A question that ski instructors get asked all the time is whether or not kids should learn to ski with or without poles. The truth is, in the beginning they are probably not necessary.
On top of this, most amateur skiers, both child and adult, actually use poles incorrectly, using them either for balance or just loosely holding onto them and producing more drag. It’s hard to explain that to a kid though, especially if some of their friends or older kids are using poles. Children see teenagers, adults, and professional skiers (if they’re serious snow heads) using poles and may want to emulate the people they admire. For a lot of kids, these concerns about fitting in and looking grown up outweigh most arguments that their parent or coach could make.
In terms of raw improvement in ski skills, most coaches agree that while poles are an important skill that should be covered eventually, but in the early days of skiing your child should focus more on ski fundamentals; like the wedge turn, the skate stop, and rock solid balance on their skis before polls are introduced.
Poles in the beginning aren’t as important especially now that the shape and engineering of most skis are changing, making turns easier and poles increasingly irrelevant.
At the end of the day, introducing ski poles into a young child’s ski training early isn’t really advised, although there are multiple schools of thought, and it’s a complex issue. Both technically and socially/emotionally for your child. A good compromise is holding off for as long as you can. Focus on fundamentals, and when your child either actually reaches a skill level where poles are necessary (as judged by their coach) or if they feel really left out by the other kids for not having poles, then introducing them.
However, once poles are introduced into your child’s skiing you must make proper technique a priority. Even requesting a lesson from your child’s ski coach about the proper use of poles, as the exclusive focus of the lesson.
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If you want to enjoy some of Ontario’s most exciting ski hills, don’t miss out on Mount St. Louis Moonstone. With stellar ski hills, snowboarding hills, and unique terrain, thousands of individuals and families visit us each year, for the ultimate ski experience.
Visit our website to learn more about our rates, lessons and programs, or buy your tickets online, and enjoy the hills while you can!