Should You Ski Without Poles?

Should You Ski Without Poles?

If you’re like most people, then the only thing you’ll be focused on while learning to ski is how to make it to the bottom of the slope without falling.

If you’re only focused on how to perform ski techniques instead of why then you’ll miss important pieces of information that can affect your performance. For example, many new skiers only think of their poles as a way to push themselves through flat sections of the slope instead of what they’re actually designed for.

To help clear the air for new skiers, the Mammoth Bound team has written a quick guide to what ski poles do and whether you should be skiing without them. Check it out below before your ski trip to Mammoth Lakes, and then find the best Mammoth Mountain lodging and lift ticket deals with Mammoth Bound!

Why You Need Ski Poles

Have you ever wondered how skiers are able to slice through mogul fields? Part of the answer is their ski poles.

Ski poles give skiers something to place their weight on momentarily as they switch onto their other edge. As a result, ski poles allow for faster, sharper turns that couldn’t be made otherwise. They are especially helpful in places where turns need to be tight like a mogul field or a steep trail filled with obstacles.

We should note that skiers do not place all their weight on their ski poles though. If they did then the pole could get stuck in the snow or push back against the skier, so it’s important that you don’t plant your pole with all your weight.

Why You Don’t Need Ski Poles

Just about every type of skiing is made easier with ski poles, but there are a few scenarios where you don’t need them.

For example, if you’re just learning to ski then you won’t be making tight turns at high speed so the only reason you would use poles is to get comfortable holding them while skiing. In some cases ski poles end up being a bigger distraction than an asset for beginner skiers, so they may be instructed to try a few runs without them to focus on the fundamentals.

Ski poles may also be unnecessary for skiing in the terrain park since there is no need for tight turns like there is on more technical terrain. However, if you’re used to skiing with poles and suddenly stop while you’re skiing through the park then you may feel uncomfortable doing anything without them. Ski poles can also help skiers balance while on rails, boxes, and during difficult landings. 

Should You Ski with Poles?

Chances are that you should be skiing with poles, even if you don’t think they’re helping you very much.

Some beginners may benefit from taking a few runs without poles to hone their basic technique and balance, but if they want to push themselves past being a beginner then they will need to be comfortable using their poles.

Ski poles can also be helpful in other ways too. For example, if you don’t have enough speed to ski through a flat trail then you can use your poles to push yourself to a steeper section instead of stepping out of your skis and walking. Poles also give you something to lean against whenever standing still on a slope, and can be used to get someone’s attention or mark a hazard on the snow. 


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