Recently I have been teaching my little girl to ski. To help her out and focus, she does not use ski poles while learning. I also stopped using poles as it helps me on the hill and also off the hill because I can carry two pairs of skis and no poles.
For some reason I am starting to like skiing without poles and I am wondering why we use ski poles. In my case, I can easily skate along the flats without them and it frees up my hands. Also, I have noticed zero impact on my ability to ski. I was skiing with my Dad and flying down the black diamond runs and I think I was skiing better than I have in a long time.
My little girl is really improving and I will introduce poles for her soon as I do think they help in learning the next phase of parallel turns, but I don’t think I will bother with them anymore for myself.
I may change my mind but I enjoy the challenge of balancing without them and the freedom walking to the hill, on the lifts and the increased space in the trunk of the car.
My guess is that they are used to setup turns and maintain balance but I can visually set my own turns and my balance is fine. I also notice that most people just sort of dangle them and don’t really use the poles much.
I hope to ski more as I have taken a loooooong break away from skiing so I will continue my experiment with no ski poles.