Ski Technique and Short Poles

I know it sounds kinda of gay but I have been thinking a lot about this lately and people don’t stop asking me about my short poles. Now I know that my poles are exceptionally short but I do love them at this length. Maybe not the best for cat tracks but for shredding they work really well. I have a question for all of you out there, why is it that we have decided that long poles are a good thing? Did this mentality come from racing cause their poles are very long? I followed this trend until I tried shorter poles, then I never went back. Well here is my argument on short poles.

Skiing as a sport is not terribly complicated. If you are skiing poorly it is generally because you are in the back seat. A lot of the time it is because your arms are not forward and are somewhere down by your butt. When I am skiing bad the first thing I do is think about where my hands are and they are normally waving around wildly behind my ass.  Focus on bringing my hands up and forward and in a couple of runs I feel like a champ again. I believe that with longer poles it is harder to keep your hands up as the poles are just waiting to impel you on an un-expected bump. They are essentially pushing you into the backseat making it harder to get forward. With short poles you can keep your hands up with little to no worry of that. The same thing happens when you are in the air. With short poles I can keep my hands up and not worry about my poles.

Next, what starts  a turn everyone, that’s right a pole plant. The pole plant is what brings your forward and puts the timing into your skiing. When you reach down the hill it forces you forward and prepares you for the transfer of weight from downhill ski to uphill ski. When you have shorter poles you reach further down the hill bringing your weight even farther forward. Never underestimate the importance of pole planting.

Anyway just something to think about next time you go skiing, what are your hands doing, what is happening with your poles? Maybe even try some shorter poles you might be pleasantly surprised. Remember skiing is very simple and is meant to be almost effortless, keep your hands forward and remember the pole plant. I would love to hear your feedback on this one. Let me know how it goes.


8 responses to “Ski Technique and Short Poles

  1. I use poles a little to short then normally recommended, and am still a bit in the back seat, maybe I need to get the hack saw out… maybe I need to move to the mountains and ski more.

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  3. How short is short? Its an interesting thought as I am always concerned with pole swing weigth and its effect on performance. I’m 5’11 (180cm) and have used 125cm poles all my life. What about you Chris? how short are you going?

  4. Thanks for the support boys. Cutting your poles won’t necessarily help you get forward, you still have to do that but it won’t hinder it and if you pole plant reaching down the hill it will bring more forward. I am 5’8 (172cm) and I am rocking 105cm poles. And Thanks for the comments.

  5. I as well rock real short poles 95cm and im 5″10 155 lb, they gradually got shorter, and shorter over the years. The main reason was unecessary length in the park, edventually it looked to me like the opposite of what kevin said, long poles almost make me look at people as if they still have some basics to learn with skiing, your muscles tend to adjust in other ways to compensate for the lack of length you once had, in turn my cat track skating, combined with pull pushing technique is getting me around just as well as the others. on a final note keeping my poles short while shreddin the pow has made my skiing alot more relaxed, with half of the time spent in the air poppin lil ollies cause you are low and right on top of your boots the whole time, Next time eye see you ill hold up the shortys in support peace

  6. I recently got into short poles as well, much less cumbersome when skiing backwards.. Hope more people see this article

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