Editor Kathleen James
Art Director Edna Baker
Contributing Editor Greg Ditrinco
ISHA Website Editor Seth Masia
Seth Masia, John Allen, Andy Bigford, John Caldwell, Jeremy Davis, Kirby Gilbert, Paul Hooge, Jeff Leich, Bob Soden, Ingrid Wicken
Morten Lund, Glenn Parkinson
To preserve skiing history and to increase awareness of the sport’s heritage
Mason Beekley, 1927–2001
ISHA Board of Directors
Seth Masia, President
Wini Jones, Vice President
Jeff Blumenfeld, Vice President
John McMurtry, Vice President
Chan Morgan, Treasurer
Einar Sunde, Secretary
Richard Allen, Skip Beitzel, Michael Calderone, Christin Cooper, Art Currier, Dick Cutler, Chris Diamond, David Ingemie, Rick Moulton, Wilbur Rice, Charles Sanders, Bob Soden (Canada)
Christin Cooper, Billy Kidd, Jean-Claude Killy, Bode Miller, Doug Pfeiffer, Penny Pitou, Nancy Greene Raine
Business & Events Manager
P.O. Box 1064
Manchester Center VT 05255
Bimonthly journal and official publication of the International Skiing History Association (ISHA)
Partners: U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame | Canadian Ski Museum and Hall of Fame
Alf Engen Ski Museum | North American Snowsports Journalists Association | Swiss Academic Ski Club
Skiing History (USPS No. 16-201, ISSN: 23293659) is published bimonthly by the International Skiing History Association, P.O. Box 1064, Manchester Center, VT 05255.
Periodicals postage paid at Manchester Center, VT and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to ISHA, P.O. Box 1064, Manchester Center, VT 05255
ISHA is a 501(c)(3) public charity. EIN: 06-1347398
Written permission from the editor is required to reproduce, in any manner, the contents of Skiing History, either in full or in part.
Timeless Tips: New Way to Measure Pole Length
1969: Modern ski techniques place much importance on pole planting for both long parallel turns and short swing. However, many advanced skiers have limited success in assimilating the latest refinements into their own skiing because their ski poles are too long. Long poles tend to set a skier’s weight back on his heels and interfere with setting up a good rhythm for short swing.
The old rule of thumb—that poles should reach up to the armpit—is obsolete, in the opinion of many instructors who now advocate shorter poles, particularly for advanced skiers. To check for proper pole length, place the tip of your pole in the snow as if you were about to make a turn. If your poles are short enough, the wrist-to-elbow section of your arm will be parallel to the ground. Checking proper length in a ski shop or in your home, place the pole grips on the floor, grasping the shafts just below their baskets. Again, your lower arm should run parallel to the floor.
—Stefan Nagel (Certified, U.S. Eastern Amateur Ski Association)
2020: In September 1969, when this tip appeared in SKI, the method it described might have been new to some, but was already current practice. Since then, good skiers have gradually migrated to shorter poles. A person who skied with 52-inch poles in the 1960s was probably using 50-inch poles in the 1990s, and might be skiing with 46-inch poles today. Competitive mogul skiers are likely to use poles even shorter than that.
But even though poles have gotten shorter, the method described in this tip still works. The key is to place the tip of your pole in the snow as if you were about to make a turn. In the illustration above, the skier is in a tall stance. For various reasons, the stance of good skiers at the moment they plant their poles has typically gotten shorter over the years, especially when making short turns. Keeping your forearm level to the snow dictates a shorter pole.
In the 1960s, skiers typically up-unweighted to start their turns. Today, they’re more likely to avoid actively unweighting, and in high-performance turns will flex through the transition between turns to absorb forces that would otherwise launch them off the snow. Competitive mogul skiers are at the extreme end of this spectrum, always deeply flexed at the moment they plant their poles. —Ron LeMaster
In the 1960s, skiers generally stood taller when they planted their poles than they do today — as demonstrated in the photomontage (right) by Michael Rogan, current coach of the PSIA National Alpine Team. So while pole length has gotten shorter, the rule of thumb described in this timeless tip still applies. Photomontage by Ron LeMaster.
Table of Contents
2020 Corporate Sponsors
($3,000 and up)
Intuition Sports, Inc.
Sport Obermeyer LTD
Warren and Laurie Miller
World Cup ($1,000)
Aspen Skiing Company
Country Ski & Sport
Dale of Norway
Darn Tough Vermont
Descente North America
Dynastar | Lange | Look
Fairbank Group: Bromley, Cranmore, Jiminy Peak
Gordini USA Inc. | Kombi LTD
Hickory & Tweed Ski Shop
National Ski Areas Association (NSAA)
POWDR Adventure Lifestyle Corp.
Ski Area Management
Ski Country Sports
Snowsports Merchadising Corporation
Sports Specialists Ltd.
Sun Valley Resort
Vintage Ski World
World Cup Supply, Inc.
Race Place | BEAST Tuning Tools
The Ski Company (Rochester, NY)
Alta Ski Area
Dill McWhorter Driscoll LLC
Ecosign Mountain Resort Planners
Hotronic USA, Inc. | Wintersteiger
Metropolitan New York Ski Council
Portland Woolen Mills
Russell Mace Vacation Homes
Schoeller Textile USA
Snow Time, Inc.
Tecnica Group USA
Timberline Lodge & Ski Area
Trapp Family Lodge
Western Winter Sports Reps Association
World Pro Ski Tour
For information, contact: Peter Kirkpatrick | 541.944.3095 | firstname.lastname@example.org
ISHA deeply appreciates your generous support!