Controversial New FIS Rules on Length of Classic Poles
FIS, the International Ski Federation, has introduced a controversial new maximum classic pole length of 83 percent of body height for World Cups, Continental Cups and also ski marathons registered as FIS races. Starting this ski season the new rule will be enforced as measured from the tip of the pole to the point of entry of the loop into the handle.
The impetus for this move is an attempt to preserve the classic technique by preventing skiers from double-poling their way to the finish. FIS also hopes to curb half skating, skating steps, etc., which is forbidden in classical technique races.
Despite much criticism FIS seems ready to stand by its decision claiming the rule had been passed unanimously by all National Ski Associations. FIS says a pole measurement device will be available during official training at races so that athletes can check their equipment and will execute random controls. A broken pole during competition can be replaced by one of any length but if two poles are broken then the rule applies.