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Is pole planting necessary?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Whilst I agree it isn't always necessary, I was taught to do it and 100 weeks of skiing later I find one of the main benefits is to ensure that my hands are in front of me and if that's the case then there is less chance that my upper body will be twisted round as well as keeping my weight forward. Of course I do still find that due to difficult terrain or just lack of concentration I find my hand starting to trail behind my body and that almost always results in a poor turn and consequentially my weight starting to be on the back of my skis
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Pole planting is essential, even for snowboarders!


http://youtube.com/v/A2_pPKGtrew
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@BoardieK, Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Yes skiing is an art form as much as a technical discipline. A good skier should look elegant as well as not fall and be able to ski all conditions.

Good pole planting is important to style as well as technique. Skiing without poles or not using them to time the turn looks unsatisfactory to me.
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BoardieK wrote:
Pole planting is essential, even for snowboarders!
Genius! Laughing

He should have a word with these guys, it would be a match made in heaven.


http://youtube.com/v/4w7sVSMbjyM
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@BoardieK, @rob@rar, having a right giggle at those video's this morn. Thanks. Mad
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@dsoutar
Quote:

Whilst I agree it isn't always necessary, I was taught to do it and 100 weeks of skiing later I find one of the main benefits is to ensure that my hands are in front of me and if that's the case then there is less chance that my upper body will be twisted round as well as keeping my weight forward. Of course I do still find that due to difficult terrain or just lack of concentration I find my hand starting to trail behind my body and that almost always results in a poor turn and consequentially my weight starting to be on the back of my skis

+1
Whenever I feel my skiing going awry (usually because I've gone into the back seat), I've got into the habit of focusing on planting, which if nothing else, gets my weight forward again. I find it essential on steeper slopes as my turns are just awful otherwise.
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I apologize if I'm going over old ground that has already been covered....but here is my take:

- The pole plant was vital, especially for old school skiing. It provided timing, support and rhythm.

- With carving skis, it has become more of a pole "touch", except in moguls, short swings and steep terrain.

- The pole swing should come from a cocking of the wrist and not involve raising of the arm...so not interfere with body position/balance

- It should act like the "drumbeat" of the turn

- Try to ensure the Left and Right pole plants are symmetrical....as (surprisingly) they can differ; and the pole planting arm doesn't get left behind (especially in short turns and moguls).
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@Old Fartbag,
Agree with all that except I struggle with the word "vital" (or even "necessary" in the title). Good skiers can go pretty well without poles.
I'd say pole planting is important if you are going to ski as efficiently as possible, particularly in some terrain. But can you ski without pole planting? Yes.
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jedster wrote:
@Old Fartbag,
Agree with all that except I struggle with the word "vital" (or even "necessary" in the title). Good skiers can go pretty well without poles.
I'd say pole planting is important if you are going to ski as efficiently as possible, particularly in some terrain. But can you ski without pole planting? Yes.


Sure, good skiers can ski without poles but then they can ski with only one ski too if necessary. The point is that they all (with almost no exception) make use of pole planting in their normal skiing. A typical intermediate choosing to abandon pole planting altogether because they simply don't get it is a huge mistake. Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes they could possibly make going forward.
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Quote:

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes they could possibly make going forward.

Yes if they want to be a good skier. If the are happy cruising on reds and blues (like a high proportion of holiday skiers) then not so much. I'm not advocating NOT pole planting BTW. Very Happy
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jedster wrote:
Quote:

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes they could possibly make going forward.

Yes if they want to be a good skier. If the are happy cruising on reds and blues (like a high proportion of holiday skiers) then not so much. I'm not advocating NOT pole planting BTW. Very Happy


True, but you would think that most people who would come on a dedicated ski forum would want to progress and learning to pole plant effectively (of course you can pole plant incredibly badly too) is vital to becoming a good all round skier rather than a compromised intermediate. I think it's important to make the distinction between those few expert skiers who choose not to pole plant in specific situations and those more typical intermediates who simply don't know how to pole plant effectively or why they should be doing it in the first place i.e. the OP.
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jedster wrote:
@Old Fartbag,
Agree with all that except I struggle with the word "vital" (or even "necessary" in the title). Good skiers can go pretty well without poles.
I'd say pole planting is important if you are going to ski as efficiently as possible, particularly in some terrain. But can you ski without pole planting? Yes.

Just to elaborate a bit:
- When skiing on old school skis, where turning involved up-unweighting/foot steering round a planted pole, then it was very necessary.

- I would argue that a Pole plant in moguls is vital; and makes Short Swings much easier...ie. gives necessary support in any rebound turn

- On very steep terrain which requires a small jump, with a lot of anticipation (and a pole plant down hill from your heels), it is also necessary to ski it safely.

- IIRC. I have seen some instructors saying that it can interfere with timing in long turns, but a pole touch is useful on short turns.
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Quote:

When skiing on old school skis, where turning involved up-unweighting/foot steering round a planted pole, then it was very necessary.



I'm going to shut up because we basically agree but have to say that I can ski those kind of turns without poles very easily - you can steer an unweighted ski with your feet without needing a pole to pivot around. I can't ski the fall line in big bumps without poles but I can get down a mogul field without pole planting. Essentially provided that you can absorb pressure smoothly using your legs and stay in balance you can get away without a pole plant. IT IS FAR FROM IDEAL THOUGH!

I just think people's language is a little extreme. It feels similar to the THOU MUST TAKE LESSONS threads.
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From a very small camp of one, no.
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In bumps, there’s a very definite and deliberate arm swing to provoke anticipation and thus rotation.

Try zip lining bumps without poles. Nightmare.
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I've got it ...
Why not ditch the poles altogether?

While we're at it .... Why have two ski's ?

One would probably do.

I'm +1 with @Old Fartbag on this one.
There is a time and there is a place.
Perhaps we should not use the word "plant" so much now as "dab".

On the subject I think most people poles are too long by about 10cm these days, the rule about right angle and elbows under the basket is out of date.

Also I dont think we should bother with straps on our poles any more unless we are likely to lose them in deep snow.

I get a bit hacked off when people have to go through this ritual of putting there hands through straps and have a general phaaf every time they get on and off a lift.
I takes about 2 minutes each time count that up over a weeks holiday and see how much time you've wasted.
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DrLawn wrote:
I've got it ...
Why not ditch the poles altogether?

While we're at it .... Why have two ski's ?

One would probably do.

I'm +1 with @Old Fartbag

Also I dont think we should bother with straps on our poles any more unless we are likely to lose them in deep snow.

I get a bit hacked off when people have to go through this ritual of putting there hands through straps and have a general phaaf every time they get on and off a lift.
I takes about 2 minutes each time count that up over a weeks holiday and see how much time you've wasted.


Well, I only know what I was taught in ski school - perhaps they teach the straps thing because the instructors don't want to be retrieving poles every five minutes.
If there is no good reason to continue using the straps when you don't fall over every 100 yards then I'm happy to forgo the ritual. Having said that I have reached the dizzy heights of being able to multi task and can now creep forward and sort my poles out at the same time!
I've found the videos (above?) about using poles to get forward and maintain rhythm in the turns to be helpful.
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@DrLawn,

1. Put your hands in the straps as you ski off, wastes no time at all

2. If for any reason (and they are manifold) straps give much more power for poling e.g while skating.

But make sure you put your hand up into the strap, for correct grip.
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@under a new name,

Sorry but I go to a different school ....

2. When you skate hold the poles half way along and swing your arms like Russian Lady Speed Skater, its much more effective than holding them by the handles and punting with them.
And looks more elegant too.
(Its easy to do if you don't have those strappy things on)
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@DrLawn, ok. When you carry your skis it is way more elegant if they are split apart and you carry them across your arms.
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While reviewing some recent videos of my skiing, I noticed that I consistently open up my hand before the pole plant which allows the pole to swing forward much further than it would if I were to grip it properly. I'm thinking that this is just another weapon in my arsenal against any notion of leaning out over the hill Toofy Grin

But actually I have no idea. I suppose it could be an indication that my poles might be too short. They are the prescribed length but as this was measured in the shop, on skis maybe I would need 5cm more. The difference doesn't seem great enough to explain my habit.

Is there a correct correct way of holding the poles or is it a matter of what's appropriate in the circumstances?

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@motyl, I was spotted doing this on first run down in my mogul course at Cas. I was told to hold tighter and point knuckles forwards. It certainly gave a more positive plant, and this reflected well in real world skiing since. Probably most important in bumps and powder / steeps where the plant is key to getting the rest of it right.
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Thanks @endoman, the tip about pointing knuckles forward is a useful one I think - it makes it feel quite different (trying it here in my living room!)
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@motyl, Back in the day, there seemed to be more attention paid to the whole ski pole faff:

- You should put your hand up through the loop from the lower side and adjust it so it gives extra support under your hand, for your pole plant.

- Ski Poles can come in Left or Right, if the strap is designed asymmetrically in order to be more comfortable under a particular hand. Leki either mark them with L and R; or have a Black Dot (R), or White Dot (L).
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@Old Fartbag, yes, I used to do all that too Smile More recently at Mt Hemel the straps often hurt my wrists when poling but I expect that was because their straps don't adjust.

I bought Leki poles specifically for the clip on/off facility, but in the end I didn't trust them to detach in a fall (no amount of hauling on them made them unclip) and someone suggested not bothering with straps, so that's what I now do. It's not normally a problem except for occasionally when I become complacent while poling along and a pole gets pulled out of my hand when it gets stuck in the snow! Oh, and I don't have a way of attaching them to my skis in a ski rack Madeye-Smiley
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Why would you be poling in a fridge?
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@under a new name, To push myself along and in between everyone to get to and from the lifts. That's if I've been allowed to keep my poles (as I'm normally there having a lesson) Very Happy
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DrLawn wrote:
I've got it ...
On the subject I think most people poles are too long by about 10cm these days, the rule about right angle and elbows under the basket is out of date.


This.

I picked up my wife’s poles by mistake one day. 115cm vs my normal 125cm. I am 180cm. Skiing in what I think of (YMMV) as the modern idiom, I found that the shorter poles enabled me to keep my hands lower through the turn, effectively using my wrists only to make the tiny flick discussed on this thread. This made me faster/smoother/more fluid when skiing at reasonable speed on the piste. With the trad length poles, I think I have to lift my hand slightly in order for the pole tip to clear the snow as it comes through. The shorter length feels great. I won’t be going back, unless I discover some problem on steeper ground or in powder.
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Pole planting is vital in some ski situations as Rob has explained. I have now retired from judging moguls competitions but the criteria are

From the FIS judging manual regarding moguls judging in competition:
The head should remain still, facing downhill. The chest should also stay straight and natural. Hands stay in front of the body in a natural position. Pole plants should be light and wrist movement goes forward.
Timing and placement of pole plants is a significant factor (double pole plant is a deduction)


If a moguls competitor doesn't get their pole plants correct they will either stumble or fall over eventually.
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And don't forget the double pole plant. If you watch the men's SL from Zagreb yesterday you'll see Marcel Hirscher do the occasional double pole plant, especially when he's made a mistake and is looking to recover. If he's doing it, so should we mere mortals. On longer turns though, can't be ar5ed.

@IanTr, it's why I use adjustable poles - got a set of Scott carbon collapsible jobbies - and being able to adjust by even a cm here and there can make all the difference - if you are swapping skis and find yourself a bit higher/lower off the snow for example.
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As with most skiing, you adjust your technique for the type of skiing you're doing. Most people seem obsessed with carving above all else and pole-plants are more or less redundant here (just tilt and turn).
However (as others have said) anything steeper/deeper/bumpier IMO should bring pole planting skills into practice...
This video sums it up nicely

youtube.com/v/ltCYhrocP7Q
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Well my skiing heroes are Klammer


http://youtube.com/v/2_jtu2lgStQ

I think he plants a pole at times.

And Stenmark now he definitely plants a pole.

I learned to ski in Italy in the early 80s and was taught a sequence of actions the was triggered by the pole plant and accompanied by the magic word " HOOPLA". To this day on the really steep narrow stuff I exaggerate the pole plant and shout the magic word. You know what, it work
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http://youtube.com/v/Mk7uauyxmME


http://youtube.com/v/RniHI8v-uT8
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@TQA, reasonably sure you can leave out all the "hoopla".
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Probably clears the piste though! Shocked
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Pole planting for me has always just been about hand position and balance, proper weight transfer, etc. Planting the pole is a means to the end.
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under a new name wrote:
@TQA, reasonably sure you can leave out all the "hoopla".


Nope when I am scared I shout the magic word and my hips go the the mountain, my body goes to the valley with the middle of my chest rising up over my well stretched and planted pole.

It triggers the muscle memory.

HOOPLA for president.
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That’s got to be better than going down shouting TRUMP!
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Having the other week observed a couple of skiers who skied like it was a rigid process (obviously paid a lot of attention in lessons) - beautifully consistent turns but lacking in a certain joie de vivre, I am of a mind that the best thing is Schrodinger's pole plant.

It is both essential and superfluous and needs to be employed [wanky Masquesque mode] or implied to the beat of your dance with the mountain [/wanky Masquesque mode]
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