Objective: To clear a series of poles placed on the ground at 90 degrees to the skier's direction of travel.
Primary Skill: Pressure
Justification: Pressure along the fore/aft axis of the ski as a primary area of reference is important to the emerging ski racer. Clearing a series of poles while maintaining a straight path down the hill is only possible if the skier has fore/aft pressure control skills.
Slope: Beginner groomed terrain that is even from side to side, without sidehill or fall-away.
Set-up: Eight poles are laid flat on the ground at 90 degrees across the fall-line at 8 meter spacing. The poles can be secured or unsecured to the snow surface. The start is 12 meters above the first pole and the finish is 12 meters below the last pole.
Ski in a straight run down the fall-line
Skier jumps once to clear each pole in the snow
Criteria for Perfect Execution:
Skier maintains straight path down the fall-line
Equal distance maintained between both skis
Jump off both feet simultaneously
Land on both feet simultaneously
Skis do not touch poles
Economy of movement from the jumping skier
Kid-Friendly Start Instructions:
Ski straight down the hill
Jump over the poles without your skis touching the poles
Keep your skis the same distance apart even when you jump and land
Jump and land with both feet at the same time
Jump from your legs,keeping the rest of your body quiet
Start with dye lines instead of bamboo or plastic gates to jump over for young skiers just starting this drill. Move to poles when they are comfortable with timing and have enough jump height to clear a pole.
Skiers in this phase are still developing their vision skills. their ability to see the distance between them and the pole and react with proper timing will be enhanced with this drill. Don't expect perfect timing, especially when changing slopes, distances or speed.
A common mistake when setting this drill is using terrain that is too steep, such that the final poles come up too fast. It may be OK to use slightly steeper terrain for training but increase the distance and reduce the number of jumps at this age so that speed is managed.
With the 8 meter distance as prescribed in this drill, the challenge for the initial jumps is clearing the pole, while the challenge for the final few jumps is quickness.
A great way to re-use broken gate shafts that haven't lost much length is to screw about 15" of hose that maintains bendability but won't crack in the cold to either end, and use these for pole jumpers. Drill a hole, slip the hose end in on one side, and secure to the snow drilling a hole for the hose at the other end. Otherwise you may be chasing poles down the hill, especially at this age. Using stubbies, brushes or full gates to secure the pole on the ground can also work, but uses much more equipment in the end.
Pole Jumpers Demonstration
Check out how to do the pole jumpers exercise here. See the breakdown and print out key frames on Center of Excellence TV below.
Break it Down on COE TV
Go straight to the footage and find key frame analysis and related drills on Center of Excellence TV.