Instructors will often offer varied suggestions on the importance and correct usage of ski poles in ski technique, and a common exercise in lessons is to ask the student to ski without poles entirely - this helps you to understand that poles are not necessary for good balance and posture if you have correct technique. However, poles can be a great enhancement and aid to balance, timing and control, and pole plants are particularly useful in short turns or on moguls; the plant becomes more and more important the shorter the turn becomes.
During these shorter turns or in the bumps, the pole plant acts as a fleeting anchor point - about which to make your turn. It also helps to establish a rhythm to your turns.
- Use your poles to lead you down the hill. At the start of a new turn, a strong and deliberate pole plant will help pull your upper body down the hill, and the rest of your body will follow. Your feet can only move as fast as your hands! Pole planting helps to keep the skier's weight centred over the skis by bringing the arms and elbows slightly forward.
- Keep it regular. Count in your head if you want to, to establish a rhythm. By maintaining a good rhythm your skiing will be more fluid, aiding you to adapt quicker if the incline/snow condition changes on your route.
- Use your wrist, not your whole arm to plant the pole. A smaller movement is less likely to unbalance you.
For more on the use of pole plants have a look at the tips on short turns