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post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
The 2 times I skied this year I noticed that I was using my poles less often. I used to use them for everything but deep carving, but now I only am using them when it seems natural. It has been my goal the last 2 seasons to cut out all extraneous movements and contrived positions, and alot of times on groomed trails, pole plants seem to be completely unnecessary. What do you guys think of this?
post #2 of 18
Uh, Pierre eh?
post #3 of 18
In my lesson at the canyons this past week I encountered the same thing.
I asked why this seems to be and the explaination I got was:
The pole plant or better yet, pole touch is more of a timing and reference point than a physical need. Our body uses the touch to reference our position. As we build Centrifical force under our feet in the turn, this supplies us with the necessary feedback and balance thus making the pole touch less important. This does not mean pole touches are unnecessary, just less so depending on the terrain and need for a reference point and grounding of the upper body.
Hope that helps
post #4 of 18
"The pole plant or better yet, pole touch is more of a timing and reference point than a physical need."
I couldn't agree more with that statement, and the entire post as well. After switching to shaped skis and "relearning" how to turn, I had gotten away from using my poles. I kept associating them with the "weight-plant pole-unweight" school of parallel turning I had known for years. After having my son video tape me coming down a series of blues (backwards on a snowboard...him, not me), I realized my upper body had gotten stiff, even though my weight was about right where it should be. On steeper blacks, once again I was weighted right, but slow in turning, causing me to pick up too much speed. Then, something I read in this forum (I don't recall what thread) made me remember how important poles are to proper balance and timing in making quick turns. As dchan says, not a plant, but a touch is all it takes. The result was a marked improvement. I now tend to think of them as my antennae, like some hideous skiing cockroach. But it works!
post #5 of 18
You might be interested in a recent article in Ski Racing News on "old school" vs. "new school" slalom technique, the latter evolving from the new shortie sl skis (typically 167 to 174 for World Cup men).

On the subject of pole plant/touch/swing/whatever, the quote from a Park City coach was something like, "If you don't have a good pole plant, don't bother leaving the lodge."
post #6 of 18
What year was that quote from the coach?

I do agree with modern skis and carving techniques the edge set/aggressive pole plant is no longer needed.

I like dchan's line about more of a timing thing then a physical need. I've noticed too in my own skiing the hard pole plant is gone. I'm doing bigger faster turns and just time my new turn with a pole touch.

You still must keep your hands up and do a pole touch with wrist movement only.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by Arby (edited January 23, 2001).]</FONT>
post #7 of 18
The article is from the most recent issue, so presumably the quote is from this season.
post #8 of 18
This topic is not really amenable to discussion (especially over the internet), but I firmly believe that pole plant (touch/swing/whatever) is essential to good skiing. No world-elite level skier (whether racing, moguls, or extreme) to my knowledge gets by without using poles as a timing device.

Yes, bad habits can certainly form around poles, but bad habits can also form around skis & boots too.
post #9 of 18
Johnathan, I'm right with you. Pole plants are very important, but depending upon the turn shape, pitch, speed, terrain, etc, they will vary in how the pole is planted. I for one can't imagine skiing something really steep without a good solid pole plant, or running a slalom course, or skiing the bumps.
post #10 of 18
I use the poles when I'm off balance to get back in the saddle and they are great in the liftline especially when it is inclined
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Yes ,Pierre, that is what I am thinking. Excepting recovery movements,every movement made while skiing requires compensation in some way. Even moving the pole forward changes your balance. I am trying to get my skiing to be more "natural", only using the muscles to move the skeleton into proper alignment and balance, and focusing on the feet. If the poles aren't necessary for a turn, why bother? I haven't tried it in the bumps yet, maybe next time. Should be interesting!
post #12 of 18
I see this same thing in a lot of my skiing, but mainly on the groomers. When I am carving fast and really getting low I tend not to use my poles. They just stay out in front of me. I still do use them in the bumps and steeps though. I find that it helps keep my body down the fall line at the iniation of my turns and keeps my sholders square with the hill. All important points when the terrain gets tough.
post #13 of 18

In the "lesson" I got at High that day I mentioned, pole use was featured, to wonderful results. (I had always wondered why in the hell I had these things except on steep stuff.) The use of them as levers, and how the subtlest movements resulted in crucial weight shifts and as timing devices, was revelatory. I felt like I had truly learned something. Also, in relation to proper hand position and the subtle flick of the wrists that the rest of my body so quickly responded to.
And watching this guy ski also pointed out the benefit of economy of motion, devoid of the "extraneous" stuff that might feel right (until you learn otherwise) but serve no real purpose.
post #14 of 18
My question is about reducing lateral arm swing, which is related to pole use (I swing them too) but beyond it since I'd probably swing my arms even without poles. What do you experts suggest to help avoid nonproductive arm swing? All my ski instructors tell me to stop waving my arms across the body midline, but it's an old bad habit I just can't seem to stop, and am often am unaware of swinging the arms at all.
post #15 of 18
Try this exercise,
try to keep your pole tips always about 2 inches off the ground. as you move to do your pole touch, keep the pole tip moving parallel to the ground about 2 inches up. Make the pole touch and let the pole swing back but do not let the arm come up. instead work on keeping the pole tip about 2" off the ground as you move to the next turn and your next pole touch. This will do 3 things.
1, it will keep you from lifting your hands up too high (extra movement) and 2, It wil force you to move your whole body (and center of Mass) as you move towards your next pole touch and turn. 3. If you keep the pole tips near the ground you will not be able or should not be able to bring your hands and arms across your body. It almost forces you to release your edges and init your next turn.
I think that's how it works. Some of the better instructors can probably explain it better.
Hope that helps.<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by dchan (edited January 27, 2001).]</FONT>
post #16 of 18
dchan, I think that Don was refering to lateral swing of the arms, not up-down. The best cure for both ailments are using wrist motions to do the pole-touch. When you actively use you wrist to "reach out" for the next spot to touch your pole and you move only your wrist while skiing around or along that point, your arms should be relatively stationary.

As for the use of poles in general, I admit that I prefer having the poles for balance and difficult conditions. Since I have started using short skis I can do without poles just fine, but I am not ready to throw them away.
post #17 of 18
I was aware of that. the exercise if done correctly will stop lateral movement too because in order to swing your hands across your body you have to lift the pole.
post #18 of 18
I broke my pole this weekend at Alta. Lost the bottom half of the pole. Skied the rest of the day with 1.5 poles. I tried a number of different things - not using the poles, holding them out in front of me (tightrope walker fashion) and just pretending I still had the pole. On the groomers it didn't much matter, what I did. On the steeper stuff, like area around the sign line in Ballroom holding the poles out front was different but I could still take a line similar to what I usually do - but it felt odd. On the really steep stuff I had to pretend I had the pole. If I didn't reach out and pretend to plant the pole I had a hard time commiting to the turn. Also the faster I went the less I noticed the missing pole. Anyway, most of this agrees with what has been said. Just thought I'd add my .02$ abouit my experience Sunday.
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