Quick and Dirty Double Pole Trick For Climbing Hills [Video]

This isn’t a “real” technique. Think of it more as a drill that will teach you how movement in your hips generates power in double poling.

Also note: it can be hard on the elbows to bend them too much, so be careful and stop if you feel any discomfort.

Your Body Weight Can Do Amazing Things

If you need any convincing of how your falling body weight can help propel you forward on cross-country skis, this trick is for you.

You literally just have to sit down in order to go straight up a hill.

The keys to success are:

  1. Completely lock your arms into your body
  2. Hold your arms and torso rigid, with your poles planted behind your feet.
  3. Sit down (knees press forwards), while keeping your arms locked and upper body rigid
  4. Quickly return to the start position
  5. Effortlessly double pole up the hill.

(There’s a transcript below for our international visitors.)

“Double Pole Trick” Transcript

0:00

Sometimes when you’re skiing and you don’t have very good wax, you can be stuck in a large group of skiers, say at the start of a loppet, or even just on a really busy trail.

If you don’t have good wax, it can be hard to ski by them. You can’t do a herringbone technique to get by. So I invented this little trick to help you get up even really steep hills by double poling.

0:25

Normally double poling up a hills is really difficult. Even World Cup Skiers have a hard time. This way might be a little slower, but pretty much anyone can do it because it doesn’t take massive amounts of upper body strength. You just need to know how to channel your forces correctly.

0:50

The weakest part of your body when you’re double poling is actually your arms. If you’re try to go up a steep hills your arms are going to collapse and you won’t get any power. With this technique you just get rid of the arms completely by brining them in like this.

1:08

In this position I don’t have to worry about my arms collapsing, or even putting much strength into my arms because there’s no where for them to go. Now I can rely on the large muscles in my legs and my core to help propel myself up the hill like this.

1:28

I want to be in the athletic position, with my knees flexed a little bit. My poles should be behind me, maybe at heel height. You can decide based on how long your poles are and how steep the hills is. Then you just want to keep your arms in super close, and relax all your body weight onto your poles like this.

2:00

You might find that you have to keep your core tight during this, but it should not be a “crunch”. It should just be lowering your body weight onto your poles. The actual hard part of this stride comes when your recover. I sit down, and after I’ve been sitting down and I finished my stroke, I actually have to stand up quite quickly and catch myself again like that, before I slip backwards. This is the part of the stride where you put in mechanical effort. The part where you’re going going forward, you just relax and shoot yourself forward thanks to gravity.

2:43

DEMO

3:00

One problem people have is keeping their arms too far out. You really want to have them in as close as possible. Your forearm can be touching your bicep. It shouldn’t be difficult for your arms at all.

Another problem people have is they will sit backwards like this. This is because they aren’t bending at the ankle. That position is a lot had to get out of then if I collapse at the ankle as well. Then I can just stand up more naturally and efficiently.

Make sure you’re flexing at the ankle and not falling back like that.

3:40

So this is just a quick and dirty technique that I like to call “Ratchet Double Pole”. It can help you get up a hill in a pinch.

Give it a try an let us know what you think.

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