Ski Technique: Pole Plant Tips & Exercises

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Pole Plant
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The pole plant is very helpful for many elements of skiing. Pole planting helps you:

  • When releasing a turn
  • When turning
  • To maintain balance
  • To maintain a good rhythm

The pole plant is performed at the same time that you change / release the edges. This means that the skis always turn around the pole. Therefore, the pole plant is done on the downhill side (inside) of the turn. As a general rule, the pole is planted towards the front of the ski (between the binding and the ski tip). During an athletic short turn, the pole will be planted more towards the binding.

When should I learn to pole plant?

As a beginner skier, you don’t need to worry about a pole plant. The right time depends on you as a person and your ability in regards to coordination and how secure you feel on the skis. In a ski school this skill would normally be taught when you can ski parallel. From this level you begin to ski more dynamic turns which is where a pole plant becomes useful.

In general, the pole plant should be a quiet, focused movement. You should try to do this just with the lower arm or wrist. An excessive or fast movement from the whole arm will interfere with the flow of movement.

In an athletic carved turn in a low position, the poles are mostly dragging in the snow next to the skier. There is normally no active pole plant. The poles are used more as a balance aid. The pressure that is built up during the turn produces a rebound and this replaces the function of a pole plant.

The material of a pole doesn’t really matter. Ski racers will often use either a carbon fiber or fiberglass pole as they will not break or bend when they hit a gate. This type of ski pole is the most common.

Exercises:

  • Stationary placement exercise.
  • Planting the downhill pole during a traverse.
  • Planting the downhill pole during a traverse with an up/down movement.
  • Implement the pole plant into a parallel turn.

Common mistakes:

  • Large, sweeping movements making the upper body unstable and possibly causing upper body rotation.
  • Planting the pole too early in the turn, which disturbs the shape of the turn.
  • Planting the pole to late which makes the movement redundant.

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