Par­al­lel Pole Planes

Match your Hands to the Hori­zon Line to Cre­ate Big­ger An­gles

SkiTrax - - News - By J. Scott Mcgee

By tip­ping our skis on higher an­gles, we can get bet­ter edge-hold – great for both carv­ing and shap­ing turns – so here’s a way to cre­ate an­gles in the an­kles, knees, hip and spine. For con­trast, let’s con­sider the biker, or air­plane, bank­ing around a turn. The en­tire body tips into the turn. As skiers, we need higher edge an­gles to re­sist slid­ing side­ways. Bend­ing our lower joints (an­kles, knees and hips) while the up­per body stays rel­a­tively up­right – an­gu­lat­ing – can help us carve and shape turns more ef­fec­tively.

In the photo, you can see the (ski tips) edge an­gle in­creas­ing as I move through the turn. Mean­while, to help de­velop edge an­gles, I’m keep­ing the poles par­al­lel to the hori­zon line in front of me. As I go through a turn, the poles have to tip more and more as my skis turn more and more across the hill. As my up­per body tips with the poles, I’m cre­at­ing and in­creas­ing body an­gles that pro­duce edg­ing.

Try this: Mak­ing big round turns on an easy groomer, match the po­si­tion of the poles in re­la­tion to the snow ahead of you. When your skis are point­ing straight down the hill, your hands will be even (equally for­ward) and hor­i­zon­tal. If you’re fin­ish­ing your turns across the hill – per­pen­dic­u­lar to the fall line – then your pole an­gle would be 20° off of level on a 20° slope. As you learn to tip your skis more, grad­u­ate to steeper slopes.

Us­ing your poles to “find level” in the line ahead of you can help you de­velop an­gles in your body that cre­ate higher edge an­gles. More edge makes carv­ing pos­si­ble and shap­ing turns not only eas­ier and more ef­fec­tive, but more fun too!

J. Scott Mcgee served on and then coached the PSIA Nordic Team (USA) 2000-2016 and works as Snow King Moun­tain Sports School’s di­rec­tor. A for­mer tele­mark com­peti­tor, he now dreams of per­fect corn on spring back­coun­try skate-ski tours. Mcgee spends his sum­mers guid­ing climbs in the Te­tons for Exum Moun­tain Guides.

Match the po­si­tion of your poles in re­la­tion to the snow ahead of you to “find level” that will help you de­velop an­gles in your body that cre­ate higher edge an­gles.

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