Sunday, July 22, 2012

Double Poling

Here's a video of some great double poling:

The skier here is Hannah Smith, who just finished her freshman year at Williams after spending 4 years with our CSU program.  The video is from our Double Pole Test.  The test consists of 4 repeats of double poling as fast as possible up a hill.  Times for each repeat range from 2:20 to 5 minutes depending on the age, strength, and ability of each skier.  We sum up the 4 repeats to get a total time.  In this video Hannah is in the process of setting a new course record for females of 11:26 with her fastest rep being 2:41.

What are the elements that make her go so fast?  First of all she has an excellent fitness base and great strength.  At 14 she looked like a stick figure drawing, but with five years of very hard work she is now a very strong 19 year old.  Cross-country ski racing requires a very high level of fitness.  Now that she has the fitness she is doing some really good things technically.  Starting from the lowest position her arms swing up quickly and pull her body up and forward.  Too many skiers stand up first and then swing their arms and lose the chance for momentum in their upward swing.  Her strong upward swing gets her forward and her weight up on the balls of her feet.  She maintains what coach Frank Feist calls the "banana spine" with a good rounding of the shoulders.  Using her whole body she drives down on the poles with arms, core, and legs to get a powerful crunch and drive herself up the hill as her weight goes back on her heels.  Notice the dynamic action of her legs.  Most skiers are double poling with just their arms and maybe their cores.  But, DP is a whole body technique.

Hannah is a great example of the rewards that come from years of hard work and deliberate practice.

And here is some video of the Master of Double Pole, Frank Feist:


  1. And Hannah could get even more if she fell from the ankles like Frank is doing... congrats on the record!

  2. Rob, thanks for sharing this, I've already applied to my DP sessions!