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I'm trying to figure out what to do when Pole-Hits-Ski when Skate Skiing. About once every few hundred miles, my pole hits my ski (or lands on my ski) when I push on the pole, and, then, I normally lose balance and fall - lately I fell and sprained my ankle on a challenging trail when pole-hits-ski. Some say this pole-hits-ski is just a beginner's problem and tell me to develop better style, but I am an intermediate to advanced skier of moderate athletic ability who has taken lots of lessons. Instead I think it's inevitable that once in a while my pole will hit the ski and I will have the pole-hits-ski problem, and sometimes lose balance and fall. In a summer sport, cyclists know that if they hit someones wheel and the bike starts to roll forward, it's best to duck one's head and do a body roll. The end results, maybe a few scratches, hopefully just on the bike, eh? What is the corresponding thing to do when pole-hits-ski, or is this just an unspoken, hidden problem of many intermediate to advanced skate skiers? I can't look back and see where pole lands when thrust, so what do I do when pole lands on ski? Do I just fall, and pray that pole will always hit the snow in future? That seems a fantasy to me. Just like bike-racers practice falling, we need to figure out what to do when pole-hits-ski? This is like fire-drills, too. They are practices for what to do in a fire. There must be a way to practice for when pole-hits-ski?
It happens a lot less, the better you are, but still happens sometimes. I usually just do a hop of some sort, struggle for balance for a second, then re-gain control. Do your skis have holes in them? Skiing 6 days a week for 5 years, I only punched one hole in my skis once and filled it quickly with epoxy, but that might give you an indication of how frequently something like that may happen. If you do lose balance and fall, land on your side and flip your skis up in the air so they don't break and so you are sliding on your side/back.
"Live the life you love, love the life you live"
Thanks for all the replies here and elsewhere. It maybe that I was having a transition problem the last time I fell - that is, a transition between (i) going up a rather steep hill rather quickly and (ii) going across the hill and slightly down at the top. I had just gone up a rather steep mini-hill on a challenging trail through the woods where there's just room for 1 skate-skier at a time. After coming up the hill rather quickly, I proceeded to charge on and go immediately forward on terrain that is going slightly down. As it is, I'm just learning how to go up hills rather quickly and easily by bringing the heel in closer and swaying from side to side just a bit. I bet what happened when I fell is that I still had my skis pointed rather sideways as one does when going up a steep hill, but my poles planted like I was going across the hill so my poles were a few inches closer to my body than they would be when I'm going up-hill. I think next time, I'll pause, even just for a second, at the top of these steep mini hills, and ensure that my skis and poles are coordinated rather than having my skies at the up-hill position and my poles closer to the body at the flats or slight-downhill spot. I noticed that even some of the olympians did pause a second or 2 when transitioning between strokes.