Skiing Without Poles: How, Why, & When?

Skiing is a growing industry. Therefore, like any other sport, skiing techniques are constantly evolving. It is because skiers either get bored of the methods or find more efficient ways of skiing that are also better for their health and body.

Among new innovative approaches to skiing, skiing without poles is an effective technique. Skipping poles sounds weird at first since we are so accustomed to using poles and always have seen skiers using poles. However, not using poles has proved beneficial for skiers and learners.

Contrary to popular belief, there are many ways not using poles can be helpful for skiers to improve their practice, and it is something skiers should consider.

Related: Are Elan Skis Worth Your Money?

Why Do People Ski Without Poles?

Skiing without poles sounds like a weird thing to do. However, it is very beneficial for beginner skiers. It is because skiing without poles helps you focus on other ski fundamentals.

New skiers and children usually put a lot of weight on ski poles so that they can balance their bodies and depend on them too much. So, consider starting skiing while skipping poles yourself.

If you’re teaching children to ski, get them to ski without poles to help them develop better skiing skills. Once you have set the basics of skiing, you may add poles to improve your skills and find more control while skiing.

When You Should Consider Skiing Without Poles

Skiing Without Poles

If you are wondering where to get started on skipping ski poles, the following are different ways to help you get started on your journey.

Teaching Children To Ski

Consider taking away your children’s poles. Most ski schools have this practice as well. Instead of ski poles, they teach them to focus on their feet and how to use them to change directions while skiing. Relying on your lower body is crucial to learn and enhancing turning techniques. 

Apart from that, once children fall while skiing, it is easier to stand up again without having poles. The extra effort and coordination required by poles initially are too much for children. However, once a child can control the skis and perform proper turns, you can introduce poles to improve their rhythm and timing.

To Learn Better Control

Even adults may need to take a break from poles often. Ski instructors often say that many skiers depend on their poles for balance too much than required. If you don’t take your ski poles to ski every so often, it can help you to break these bad habits and not hinder your growth as a skier.

When you don’t use poles for skiing, it forces your body to balance itself. Your legs and hips do all the work, and your body can find its center of mass. Once you pick up the poles again after developing this balance within your body, you will be a better skier

Even though poles help you balance yourself by keeping you from falling, they don’t help improve your body’s posture or position for skiing.

When Learning To Stop Correctly

Another way that poles don’t help you with your skills but ruin them is by using poles to help you to stop. Using your poles to slow down or stop altogether means you must learn how to use them correctly. In addition, using poles to stop does not only damage your equipment, but it can be hazardous for you as a skier.

Not having poles will force the skier to learn how to stop correctly, which would be safe for the skier. It not only makes the skier confident but also keeps you and all the skiers around you safe from accidents

To Rethink (Or Stop Thinking) About Your Hand Position

Poles can bring the focus of the skiers to their hands. They overthink what their hands are doing. Poles can often cause your hands and elbows to fall behind. It can be dangerous and cause you to lose your balance. Some skiers hold their hands too high or squeeze the pole too tight.

All these things happen because the skier struggles with keeping their body balanced and relies on the poles. Not having poles will take your mind off your hands and what you need to do with them to balance you, and your focus will turn toward your entire body.

Skiers also focus on the pole hitting the ground and think that’s important for balance. However, once you do that, you lose your balance and put pressure on your neck, back, and shoulders. The uncomfortable position will only make movements difficult, your body will get tired, and it might lead to body aches.

Your hands should always be slightly bent and in front of you. It is much like riding a bicycle. When bicycling, your hands are not much wider than your shoulders. Your hands should never be lowered or moved to the right or left as your body turns. Once you can master balancing your hands and arms, poles will help you keep time.

To Make the Most of the Terrain Park

Skipping poles isn’t something only beginners practice. Downhill skiing has evolved over the years from focusing on speed and navigating moguls to freestyle and trick skiing in the terrain park.

Many skiers have started skiing without poles in the terrain park to hit the rails and bumps. Doing so allows more control for doing tricks while skiing. It is because they have less equipment to worry about during the execution of a move. It also makes the actions look smoother.

How Can You Ski Without Poles?

If you are a beginner, you should start by getting comfortable using the skis. Learning the basics of steering and stopping is the first step.

Next, it would help if you remembered to maneuver your ski by putting the bottom corner against the snow to slow down to stop or make a turn. Then, by starting without poles, you will force yourself to learn to use the lower half of your body for control.

When teaching children to ski, some instructors ask them to place their hands on their bent knees. Placing your hands on your knees ensures that your body is in the ideal position to control turns and stay balanced.

It is also wise to hold one ski pole horizontally in front of you with both hands so that your arms are the correct height and width apart.

Final Word

It is beneficial for skiers to avoid poles while skiing, not only for children or learners but also for advanced-level skiers. It is because not using poles helps the skier to use their own body to balance themselves. It makes for a better skier and also makes sure skiing is safe. 

Avoiding risks and accidents is always a priority in any sport. If you are already a skilled skier or a beginner and are thinking of leaving the poles, you should be okay with controlling your turns and stops without them. In addition, not having poles will help you see areas where you can improve your form and body’s balance. So, go on and throw those poles in the cupboard and explore a new era of skiing!

Mitchelle Lynn