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Skiing without poles - did it today and magic happened

#1
I took a lesson today and my instructor said I was too much in the back seat and that she wanted to have me ski without poles for a while. I initially went nooo, they are like my crutch, training wheels, I've never skied without them. Don't take my poles away. Well she did, we worked on a bunch of drills and what do you know I got out of the back seat and my technique improved significantly.

I actually really started to dig skiing without my poles. I want to do it more often. I am thinking of leaving them in the car when we go to Mont Orford tomorrow. I do see people now and again skiing sans poles. I know @nopoleskier skis without poles :smile:. I was just surprised at how much I enjoyed skiing without them. I thought I couldn't ski without them but I did just fine.

Its just amazing, once I left the poles behind I had nothing to focus on but my legs and technique and with the drills my skiing just really turned around.

Do others always use poles or do you leave them behind sometimes?
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I always have them, but it might be a bit much to say I use them. They are pretty critical, though, for so many things - poling across flats. Holding my mittens out of the snow while I fiddle with something. Tapping people on the shoulder or whacking them in the leg ...

There are a lot of visualizations I do on steeps that require poles, but I will admit I also have that "feeling along behind me" tendency on dicey terrain that tends to pull my shoulder back. Not so much back seat as not aligned with the terrain. I do sometimes ski with my poles resting across my arms to work on squaring my shoulders to the hill.
 
#4
Having poles is certainly handy when you get on flats. It was just so liberating to ski without them. Felt like I learned how to get by without my crutch. I think I can do the drills she had me do while holding the poles. Going to try it today. Looking forward to skiing today.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Your description of a crutch is just that for some people. Taking away the poles forces you the think about your stance. You can depend on the poles anymore.
 

Serafina

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#6
I always ski with poles. About half of that is due to their value as a propulsion tool, and part of it is because the pole plants are part of my rhythm.

The drill that santacruz skier mentioned is also a good one. Spent a fair amount of time doing that in lessons, and it's obviously a pretty popular teaching tool judging from all of the ski classes I see doing it on the hill.
 
#7
I have done that drill several times and its indeed a good one. I skied with my poles today and did the drills as best as I could holding the poles. It helped a lot and I was skiing better today.
 

Jersey Fresh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
I drop mine and ski without sometimes. And because I learned without them and had to "earn" them as a kid, when I get nervous i will carry them infront of me (across and parallel to the ground) to make sure I dont throw my body back.

I do like having them to pop friends out of their bindings in the lift lines (seriously, totally a middle school thing but never gets old) and to poke my snowboard friends as I ski by. :smile:
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#9
I was poling from the top of the six chair at Breck way over to *mumble mumble* and thinking about this thread. I am so happy to have poles! Very few boarders over where we were headed, because it would have been too much of a pain.
 
#11
Skied yesterday and was happy I had poles as I stopped to adjust something and used my poles as mitton holders.
 

ling

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
Didn't they make you ski without pole in instructor training? The one I did, we had to ski without poles quite a bit. I also found out while working as an instructor, especially with beginners, it's much easier I don't have my poles. (picking little kids up after they've fallen, much easier if I got both hands free)

These days, I don't even bring my poles when I'm expecting to teach all day (without any personal skiing). Once or twice last season, I went to check out the condition of the slope on my own and decided to go down the only black run of the tiny mountain. After a first turn, I realized I didn't have my poles, which almost freak me out! So I just put my hand where I would and move my wrist as though I'm swinging my poles.

(I don't teach high level that involves pole plant)
 
#13
Didn't they make you ski without pole in instructor training? The one I did, we had to ski without poles quite a bit. I also found out while working as an instructor, especially with beginners, it's much easier I don't have my poles. (picking little kids up after they've fallen, much easier if I got both hands free)

These days, I don't even bring my poles when I'm expecting to teach all day (without any personal skiing). Once or twice last season, I went to check out the condition of the slope on my own and decided to go down the only black run of the tiny mountain. After a first turn, I realized I didn't have my poles, which almost freak me out! So I just put my hand where I would and move my wrist as though I'm swinging my poles.

(I don't teach high level that involves pole plant)
Actually yes when we were training we often had our poles with us but did many drills without them and had to put them aside. I've never skied without them though when they weren't nearby somewhere and it was on the bunny hill so that's kinda flat anyway so I never thought much about not having poles. Not having poles on the rest of the hill is what used to give me heartburn but is now exhilarating.

I love that you don't even bring your poles when you expect to teach all day. I think I will try this. I am teaching this weekend but not sure if all day or if I will be released from line up and get to free ski. I think I'll just leave them in the car and if I get any free ski time I just won't have poles, I think it will be fun and a continuation of my training :smile:
 

Jersey Fresh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
I never use my poles for flats, I think that's remnants from being poleless as a little kid. I still to this day skate on flats.

I also cant get out of my bindings with poles. I still pop out of them using my other ski like I did as a tiny kid.

The downside of all of this was that (as embarrassing as this is to admit) it took me a really, really long time to learn how to pole plant. I would just ski around holding them up until oh, like last year.
 
#15
I have been practicing getting out of my skis without poles cause I figured I wouldn't have them nearby when teaching so I've been practicing for a month now. Am pretty good at it now. I use my poles a lot on flats but have been practicing skating. I am still learning how to pole plant. I am excited to ski without my poles this weekend. I am totally leaving them in the car.
 

ling

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#16
The downside of all of this was that (as embarrassing as this is to admit) it took me a really, really long time to learn how to pole plant.
You're not the only one. Equally embarrassing, I still haven't quite got the pole plants down. And it's still one of the big blocks holding me back.

I have no excuse though. I learned as an adult and always had poles. I used to use them for propulsion too. I just never learned to use them properly.

Strangely enough, despite not having seen snow till I was in my 20's, I skate quite well, with or without poles. In fact, I love skating on the flat without poles (no pole is slower, but I can skate faster without poles than many people with)
 

nopoleskier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#17
Same Here Jersey fresh I started teaching again after skiing no poles for about 18yrs.. I had to 're-learn' how to use them and in clinics the big PSIA guys all are amazed that I can ski without them..(I had 1 examiner freak and wouldn't give his up)
I finish my turns better without than w/them.. I too skate everywhere I love passing those poling away. I do love my lessons that are with out poles.. It definitely makes you get your stance down and no out riggers/cheater sticks.. I've skied all over without them.. Olympic runs.. what ever.. it's a mind set if you can't ski with out them imho..
 
#18
@nopoleskier do you ever ski with poles? I could kiss the ground in happiness that I got over my crutch in using them. What do you do with your hands? When I'm doing drills without poles I know what to do with my hands but I've never skied without poles and not done drills. I will be practicing this weekend that's for sure.
 

bounceswoosh

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
I have seen @nopoleskier with poles - but can also attest that she skis beautifully without them.

(If you look closely - she has poles in her profile pic!)
 
#20
(If you look closely - she has poles in her profile pic!)
You are indeed correct. I think I will try skiing without poles at my little hill this weekend and see how it goes. They'll be in the car if I need them.
 

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