Ski pole

Ski pole

Ski poles (sometimes called "stocks") are used by skiers to improve balance, speed and acceleration. They probably evolved from walking sticks carried while travelingFact|date=March 2007, and possibly from spears as wellFact|date=March 2007.

In the days before turning techniques had been properly developed, one long pole was normally used on sloping ground. The skier would lean or sit on the pole in order to increase friction with the ground, so slowing or stopping.

In modern skiing one pole is held in each hand, and each pole has a circular "basket" attached close to the lower end to prevent the pole sinking significantly into deep snow. At the upper end of the pole a strap is attached, which is normally slipped over the wrist to prevent the loss of the pole in the event of a fall. When skiing the backcountry (off piste) in trees, the wrist strap is not normally used, since there is a risk of wrist injury if the pole should catch on an unseen branch or root. You can also ski without poles as some freestyle skiers do.

Cross-country and Alpine ski poles

When used in cross-country skiing, poles enable the user to gain more speed than by using the skis alone, as well as offering improved balance.

Alpine skiers sometimes use poles as well. While they serve the same purposes as they do in cross-country, they can also help with the timing of the more advanced ski turns. By making contact with the ground between each turn in a process known as "pole planting", Alpine skiers are given greater stability as they move their mass down the hill, creating more acceleration and a tighter turning radius, but more force can be efficiently channeled down the arms onto the legs to allow for use of hands while skiing.

A ski pole is the correct length for Alpine skiing if, when placed tip to the ground at rest, the skiers elbow forms a right angle. Longer poles are used for cross-country to enable a longer thrust. Poles used for ski touring may be telescopic, so that they may be adjusted to suit snow conditions or the steepness of the slope.

Some racers in the high speed skiing disciplines (Giant Slalom, Super Giant Slalom, downhill, speed skiing) use curved poles that are bent to shape around their bodies while they are in a tuck position, in order to minimize air drag.

Ski jumping and skiboarding are the only varieties of skiing in which no poles are used.Ski poles were first used to test the snow you would be skiing over. That way you could get a rough mental picture of what you were skiing over. Now ski poles should be used as a timing device not for balance.

Pole selection

Ski poles are a crucial piece of equipment. For average skiers cheap metal poles are often sufficient. More advanced or specialized skiers can benefit from more technologically advanced materials. Poles made of carbon fiber, for instance, are very light and durable.

There are also more convenient alternatives to the traditional wrist strap - for instance "trigger" mechanisms that will come off in case of a crash to avoid injury.

There is some debate about what styles of poles should be allowed. Swedish skier Gunde Svan added more fuel to the debate by introducing the unipole. During summer training, he sat in a canoe and paddled upstream using two paddles. When he became tired, he switched to just one paddle and found that it was much easier, so he tested skiing using a single long pole. At the 1985 World Championships, he brought his homemade unipole and used it on a training day. Later the same day, the unipole was banned.


*In historic times the Finnish hunters and warriors used long ski poles that were also spears - there was a spearhead on the upper end of the pole.

ee also

*Skiing and skiing topics
*History of skiing

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • ski pole — n ↑ski, ↑ski pole one of two pointed short poles that you hold to help you balance and push off the snow when ↑skiing …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ski pole — ski′ pole n. spo a slender pole or stick used by skiers for balance and propulsion, with a metal point below a ring at the lower end and a loop for the hand at the upper • Etymology: 1920–25 …   From formal English to slang

  • ski pole — n. either of a pair of light poles with a sharp metal tip surmounted by a projecting ring: used by skiers to gain speed and as a help in climbing and keeping their balance …   English World dictionary

  • ski pole — noun a pole with metal points used as an aid in skiing • Hypernyms: ↑pole * * * noun : a metal pointed pole or stick, made of steel or cane, fitted with a handstrap at the top and an encircling disk set a little above the point to keep it from… …   Useful english dictionary

  • ski pole — /ˈski poʊl/ (say skee pohl) noun 1. Also, pole. one of two slender poles, metal tipped and having a disc near the lower end to prevent it from sinking into the snow, used by a skier for balance and to increase speed; stock. 2. one of a set of… …   Australian-English dictionary

  • ski pole — a slender pole or stick, usually with a metal point at one end, a loop for the hand at the other, and a disk near the lower end to prevent its sinking into snow, used in skiing to gain momentum, maintain balance, execute certain jumps, etc. [1920 …   Universalium

  • ski pole — noun Date: 1920 one of a pair of lightweight poles used in skiing that have a handgrip and usually a wrist strap at one end and an encircling disk set above the point at the other end …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ski pole — noun A slender stick used by skiers in both hands to improve speed and balance …   Wiktionary

  • ski pole — noun (C) one of two pointed short poles used for balancing and for pushing against the snow when skiing (ski2) …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • Pole — may refer to:Cylindrical object*A solid cylindrical object with length greater than its diameter e.g: **Barber s pole, advertising a barber shop **Danish pole, a circus prop **Firemen s pole, a wooden pole or a metal tube or pipe installed… …   Wikipedia

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