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Anyone ski w/o poles?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I've seen both really good skiers and bad, skiing without poles. (regular skiing, not snowbladers and little kids)

Anyone find any advantage to skiing without poles? How do you do on the steeps? On the cat tracks, etc?

As I recover from a torn thumb, and had to ski pole-less for a day, I'm intrigued, less equipment to deal with, however my skill slumped.
post #2 of 33
I used to ski san's poles. no real problems on steeps or cat tracks. You need to skate well on long flats and not get lazy on steeps but it's works pretty good. Same movements just no tactle feedback from the ground. That's just about all I can say.
post #3 of 33
In Snowriders II there is a segment where Davenport (I think) is skiing with one pole and a cast on the other hand. Did not seem to affect him much.

On a serious note, other than during a lesson or practicing on your own I can't see why you would want to.
post #4 of 33

I consider polling to be an integral part of skiing. So no, I don't ski or practice without them.

In fact, I'm constantly working on proper pole use.
post #5 of 33

I "Did my Thumb" early this season. Torn lig. on Sunday, self diagnosis via internet on Tuesday, surgery on Thursday, and a sled handling clinic (Bumps on Killington Superstar) on Saturday.
I skied without poles for 5 weeks, and as a patroler, ski without poles often on equipment carry tasks.
I have always had poor pole action. Rather a hard stike on fast groomers and a tendency to carry my weight back to my hip when skiing the bumps.
Without poles, and skiing short radius fall line turns, I find I "place" my hands up and forward. This is "good", but it is rather a static "place". The results I have seen is a sense of upper body stillness. That is, without the swing and other action familiar to poling, the body can remain very stationary. Feeling the legs and skis moving to make the angles.

The results? My daughter critiqued me with "Dad, you don't use your poles all the time" when we were out Monday. My pole touch is now very light or not a touch at all, but just a swing.
I still use my pole as a crutch in the bumps.
(I found a rechargeable drill with a two foot pole setting drill bit makes a lousy ski pole. Ski Skating is better refined without the use of poles. Lift line manouvers have their funny moments.

A great drill is to ski with your poles placed across the backs of your outstretched hands.(Have someone follow you to pick up the poles.

I strongly suggest the "Go Poleless" exercise for everyone!


post #6 of 33

I ski at least 1 day a week with no poles, helping Sit-Skiers. I like to thing that it helps my balance. Anytime you take a part of your equipment away you have to adapt to a new condition. I makes me more aware of were my center of balance is. Last weekend on a dare from a couple of Sit-skiers I skied with them with no poles and 1 ski. It had been awhile since I had done this but with a shape ski it made carving on 1 easier. However, my leg was on fire by the time I was 1/2 down the run. :
Not to drag this out any longer, I think all skiers should try restricting themselves from a part of their equipment to see how the other "97%" feel.
post #7 of 33
Skiing with out poles is great for balance purposes. One of my racers broke his thumb early this year. He trained for three weeks without poles. WOW, he improved this season by leaps and bounds. Drills dealling w/out poles, whether on your own time working on your own personal skiing or in a class, are great.

When I ski on my Atomic 150cm 9.10's I don't use poles. They just get in the way. These skis let you lay your body down like a really good alpine boarder. The trenches they can carve in the snow!!! WOW!!!

post #8 of 33
Well said CalG

I use the poles on the backs of the hands exercise with my students all the time. It really calms the upper body and makes them angulate instead of bank with the upper body.
post #9 of 33
I ski about 20% of the season without poles as I quite often teach children. No problem and excellent feet skiing practice.

One thing I am finding this season is that when on the groomers etc I seem to use my poles less and less. I sort of forget to swing them as my skis turn so easily my rythmn seems to have migrated right down to the feet. This is attributed to these short (180) carve skis I am on. I reckon if I skied on a pair of really short skis (just like skating) say 160 or less I could leave my poles at home. Is this the latest development in skiing? after all I don't use poles for surfing, boardering, skating or blading so as ski lenght fast approaches a metre will we actually need poles. (or lessons for that matter)


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 20, 2002 12:50 PM: Message edited 1 time, by man from oz ]</font>
post #10 of 33
A few weeks ago we skiied the bumps with no poles. They were pretty easy bumps with good snow on them. I thought I was going to lost without them.I was very balanced over my feet and my center of mass moved forward. Hands had to be out in front to help maintain balance.
I think it is a good drill to ski without poles particularly for people who have excessive pole movement.
Just some of my thoughts!
post #11 of 33

Skiing without poles is a great exercise, as it lets you experiment with balance and with upper lower body separation. However don't let anyone tell you that poles are a crutch or that there is no advantage to having them. When it comes to bumps, steeps, crud, chop, poles are a definite advantage, especially if skiing aggressively. Even on groomed runs poles are an advantage as they increase lateral balance, if nothing else.

Skiing without poles is a little like skiing with your boot cuffs unbuckled. It is possible and it will give you a great feel for the equipment and the snow. But it is hardly appropriate for aggressive, fast, expert skiing.
post #12 of 33
Poles allow me to commit my "center" to the fall line.
When I ski without them, I tend to be tentative, less bold.

A friend never skies with poles, (though sometimes borrows one in the lift line) she looks, and I am sure feels, like a ball room dancer. Her arms out to the sides with much grace. A high centered or slightly back stance.
She does not accompany me on steep slopes, nor even consider trees or bumps. I have never seen her skis carve. She skis on very old equipment.
That is what she enjoys!

Monday, I saw a border with two very long poles Hmmmm... No Comment.
post #13 of 33
I have to thank Skiminker for introducing me to the pleasures of skiing pole free ! wow its so much fun. and well skiing is all about havin fun right? we never seem to convince any of the blokes to join us though ?

I find its great for helping my balance, if I'm having a bad day, you know one of those...urrghhh nothings working days, I'll leave my poles at the lift station and do a few runs without. I really enjoy the freedom and find I hold my hands out in front and mimic the actions I would take if I had poles. I find my skiing is freeer, I am more observant of the fall line, my skiing becomes more aggressive and less reliant on some safety net piece of equipment. Of course this is mostly on groomers, incl steep blacks. all smiles

one the other hand I must say I am now relearning how to use my poles effectively. I'm quite lazy with pole planting and maybe that explains why I like ditchin them.

Its all FUN
post #14 of 33
I also teach kids from time to time, so skiing without poles is no big deal. I like having them in black and double black terrain.

Years ago, I used to ski in bumps on purpose without them, for training. I still do once in a while, for giggles.

On the groomers, I too tend to bag pole plants a lot. Not needed.
post #15 of 33
Am I the only Bear to have sprained BOTH thumbs in an accident before skiing pole-less?!
It happened over 25 years ago in Scotland when I was instructing, and I remember the experience of a few weeks tackling all kinds of stuff, but luckily only needing to teach beginners.
My recollection is skiing steep slopes by making 'phantom' (we see that word a lot in this community!) pole plants.
It worked, but I wouldn't be without my poles by choice.
On a slightly different note, my intrigue is really the way that pole baskets have declined from great leather and metal contraptions to the pathetic little floppy disks of polythene we see today.
Will baskets disappear completely one day, in the way that some birds evolved to lose their wings?
post #16 of 33
As Jane mentioned, I do love to be without poles. As with many of the others, this began when i was teaching childern as well.

I do like using them in bumps, but there is nothing like the freedom of flying warp speed down a groomer (safely and in control of course : .) It's such a wonderful feeling of freedom. And as someone above mentioned, I always like to shake things up a little and mess with my comfprt level and center of balance. Makes me a beeter skier and makes me have more fun-which is ultimately what it's all about.

So go pole-free and be proud!
post #17 of 33
I used to ski without stocks when my skiing didn't feel quite right. I'd do a few runs sans stocks, and found it beneficial for my balance and body positioning. I use it a lot with students, especially beginners who are leaning on them while trying to ski. It always improves their skiing!

But, I cannot do really aggressive short turns or moguls without them. Short turns, yes, but really cranking ones, no. And when deprived of stocks on a black mogul run, I had to resort to traversing to get down. Very embarassing.
post #18 of 33
A good steeps and bumps technique drill is to do "soft" pole plants. Keep ya poles but see how lightly you can plant them. Just thinking like this, especially when you get a little crossed up on a challenging run, can do wonders for your dynamic centered ski position. It also makes you very aware of any leaning back or upper body rotation that may be going on in your skiing. (much easier on the back and arm muscles as well)

If ya find that your nice fancy poles with the little racing baskets continually dissappear into bumps and soft snow this can be an indication of an over reliance on the "blocking pole" move for dynamic balance. Instead of getting bigger baskets try "softer" pole plants.

I find that level 8 & 9 skiers really benefit from "soft" pole planting in steep, bumps & pow.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #19 of 33
I still maintain that poles are one of the biggest contributors to teminal intermediate skiing. If used correctly, poles can contribute to good skiing and offer advantages in many situations. The problem is that many skiers use poles a part of the turn initiation mechanism instead of originating turn initiation movements from the feet. Poles in this case are used for blocking while forming some kind of platform to push off of.
On easy runs, if your turn initiations are substantially different with and without the poles, you can bet that the poles are allowing you to cheat your way through turn initiations. Most people depend on their poles too much. The question is, to what degree do you depend on your poles to make your turns. Can you ski the same in easy bumps with or without your poles?
Do I use poles? You bet I do, but do I have too? No. My philosophy is reflected in my own skiing. I have taken this "no poles" a bit too far. My use of poles positively stinks. My poles are often doing nothing or dragging or one is touching and one is not. I do need to work on putting good pole use back into my skiing.
Some things to try:
Ski tracer turns without the use of poles. A tracer turn is skiing with the about 90% of your weight on one ski and the other ski tracing on the ground with about 10% weight on it. The same ski carries the weight in both left and right turns.
Pivot slips without the use of poles on groomed fairly easy terrain.
Grip your pole with four fingers and put your thumb on top of the pole. This limits how far you can swing the basket of the pole forward making it difficult to block with the pole and forces you to take your center of mass into the turn to touch your pole.

Yah know every time I type something now I imagine Powdigger sitting their with a SE grin on his face checking how big and wordy and run on and rambling and and choppy my sentences and paragraphs tend to be.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 21, 2002 06:18 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #20 of 33
Thread Starter 
Wow! a lot of responses and a lot of great exercises to try... Thanks all! I too am a lazy pole dragger when carving up the blue groomers, but I do use them effectively on the blacks and in crud. They do help me anticipate turns by "pointing" them out to myself.

Ouch David! I can't imagine going 6 weeks in double splints! I just did the same thumb twice in one season (the first time I ignored it, the 2nd time I went to a doctor). p.s. sometimes I use my sister's ancient poles with the leather baskets as a goof and get a lot of stares (but not her leather boots though..)

Good skiers without poles really do look like they're dancing down the hill and having fun doing it. Bad skiers without poles look even worse.
post #21 of 33
The few times I had to carry the gates on my shoulders (as a teen) or the torches for the end-of-the-week torchlight run...
These past 1-2 years, when carrying my youngest son on the shoulder (at the end of the day, last year at 5yrs 6 months, he was too tired to ski down the last few runs, so I had to carry him)...
post #22 of 33
Pierre eh,

Type away my friend. I won't cramp your creative process. Besides, I am eventually going to print out all of your posts and publish an instructional book and take all the credit.


Ps. Has BW/BM ever re-openned after closing. Man its dumping outside? [img]redface.gif[/img]
post #23 of 33
IMHumbleO you do not need the poles if you make big-radius turns on the edges, unless the poles in your hands, even if not planted, help you keep your balance. (Also, you could use them to sense where the ground is in the whiteout conditions)
If you make short, fall-line turns and want to separate your upper body from your lower body (e.g. on steeps) the solid pole plant feels essential to me.
post #24 of 33
Skiing without poles is fine if you are on the easier more gentle terrain. They are very important in the timing and set up of turns you make, however. If you are skiing w/o poles, take a lesson and get introduced to using them the right way. Do not just grab a pair and go out there and expect to know exactly what to do with them. Not knowing what to do with them and having them in your way and tripping you is actually worse than not using them at all. The correct pole length is also important. For years I skied with a 52" pole because they were comfortable by my standards. Rather recently, I needed to get new poles. I sought advice on the correct pole for me and found out that I should be using a 48" pole. The correct size made a hugh difference!
post #25 of 33
Ok, lets see what kind of responses I can get to this.

If we had all started skiing without poles and had never seen or used them we would be skiing all the same places we do now and the movement patterns of the feet and legs and the torso would be identical to what we are doing now. Only what our hands and arms were doing would be different.

post #26 of 33
You're right!

Many placed start their beginning skiers without poles. Poles in a beginner's lesson are often more of a nuisance than they are a help. I know someone who has skied for 8 years and has never used poles. She is a good skier despite not having poles. She is able to handle most any terrain. My advice, however, is to try to add poles because there is a benefit and they do help with timing. You should have someone who knows how to use them correctly teach you to use them, however. If you are comfortable without poles, by all means ski that way. Many people who carry poles don't actually use them when they ski.
post #27 of 33
How the heck are you supposed to protect yourself from boarders without your ski poles????
post #28 of 33
Ydnar said:
>>If we had all started skiing without poles and had never seen or used them we would be skiing all the same places we do now and the movement patterns of the feet and legs and the torso would be identical to what we are doing now. Only what our hands and arms were doing would be different.<<

Ydnar, I would differ a bit on your statement that skiers would be doing the indentical things they are doing now without poles. If only that were true in practice. What I see and you probably do to, is that most skiers use their poles with varying degrees to stop over rotation (blocking) from one turn to the next. Poles allow most skiers to quasi-control rotation as a viable reliable means of turn initiation.
Without the use of poles these same skiers would find it hard to control rotation and thus would have to rely more on using the feet and lower body to control turning. This would imply that the movements would be different if those skiers had started without poles. Where this would really manifests itself, is on steep terrain and bumps.
I will agree with you that we would indeed be skiing every thing we do now without the use of poles had they not been given to us long ago. Poles are not necessary for skiing steeps or bumps.
To all, I am not saying that poles should be set aside and I will concede that poles greatly aid those skiers with a tendency for upper body rotation. Especially in steeps and bumps. Poles also give a sense of security in steeps and bumps because, poles say "you can make more mistakes cause I can correct them with a pole plant".
If you want to know whether you rely too heavily on poles for blocking just ski with a partner on easy terrain and close your eyes and ski with or without your poles. You will answer your own question.
Ydnar, a ski instructor from our area by the name of David Gleason is teaching end of season at DV, say hi for me if you bump into him.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 24, 2002 08:00 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Pierre eh! ]</font>
post #29 of 33
Lisamarie, I guess you would have to moon them. :
post #30 of 33
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pierre eh!:
Lisamarie, I guess you would have to moon them. :<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Pierre eh!
If that's the deal, then light up my doobie, man, I'm hitting the half pipe fakey!

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