Skiing without poles adds a new dimension to the thrills of sliding across snow. Both downhill and cross-country skiers can leave their poles at home and still enjoy a fun-filled day, but some aspects of the sport will change. One embarrassing change occurs when you lose your balance and fall butt first in the snow. When you are in this position, you normally rely on the ski poles to get you back on your feet.
What Poles Do
Ski poles help balance and slow down your body when skiing downhill. They also allow you to push yourself along when heading toward a chairlift or making a difficult turn in both downhill and cross-country skiing. After a butt plant is when poles help the most. Typically, you position your body over both skis and use your poles to give your upper body a boost. Without poles, you lose the helping hand they provide to get you off your butt and back on under way, but not all hope is lost.
Yes, falling is embarrassing, but it happens to everyone. The real embarrassment comes when you continue to fall repeatedly as you attempt to get back on your skis, although your fiasco could turn into a viral video and make you a star. You do not have to be embarrassed, with a little knowledge and a lot of practice; you can recover from a pole-less fall looking like a pro.
Know Your Surroundings
One common mistake when attempting to get up after a fall is misjudging the slope of the ground in the area that you fell. It is important to position yourself to give you an advantage over the slippery nature of snow and gravity. This requires pointing the front of your skis away from the slope to provide the greatest resistance between the snow and your skis. Making a mistake here will cause you to slide as you attempt to get up onto your skis.
Assume the Position
After your skis sit perpendicular to the slope, you need to lift your body off the ground. This is easy to say, but harder to do when contending with the cold, unpredictable nature found on a ski slope. First, you need to gain momentum. It is best to position your body flat on the upside of the slope. Then you lean over your skis as you push your body up with the hand closest to the slope. Do not push too hard, this will cause you to flop in the other direction. Once up, you can be on your way. You can fall again if you like, to practice the maneuver.
Lynda Schwartz is a fitness professional who began writing in 2004. She has contributed to "Women's Day" and "Good Housekeeping" magazines, as well as covered fitness and well-being for online publications. Schwartz holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health promotion.