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Inside pole as a balance point?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi folks! 

I've been watching the level III CSIA standards video here: http://www.snowproab.com/skipro/course_materials.htm (see Level III Standards button in the video player) and have begun to notice something interesting: many of the l3 candidates appear to me to be supporting at least some of their weight on the inside pole. Basically, after the pole plant, it looks like excess weight is left on the inside pole as it's dragged along behind. You can see it in the following cases: 

  • intermediate parallel white jacket
  • intermediate parallel gray/red jacket
  • intermediate parallel blue (last 2 turns)

  • short radius red jacket (at times--see slowmo)
  • short radius black jacket
  • short radius bib guy
  • short radius dark blue jacket

  • advanced parallel red jacket #1

  • most Bumps demos

Is this actually happening? Are these skiers (purposely or not) dragging their poles to enlarge their base of support? Or is there something else going on? I did notice one of the advanced parallel dudes (the one without any hat) didn't do so--he did look incredibly well balanced, where some of the other skiers looked slightly more in need of a larger base of support, which they could get by dragging a pole... so this is my theory for now. Or is it happening for some other reason? (e.g. simply illusionary due to a firm pole plant and a strong grip on poles)

Though it raises the question... could you instead extend your BoS with your outside pole and also take advantage of higher edge angles through greater angulation? 
post #2 of 14
I haven't read their maneuver descriptions, but if you watch the wedged tasks, you'll see the poles dragging on the snow throughout.  I'd guess the higher level movement pattern with the poles on the snow is a carry-over from that practice.

Most good skiers use the poles like that at least occasionally as a sensor to gauge torso position.  You simply can't  apply much weight that way, though, and it would interfere with commitment to the next turn.  I didn't see any of those guys actually weighting the inside pole (no pole shaft bend).
post #3 of 14
My take is that if someone is leaning on their inside pole then that person must be out of balance.
post #4 of 14
I often, no, most always, drag my inside pole. It is a habit and I don't know where it came from. It doesn't affect my BoS. I don't do it because I'm out of balace. I'm not out of balance because I do it.

The inside pole's position is derived from the position of the inside hand. At the apex of a moderately fast turn my hands would have to go too high to lift the tip of the pole off the ground if the pole were held vertically. As I don't want to raise my inside hand to make room for the pole, I let it angle back; a position that requires little or no action acheive. I could point the pole to the center of the radius of the turn, but that would require energy and possibly transmit tension up my arm and into my torso; not a desireable effect. The outside pole doesn't drag because it swings away from the center of the turn on its own. The inside pole hands down and behind me because my relaxed inside hand position isn't trying to/doesn't need to elevate the pole off the snow.

I just went from not knowing why I drag my pole to knowing. Nice question, OP
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post

Most good skiers use the poles like that at least occasionally as a sensor to gauge torso position.  You simply can't  apply much weight that way, though, and it would interfere with commitment to the next turn.  I didn't see any of those guys actually weighting the inside pole (no pole shaft bend).

Thanks Kneale--you're right that there's no bend in the pole, so no weighting happening. Can you please expand on using the pole to gauge torso position? Are you merely using the feel to gauge your vertical (up/down) position? If so, why? (My thought around vertical position is skiers are concerned with their snow contact and maintaining an evenly increasing/decreasing pressure within thresholds, which you feel through the ski; I'm curious how the dragged pole improves on the cue you receive through the feeling in your foot and along your leg muscles) Or are you sensing in another plane of balance with the pole? (lateral or fore/aft...) if so, how/why? (all that my pole currently tells me after the plant is if my hand is dropping... which means I'm possibly falling fore or aft... or what the snow conditions are, though you felt it when you planted the pole and your skis are already telling you)


Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

I just went from not knowing why I drag my pole to knowing. Nice question, OP

Serendipitous! Glad I could help...
post #6 of 14
"Thanks Kneale--you're right that there's no bend in the pole, so no weighting happening. Can you please expand on using the pole to gauge torso position? Are you merely using the feel to gauge your vertical (up/down) position? If so, why? "

Just a gauge of uprightness, I'd say.  Too much pressure on the pole indicates too much tilting.
post #7 of 14
A lot of ski racers drag their inside poles, especially in GS.  Check out videos of French ski racer Joel Chenal, who does it constantly and more extremely than most.

I've always found/assumed:

1.  It acts as a "cat's whisker" balance aid to monitor/assist from falling in, and a correction mechanism, as you can exert a little pressure to recover balance, or not.  (It doesn't take much.)

2.  It improves confidence, as you can commit to steeper edge angles with less anxiety about falling in.

3.  If you are falling in, you can use the dragging pole hand, close to the snow, in a snow punch to put yourself upright.

Despite the absolutely critical need, in a sport where victory margins are a few hundredths of a second, to minimize drag, the racers who do this find the balance/confidence/ability to commit outweighs the drag.  (Note:  Joel Chenal is a 6 point GS skier.  But note also:  Ski racers have very small baskets on their racing poles, often aerodynamically shaped, so the drag isn't as much as it would be with a larger baskets.)

In doing balance drills (especially turning exclusively on the inside ski) I find that dragging a pole for balance is somewhere between really useful and almost essential.

SfDean.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sfdean View Post



In doing balance drills (especially turning exclusively on the inside ski) I find that dragging a pole for balance is somewhere between really useful and almost essential.

SfDean.

Very true!

When doing one ski drills, the degree of difficulty leaps when the poles are shed.   The dragging inside pole not only provides a point of reference, and a minor lateral balance aid, it makes changing and maintaining rotational states easier.  

I actually encourage using the support of the inside pole as a early progression tool when first learning inside ski balance.  It's a training wheel that can make first attempts at tipping the body inside the inside foot a more comfortable thing to do.
post #9 of 14
 Good point about the "comfortable thing to do", Rick.  These "versatility" drills do something that is very important --- they instill confidence.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick View Post


When doing one ski drills, the degree of difficulty leaps when the poles are shed.   The dragging inside pole not only provides a point of reference, and a minor lateral balance aid, it makes changing and maintaining rotational states easier.  

I actually encourage using the support of the inside pole as a early progression tool when first learning inside ski balance.  It's a training wheel that can make first attempts at tipping the body inside the inside foot a more comfortable thing to do.

Nice. I'm going to follow your advice on my next attempt at charleston turns. it only works while turning right... lefts are difficult for now.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post

Hi folks! 

I've been watching the level III CSIA standards video here: http://www.snowproab.com/skipro/course_materials.htm (see Level III Standards button in the video player) and have begun to notice something interesting: many of the l3 candidates appear to me to be supporting at least some of their weight on the inside pole. Basically, after the pole plant, it looks like excess weight is left on the inside pole as it's dragged along behind. You can see it in the following cases: 

  • intermediate parallel white jacket
  • intermediate parallel gray/red jacket
  • intermediate parallel blue (last 2 turns)
  • short radius red jacket (at times--see slowmo)
  • short radius black jacket
  • short radius bib guy
  • short radius dark blue jacket
  • advanced parallel red jacket #1
  • most Bumps demos

Is this actually happening? Are these skiers (purposely or not) dragging their poles to enlarge their base of support? Or is there something else going on? I did notice one of the advanced parallel dudes (the one without any hat) didn't do so--he did look incredibly well balanced, where some of the other skiers looked slightly more in need of a larger base of support, which they could get by dragging a pole... so this is my theory for now. Or is it happening for some other reason? (e.g. simply illusionary due to a firm pole plant and a strong grip on poles)

Though it raises the question... could you instead extend your BoS with your outside pole and also take advantage of higher edge angles through greater angulation? 

Anyone that drags their inside poles into the snow is seeking balance. Something he does not get from his stance alone. Maybe you should not demo anything until you have corrected that.
post #12 of 14
 I agree with wigs, if you are gonna drag anything make it your knuckles.

I find when training other instructors they gain superior balance sensations when they stop dragging the pole and balance from their feet.  the accuracy improves and so often it will free up movements in a significant way.  

Good eye!!!  great observation
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyfast View Post

Anyone that drags their inside poles into the snow is seeking balance. Something he does not get from his stance alone. Maybe you should not demo anything until you have corrected that.

Originally Posted by mosh View Post

 I agree with wigs, if you are gonna drag anything make it your knuckles.
Hi guys, 

Is this general advice, or did it actually appear in the videos that their balance was affected?
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Metaphor_ View Post




Hi guys, 

Is this general advice, or did it actually appear in the videos that their balance was affected?
 

Well if you look at the videos, the outside hand is placed higher than the inside arm and that pushes them towards the inside of the turn and therefore it is tough to hold the balance without the pole dragging. (too much weight on the inside ski) It also causes a slight rotation of the torso and your hip moves into a more neutral position thus making the edge angle more flat.
One of them has a "good" turn towards the left but the one to the right suffers from the same thing. Once they increase the speed, they have no problem with it, but it does not make it right for a demonstration, it really should not happen this way. A student learning this way will have problems to succeed if he does not know the difference.
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