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Pole Straps On, Off, Or Removed - A Ski Rex Says... Opinion Piece


During this past week, one of the fans of Ski Rex Media posed a question to me, as well as other skiers in our little community. John L. Barker goes by the handle @Superskier61 on Twitter and posed a pretty super question...pole straps on, off, or removed?

For me, that question has more than one answer. Actually, it is likely that this question has more than one answer to a lot of people. But, for me, it falls under two different skiing scenarios.

The first, and most common for my skiing adventures, is that I leave them on. That is the way I learned how to ski. Though there are a lot of young kids that are taught without poles, some adults as well, but I was not one of those kids. I started learning to ski at the age of 12 and the person teaching me at our little, local park hill had me put them over my wrists. Maybe it's because I wasn't as little as those learning without poles or maybe it's just the way that person taught skiing. In any case, that's how I learned so that's what I do.

Now, I do take them off during the day. Obviously, I'll remove them when getting onto a chairlift or a gondola, just like anyone else. It's a toss-up when it comes to a surface lift. It depends on the type of surface lift I am about to use and, to be honest, there is one type of surface lift I avoid because I got beat by that type on a day at Killington. It wasn't the mountain's fault, it was mine. I'm just saying is all. But, lift riding is not the second scenario that I was talking about.

No, the second scenario involves my use of skiboards. I love my skiboards and I plan to keep using them even though they are not something that you see much. In fact, that is one of the reasons that I continue to use them. Anyway, I don't use poles at all when I'm riding with skiboards. I never have. I'm not sure why, to be honest. The very first time some of my friends and I rented them from the mountain we worked at, Mount Snow for those who didn't know, only one of us took poles and he ended up ditching them during the day. There is something that just doesn't feel right about using them with the shorter skiboards.

Having said that, most experienced skiers don't need poles. They are a tool and we use them as such, but just to get down the mountain on an average day, any of us could do it without poles. But, when we do use them, should we use them with the straps or not?

Well, it's time for a pretty anticlimactic answer...it's all up to you. As I said, I use poles when I want to, or not if I don't, and I use the straps. I actually do find the straps come in handy during a fall. I will say, though, that even with some of my more spectacular falls, I have never done a total yard sale. But, I have seen them and have helped clean up after them. In that situation, pole straps are a wonderful thing. But again, it's up to you if you want to wear them or not based on your type of skiing.

As for the removal of the straps, that was something I had never considered before this question was asked. I figured anyone who doesn't use them just lets the straps flap in the breeze as they ride. I mean, if one doesn't use them and feels that they are in the way, why not remove them? It won't hurt the pole any. Again, I think that is up to you, the reader.

So, there you go, my answer to that question. When you run into me on a hill, unless it's a skiboard day or I'm on the lift, I'll be using my straps.

Photo Credit: Tiia Monto [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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