Nordic Ski Instructor

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Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]


Poles are rarely debated about to any degree, and probably because many have the view that a pole is a pole is a pole. A pole can be too long or too short however, and can drastically affect one's performance in any technique that requires the use of a pole. In Alpine skiing, poles have virtually one function - to act as a trigger to remind the skier to turn, and occasionally for support. Nordic skiers have many other uses for a pole, and therefore should at least consider it for a little longer.

The strap attached to any pole used for Nordic skiing should always be adjustable, and enter the pole shaft a little below the top of the grip. This is to allow efficient movement of the pole by the releasing of the grip at the end of an arm swing. If the pole strap is adjusted correctly (and if it enters the pole just below the top of the grip), then it is possible to rely almost entirely on the strap for support, with just a little guidance from the thumb and forefinger in the recovery swing. To find the right length of strap, when worn correctly, the web of skin between thumb and forefinger should be just covering the strap where it exits the pole grip.

To find the length of pole that works best, refer to Appendix V for an approximate guide. One factor which may alter the final outcome, and something which is often overlooked, is the method used by manufacturers to calculate pole length. Most determine the length by measuring from one end to the other (a small minority do not include the tip itself).

If one were to calculate the discrepancy between where the strap exits the grip, and where the basket is attached to the shaft, the actual usable length (when the pole is in the snow) may well be much shorter than originally marked! Beware, though, of a pole that is too long to comfortably swing forward (except for skating), as it will reduce your efficiency far more than a pole which is slightly too short.

Adjustable poles are often discussed at instructor level, and they do allow the instructor to adjust poles to suit the technique taught. However, this may place an unfair burden on the students, who might not be able to afford the same luxury. Even good adjustable poles are at best a compromise (what basket works as well for XCD as it does for skating?) but nevertheless they are popular amongst instructors.

Equipment: [ viewpoint | waxes | skis | bindings | footwear | poles | clothing | extras | novelties ]

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