Originally Posted by SkiSmiles
I agree with your general assessment. With smaller children poles often complicate the situation and can get in the way with some drills done you may do with them. They may try to use them improperly to stop.
The best time to start using them is when the child needs them to accomplish a task or to progress in skill development. Think about the skills you are working on with the child and introduce them when they are needed or helpful in the skills development.
I think that they don't really add anything from the getting around, or non-skiing, perspective, either. With truly small children who are beginners, they aren't going to be able to use them effectively to help get across the flats and they would be better off learning to skate or even shuffle.
But, here's another reason: chairlifts. Child gets on chairlift. Child starts to drop poles. Child reaches for pole. Child drops poles. Child tries to grab poles. Child follows poles. Bad outcome.
All good advice for everyone, adults included. Take out the word may
and insert will
in the above highlighted line and you get most 1st time skiers, Get rid of the poles and this issue never happens. Once a person has been shown how to stop with their feet/legs they won't use pole to stop. Also great call on the chairlift scenario, some of the worst near miss disasters i.e. loading a chair and not falling off I have seen have come from beginners trying to get on with poles.
Just as bad are parents with their young children trying to get on with their child and trying to manage their own poles even if the kids don't have any. Triple and quads are the worst, parent turns to help one small one and bonks the 2nd child with their poles.Get rid of the poles when your out with little ones who are just learning.
Drop the poling on the flats and replace it with skating, that's a skill that will help ones skiing immensely, if an upper body work out is needed hit the gym.