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ski pole length for sl

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
 In current SL technique how long should your ski poles be?normal ,longer or shorter

What,s the best way to work out the length you need for SL only?
post #2 of 16
Ski poles are used in SL primarily for start and blocking gates. At the start longer poles are better but for blocking shorter are quicker to move arround and length is of no importance. The pole plant is made today when skier is very close to the snow so shorter would be better here too. I use long poles for everything but Im going to try shorter next season.
post #3 of 16
I agree with tdk6. Start with a pole that is definitely long enough and train with it. See if the pole plant is negatively affected by the pole length:

  • does your hand go up higher than your shoulder?
  • does your arm get kicked up?
  • does your pole plant affect your balance in an undesirable fashion?

Use video and get your coach's opinion on the effect of your pole plant on your skiing.

If the pole is causing problems cut it down, 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch until you have no negative responses from the questions above.

To get a better start, practice starts. We have done informal testing and found that up to a second or two can be gained by improving starts. Less so in tech. Unless you have a flat start, the only pole work you should do in SL to get started is the double thrust out of the start. The first gate will be there so quickly that it will be much more important to be ready for that crucial turn than to get another .1 sec from another thrust. You could easily loose more than that with a poor first turn.

MR
post #4 of 16
The trend is a bit longer, primarily for a strong start.  I'm 5' - 7" and I use a 125cm SL pole.  MR's comments highlight some good things to look at to help evaluate if you've got the right length.  There are also some adaptations e.g. planting further out from your ski to manage the length as an alternative to cutting the poles down right away.  Experimenting with different length poles, with video analysis, is a great way to figure out your optimal length. 
post #5 of 16

Technique is individual but the blocking is done with nearly a horisontal pole. Next comes the pole plant. This means that the tip has to drop down vertically while the arm itself does not move that much down. It stays up in order to keep the shoulders levelled. The plant is more a tap than a proper plant. The pole kind of swings out horisontally to block the gate followed by the tap. A longer pole would be somewhat clumbsy and slow to move arround but other than that the pole length does not matter much. IMHO offcourse. I personally think that people use too short poles. Especially kids since they grow so fast and their parrents dont want to buy new poles every year. Check out Matt:

http://www.ronlemaster.com/images/2006-2007-B/slides/matt-bc-2006-sl-1.html

 

post #6 of 16
I've also been a little curious about this for a time. I'm also 5' 7" and have been using 125 cm poles cut down to 123 for years. The notion that a longer pole will give you more of a push out of the start is ok but dont forget that we are generally standing taller off the snow due to plate/binding stack heights than we used to be so it would seem to even out in the wash. Having said that, we are (hopefully!) really cranking out turns with our feet much further out from our bodies with our bodies consequently closer to the snow so I can see a pole that is too long getting in the way a little. I can only hope this eventually becomes an issue for me to worry about!
post #7 of 16
By the book I should probably be using 50 inch poles. I personally prefer a slightly shorter pole for that type of stuff so I use a 48. I guess try borrowing some different poles of different lengths from friends to start with and see what you prefer.
post #8 of 16
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post #9 of 16
A lot of people seem to drop down a bit (an inch or two) going from their "regular skiing" to their slalom poles.

Ultimately, it's going to be a matter of personal feel, preference and what your weakness is. When I tried 2" shorter poles for slalom, they just felt too weird, and they made it too easy for me to drop me hands too low (which I tend to do anyway).

For SL, when you're probably going to plant your poles 40+ times, the effect of having your turns be even slightly "off" would seem to outweigh any advantage pushing off at the start. Of course, in speed events, the poles don't have any use except at the start (and as hand-weights for balance). GS kind of depends on the skier.
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sjjohnston View Post

A lot of people seem to drop down a bit (an inch or two) going from their "regular skiing" to their slalom poles.

Ultimately, it's going to be a matter of personal feel, preference and what your weakness is. When I tried 2" shorter poles for slalom, they just felt too weird, and they made it too easy for me to drop me hands too low (which I tend to do anyway).

For SL, when you're probably going to plant your poles 40+ times, the effect of having your turns be even slightly "off" would seem to outweigh any advantage pushing off at the start. Of course, in speed events, the poles don't have any use except at the start (and as hand-weights for balance). GS kind of depends on the skier.
I agree with you but the pole plant can be useful for setting up the timing of the turn. I dropped the pole plant completely from my carving but have been bringing it back again. IMO it doesent really help me with anything but who am I to know. Anyway, I can do it both ways. Its very usual for GS skiers to tap. Some do it in speed events too. Its highly personal. I for one think that you should be able to ski both with and without pole plants. I for one find it uncomfortable to ski sl and gs with different pole lengths so I stick to longer poles.
post #11 of 16
 Why is it that people only see poling as the activity of pushing the pole into the snow?  There is a wide range of movements that assist in recentering whether or not the poles are driven into the snow.  Especially in GS turns.  

TDK6,

I'm betting that when you dropped the poling, you still moved your arms.
post #12 of 16
The trend is actually shorter and here's why:

Remember that in SL you're skiing primarily with a very flexed transition (just the nature of the event), and referencing tdk's montage of Mario Matt, you can see that during this flexed transition is where the pole plant/tap is happening. The result is if you're using too long of a pole you're quickly going to find your poles above your head when planting them... which will be very cumbersome in a course (probably causing you to run over them). Now, also take into consideration that most are not skiing with the same angles that Mr. Matt is demonstrating, and probably also don't ski with the same RoM that he is demonstrating in transition... so the need for an extremely short pole will be less, but still necessary.

For me I ski with 120cm poles everywhere but in SL, where I use 115cm poles. At first it sounds short, but if you've ever run over your poles in a SL course because they caught the snow too soon, you will quickly realize the benefit of getting them out of the way.

Later,

Greg
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeluvaSkier View Post

The trend is actually shorter and here's why:

Remember that in SL you're skiing primarily with a very flexed transition (just the nature of the event), and referencing tdk's montage of Mario Matt, you can see that during this flexed transition is where the pole plant/tap is happening. The result is if you're using too long of a pole you're quickly going to find your poles above your head when planting them... which will be very cumbersome in a course (probably causing you to run over them). Now, also take into consideration that most are not skiing with the same angles that Mr. Matt is demonstrating, and probably also don't ski with the same RoM that he is demonstrating in transition... so the need for an extremely short pole will be less, but still necessary.

For me I ski with 120cm poles everywhere but in SL, where I use 115cm poles. At first it sounds short, but if you've ever run over your poles in a SL course because they caught the snow too soon, you will quickly realize the benefit of getting them out of the way.

Later,

Greg
 

Im going to try shorter poles this year. Hate all this gear piling up thou..... BTW, what is RoM?
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

Im going to try shorter poles this year. Hate all this gear piling up thou..... BTW, what is RoM?

RoM = Range of Motion
post #15 of 16
Thanks Helluva. Yes, that kind of range comes 30y younger than me.....

I just checked on my poles. Im 6foot2 190cm and I use 54" 135cm long ski poles. Wonder how much shorter I should go?
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdk6 View Post

Thanks Helluva. Yes, that kind of range comes 30y younger than me.....

I just checked on my poles. Im 6foot2 190cm and I use 54" 135cm long ski poles. Wonder how much shorter I should go?

See if you can borrow some 52" poles from a fellow racer and try them out in and out of a course some night. They will feel different at first, but you may come to like the shorter length.
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