What Is Old Is New Again.

This Hok from China skis what we see as the old way, but for him, it's a way of life.
This Hok from China skis what we see as the old way, but for him, it’s a way of life.

Last season, 38-year-old Ma Liqin visited Norway to demonstrate an ancient skiing style still used in the Altai Mountains, a range located at the intersection of China, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia. People in that region ski daily for hunting and transportation. Their equipment is fashioned from wood and has animal fur tied to the base. As part of the technique, they use a single long pole.

“The skiing technique is very attached to the traditional life of hunting, trapping, and reindeer herding. We do not know how long this activity will be kept alive,” said archaeologist Espen Finstad, archaeologist for Norway’s Oppland county.

Readers interested in long pole skiing  might consider the personal experience of 67-year old Dennis Murphy, from Chester Springs, PA.

“I was first introduced to long pole skiing approximately three years ago by my son, who experienced the use of a single long pole while investigating techniques used in telemark skiing. I found that the use of a single long pole provides a novel and enjoyable adventure. The technique enhanced my turning, provided a new rhythm and, perhaps most importantly, as a senior skier, provided a more stable and secure ride. In fact, last season I skied a double diamond that I would never have tried with two poles.

“The technique for long pole skiing is easy to learn. It is a natural movement that involves holding the pole horizontally in front of you and, as you turn, placing the pole tip on the surface at the rear end of your up-hill ski. When turning right, for example, the tip of the pole would be placed near the end of the right ski. It is similar to a kayak paddle to maneuver when moving down stream.

“The enhanced turning and rhythm resulting from using a long pole results from the natural tendency to lean back (uphill) during turns. Placed behind, the pole adds support and helps the skier go back even further. I find myself skiing higher on my edges, making more secure and rounded turns. I have found that putting significant pressure on the pole tip significantly improves the ability to control speed and balance. It has provided me with the confidence to ski trails with steeper inclines. “ 

Dennis now manufactures two-piece long poles under the name ThirdEdge. The product is explained and demonstrated at www.longpoleskiing.com.

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