Greetings Nordic ski crowd! I hope you have been able to ski now that we finally have some snow! I have been traveling quite a bit for racing and am returning home to Vermont soon for Spring Series at Craftsbury during the last week of March.
I wanted to talk about a sprint race I had recently, because it reminded me of how important double poling is. The Madison Winterfest in Wisconsin is a SuperTour Sprint weekend, where they lay down a 1k man-made loop around the state capital. The setting is very cool, because there is a mixed group of people watching the race. Some are there only because they stumbled upon it while downtown, and others are really excited about seeing snow at all, since the winter in that area has been dismal.
The first race was supposed to be a classic sprint. However, due to the hard packed conditions, mellow terrain, and short course, adding kickwax to your skis only slowed you down. Therefore, if you had the power, double poling only on skate skis was the way to go. As long as you didn’t skate, other than the allowed pushes around a corner, skate skis were much faster. Many athletes were nervous relying on only their upper body to get around the course.
Luckily, I felt pretty confident with my double pole. Although it was nerve-racking to commit to arms only, having confidence that your body can stand up to the challenge you are setting before it lets your mind focus on the finish line, instead of possible failure to get there. If double poling is a weakness, and you feel that you cheat and use mostly legs when you are on snow, it’s worth looking into the SkiErg for upper body and core strength isolation.