortable without poles, and if so, how silly does it look NOT to have something in your hand (and where should they be?)
Did I look silly at Butternut when I gave my poles to Tim to try with his blades? Did you really notice a huge difference in my skiing without them?

If you really don't know what to do with the poles there is really no need to have them. A lot of times skiers who do not know how to use them end up causing problems for themselves with them. They flail them all about (you don't do this), they misplant them, and end up tripping themselves or knocking themselves off balance. My 12 year old niece, who has been skiing since she was 2 still prefers to ski without poles, though she does use them at times. I rarely use them when I have a lesson. There are even times that you will see me holding my poles horizontal in front of me when I am skiing down the hill. If you feel more comfortable without them, so be it!
post #9 of 10
I often take the poles away to get students to use their hands to make them do something specific with their feet. If you make them "pretend" their hands are their feet, the feet will usually follow. This takes the concentration away from their feet, and often the hill (steep). It also requires them to hold the hands out far enough so they can see them and where they are going. (moves the balance forward)
post #10 of 10
Also, a training exercise for the NSP for fast running a sled to a scene used to involve holding the poles, one at each side in an horizontal position (mid-shaft) to simulate the toboggan handles and skiing as fast and as short of turn as you could (with the objective of keeping the sled in the straightest possible line you could). From there you would transition into the sled handles and fast run the sled empty.

It's been a while since I have been a member of the NSP, but I can't imagine that this has changed all that much.

My point here, poles are not 100% essential to skiing. Yeah, great skiers look even better with their poles. I bet though that they can ski equally as well without them. Until pole use is properly introduced, it's primary use for a skier is to push themselved forward on flats. If you can get away without them, I say try it for a few runs. Focus on the skiing, then gradually reintroduce them to your skiing. This would make a great topic (activity) for your next ETU or ESA group when the instructor asks what you want to learn.
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