SI Vault
Willy Schaeffler
December 07, 1959
The introduction of Sprungwedeln, a new approach to the effective shortswing system of skiing, is climaxed this week with demonstrations by Willy Schaeffler, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED Contributing Editor, on the use of the ski pole. Last week Schaeffler showed that it is perfectly possible to make smooth, connected turns using only leg and body action to provide lift and turning force, the two essentials of any fast turn. It follows that the pole is best used as a booster force, not the basic force, in a turn. Any day on the slope you can see skiers trying to do most of their lifting and turning With their poles, completely neglecting leg and body action. The result is slow, ungraceful skiing. The arms simply cannot supply the right moves as quickly as the powerful muscles of the body and legs. On the following pages Schaeffler shows you how to blend the movements of the poles into the basic leg and body action of the short-swing that he demonstrated in Part I. Three of the pole handling exercises are valuable maneuvers in their own right and will add to your repertory of shortswing turns. All the exercises will increases your ability to handle any slope with ease.
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December 07, 1959

Perfecting Ski Pole Technique

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Tails of skis move left (see arrow), ending right turn. Left pole goes into snow, legs bend, upper body makes comma preparatory to starting Sprungwedeln turn to the left.

Legs spring up and swing tails of skis in air toward fall line. The left hand moves forward and inward, bearing down on left pole. Right hand moves right pole tip forward.

Tails of skis move over fall line, left hand rolls inward as it puts pressure on left pole. Right hand starts dropping toward waist, the position from which it will plant other pole.

Left turn complete, the right turn Skirts with leg spring to slide tails of skis back toward fall line. Right hand plants pole from waist level, then starts upward and inward.

Skis cross fall line in Wedeln turn with tails in the snow. Right hand bears down on pole. The left hand moves lip of left pole forward to put it in position for the next turn.

Tails of skis complete swing to left as turn ends. Right hand, having rolled inward to position in front of body, pulls pole easily from snow. Legs bend, ready to spring up again.

Varied terrain along fall line provides test of skier's ability to shift from Sprungwedeln to Wedeln as the occasion demands. Upper line on diagram at left shows position of skis as skier comes up to crest of mogul, slightly to one side of highest point. From here, path between the two moguls offers better alternative than drop-off toward which skier is heading. Skier chooses to make a Sprungwedeln turn to give him greater control as he traverses the steep downhill side of the mogul. After making his landing in position indicated by second line, skier swings into smooth Wedeln turn (dotted line) to skirt second mogul. Then, seeing flat, open terrain ahead, he continues with a Wedeln turn to the right (solid line). A good skier will stick as close to the fall line as possible. He avoids building up so much momentum that he has to make long traverses to kill his speed. He keeps his speed down by increasing the amount of lift and the arc made by the tails of his skis, shifting into Sprungwedeln whenever he feels the incline demands the greatest possible control.

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