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Alright…so, Two Skate is our technique of the day.
Chris: No, it’s not. It’s Kick Double Pole.
Kim: Oh, OK. Let’s just start that right over.
Chris: I kinda like that.
Kim: OK. Kick Double Pole. Right. We’re on with Kick Double Pole. So, classic technique –
Chris: We’ve done a lot of techniques, so I can see why you’d get that mixed up.
Kim: Yeah. You can think of the spectrum of classic techniques as starting with Tuck, Double Pole, Kick Double Pole, Diagonal Stride and Running Herringbone.
So, it sits right in the middle. And even if you just think about the three core classic techniques it’s still right in the middle. Which you would think would mean that it would be used a whole lot, but it’s actually used the very least of all classic techniques.
Chris: Yeah. It’s kind of like Two Skate, in a way, where it’s a very versatile technique, but it’s under-utilized.
The interesting thing with Kick Double Pole is you can use it in sections where you use double pole. You can also use it in sections where you might ordinarily diagonal stride. So, it’s kind of…it’s on both sides. It can be extended out to cover off some – so if you’re not a very strong double poler, chances are you’ll probably use kick double pole a lot.
And if you are a strong double poler, then you’ll probably use kick double pole instead of diagonal stride sometimes.
Kim: Definitely it depends where you’re skiing, too, right? You don’t see it a lot in races because there’s just not a lot of kick double pole terrain for racers.
Chris: No. In a classic sprint race, again, I think it’s under utilized. Like, I’ve watched guys like Lenny Valjas and Stefan Kuhn use kick double pole very effectively on sections where other people are either grinding out double pole, or sort of over-spinning in diagonal stride. It’s a fairly efficient technique. Like there’s a bit of a rest phase to it. So it’s a way to be able to inject a bit more rest time within your skiing on certain sections rather than over-working on double pole or diagonal stride.
Kim: Right. Well, let’s take a look at it.
So, we’re going to look at our body position, wth our kick double pole. Before we kind of dissect the body position a little bit, just kind of run through both Ivan and Olivia here really quickly.
In comparison to the other techniques, it’s a little bit more fluid. There’s a little bit more rhythm to it. And it’s also – you have a little bit more time, so there’s more of a glide phase. There’s more reach. There’s more extension. And, a lot of things I just said there, I did say at some point during our Two Skate video.
So, there is – I see a lot of similarities between our Kick Double Pole in classic skiing and our Two Skate. Just like all of our techniques, the body position isn’t so different. In a lot of these classic techniques I like to kind of view body position here, where your hands and feet are kind of side by side…maybe I’ll go one more over.
So, kind of looking at these two main angles. Hips. This is actually a bad clip. This is a bad stride of Ivan’s. I was watching it before we looked at it and he kind of slips and gets over extended. So his hips are actually a little further back here than maybe I would like. We’ll actually go to Olivia because that was a slip on him.
Because there’s a lot more free glide, the upper body and leg angles are a little bit more vertical than in other techniques. She’s also sitting back a little bit more than in other techniques. And, again, it’s because…it’s the nature of the technique. There’s more reach. You kick further back. Your poles go further back.
But, ideally, in this position…Well, the other reason why the hips appear further back is because this is actually the position that you would draw these lines in. The foot’s further ahead and we’ll get into that a little bit later when we talk about kick.
This is the gliding phase. Because by the time we’re here, she’s already gone that far into her kick phase.
Head’s looking up there. Shoulders are relaxed. Again, it’s all pretty much the basic body position checklist that we’ve been looking at through our technique videos so far.
Kim: So, that was interesting. Just when you were running it through at the beginning and you were talking about how there’s a good full range of motion in terms of how far poles are extending and how big the kick is and that sort of thing. And what occurred to me when you said that is – you mentioned that this is a technique with a lot of glide – but if we think about it in terms of the power and speed aspect, then double pole should theoretically be more glide-y than kick double pole, right? Because we’ve taken double pole in that direction of kind of tightening it up and using it to climb hills and stuff.
Chris: You almost need double pole on two points of the technique spectrum.
Kim: Like the gliding version and the power version, right? (Yeah.)
Chris: But the other reason why there’s more time is because you’re only poling for one stride. Well, you’re poling for both strides, but there’s a massive glide phase per stride (in between).
Kim: Right. So when you… this is a little off topic, but I think it’s relevant here. When you were growing up and double pole was just a gliding technique, right? (Yeah) So was there way more complete range of motion in double pole when you were growing up than what we use today?
Chris: For sure. And we also used kick double pole a lot more when I was growing up than we do now.
Kim: And why would that be?
Chris: Because now a lot of people are using double pole in places where we used to use kick double pole. A lot more aggressive terrain. A lot more climbing-type terrain. False flats.
Kim: And that comes back to better equipment. Better grooming. Stronger athletes. Overall more speed and power? (Yes.) OK, Great. So that was body position.
So moving into poling. Again – I say again only because just before we did this video, we did the Two Skate video. But you don’t actually know that when you’re watching them.
But the poling mechanics are actually quite similar to Two Skate minus the variance that you mentioned. [Chris is referring to how we talked about the asymmetry in the Two Skate poling action in the Two Skate Explainer Course.]
The poling starts a little bit higher than what you’re used to seeing with double pole and extends further back that what you would ordinarily see with a lot of double pole. Kind of “full finish”.
If you watch his torso. His torso gets a little bit deeper here than what we wold see with regular double pole. Shoulders, for the most part, are staying relaxed. This angle here is actually a little bit more open than what you would see ordinarily in double pole. If we look at a normal double pole video, it’s a little bit tighter this way.
But because…there’s a bit more reach here. And the reason for that is because you almost have this counterweight behind you. That’s allowing you to be…to still get more strength here. So there’s a lot more distance between his upper body and the poles.
Poles are landing much further out here. If we were looking at regular double pole, the poles would probably be landing in closer to the toe, versus here. So this point and this point kind of allow you to have a bit more reach and extension in your technique just because of the counterweight sort of theory behind it.
Kim: And the benefit to that is that you’ll have more ground contact time.
Chris: More ground contact time. And, just the same thing that when we get to the kick, the kick is longer than in traditional diagonal stride, so you’re able to get more contact time there as well. So it kind of works on both sides.
Kim: As he comes up, he’s still very forward. I know we talked about in body position as well, but one thing I see quite commonly is that people will come up and they want to stand up and get upright in kick double pole.
Chris: Oh yeah. You see that. We did a video with Damian earlier in the year and I’m pretty sure we talked about that there. Where his torso is kind of standing here. And an old coach I worked with used to say you look like a Christmas tree standing tall. You actually know this coach.
The best athletes still maintain a fairly forward body position. Here. Again. It comes from balance. The more balanced you are on your skis, the more forward and balanced you can be within the stride, within the movements.
But I really like how straight his arm is here, kind of through the recovery. It’s straight down. We’re always trying to use that pendulum motion. It’s like a golf club where the driver’s a longer golf club than your pitching wedge, and so you’re able to create greater force production through the length of that club, even though you don’t have to swing as hard. You don’t have to throw the hands through as hard because you have greater force production from the length from the hand to the shoulder.
We’ll watch Olivia. My guess is Olivia will probably have not as straight of an arm because her tendency is to have her elbows out a little more wide as we’ve seen throughout her techniques.
From the forward position, again, like most of our techniques…hips and shoulders are staying relatively square.
Kim: Really tight. He really keeps his poles close to his sides. (Yup.)
So, Olivia here. Big, long finish. Little bit of an arm bend there.
Kim: She kind of hooked her hand forward there a little bit. Which she did in double pole as well.
Chris: Yup. Yup. She keeps this in a little bit tighter. And I would say this is the the arm pole position that I would prefer to see.
Ivan’s stride, actually, on that one shot was a little bit longer than what he would ordinarily do, for whatever reason. I don’t know. But I think ordinarily Ivan would be closer to a 90 degree position here than he was on that last one.
Same thing here with Olivia as Ivan. Forward position. Good balance over the foot right here. To be able to use a slightly higher finish on the leg kick than you would ordinarily in diagonal stride to kind of counter this forward weight here.
Kim: Right. You know when you talk about the arm swinging forward and starting straight like that, it’s quite tricky. When we look at the video it just looks like such a simple move. Just swing your arm forward, then, as it comes forward, start to bend it a bit. But it’s hard for people. Mostly they just keep it straight all the way up, right? Getting it to come in smoothly in an arch at the front is quite challenging. Yeah, so you’re right, her elbows are higher.
Chris: That’s her style. That’s kind of how she’s grown up skiing for quite awhile now and she just feels more comfortable that way. Yeah, so I think we’re OK now to go into the kick mechanics and anything that we maybe missed in the poling we can kind of revisit there.
Kim: One thing I can point out in this video, if you back up a little bit. So, in the Science of Double Poling Course, which I’ll probably work on more during the summer. I haven’t really had time to get back to it. But I did put an article in there about that double pole preparation phase. You can see it really clearly here. How the poles go forward a little bit. Then they swing back through vertical. So they plant at an angle backwards, but they did come forward that little bit. And when – if you’re able to do that in double pole and kick double pole, then the actual angle that they’ll plant – they’ll hit the snow at will be a little bit more vertical than it you didn’t do that little preparation phase. And, you know, that turns out to be relevant to speed.
Chris: And that little thing too, something you mentioned in a previous video is Ivan’s – that extra little pop and extension he gets before he plants his poles. You can see it right here – that’s where most people would pole from and he goes- Oooop! Right there!
Kim: Yeah! It’s almost like he dives over, but it doesn’t look like an ineffective kind of leaping or something.
Chris: No. That just comes from really good strength.
Kim: Nice. Ok. So that was poling.
So, looking at kick. The first thing I’ll say is – this is one of the things we focussed on a lot when we did diagonal striding – was the timing of the kick and where the emphasis of the kick takes place, and it’s very similar.
It’s right off the start. It’s that first… that concept of the kick in kick double pole is still the same as in diagonal stride. It’s about loading the weight overtop of the ski so you set the kick zone, so that you can make the grip wax work for you in order to be able to propel, or to kick backwards.
So, in order to be able to set that kick zone, you need to be able to drop your weight over top of that foot. So, that happens right here.
Kim: And, at that moment, when you’re dropping your weight –
Chris: And we are looking at the left foot, by the way.
Kim: Yes. Left foot. So at that moment – that’s actually a really good shot to show it, eh? So, do you think that at the start, the ski stops at the start of the kick. And when he sets the wax onto the snow, and then, how do you think his weight is there on the bottom of his foot there? Do you think it’s through the whole foot? Mainly at the front, but through the whole foot? Only at the front? What do you think?
Chris: In kick double pole I think it’s mostly the whole foot. And, the reason for that is the best skiers are able to reach their foot forward on a kick double pole. We’re not going to look at that quite yet in detail. That will be more towards the end. I think it’s something that applies more to the most advanced skier, but I know from just his position there, that it would be almost impossible for him to get his weight from where he is currently is onto the ball of the foot right now. So, I think you’re almost pulling a little bit more from the heel at this point than you are from the toe.
Kim: Right. I think I remember asking Ivan about this, not in Kick Double Pole, but maybe in diagonal stride. He was kind of grabbing the ground with his hamstrings a little bit. But he comes forward really quickly onto the foot.
Chris: By here you’re onto the ball of the foot. But for the bulk of the kick it’s a fairly flat foot. Using the heel to kind of stomp and grip at the snow. I kind of mentally and visually I think of it as gripping the snow almost like I have a claw under my foot, my whole foot.
Kim: Yeah. Maybe it was you who mentioned that to me then. And you don’t try to do that in diagonal stride?
Chris: No. I do. Especially, the more I climb. If I’m climbing steeper stuff I focus on it even more. I used to, when I was younger, really think about getting on the balls of my feet and kind of jumping. But now, to make a much more efficient kick I do try to get my whole foot onto the snow (in diagonal stride?) in diagonal stride.
Kim: Sorry, I know this is about diagonal stride and we’re talking about kick double pole, but in diagonal stride when you’re gliding on the ski are you gliding more on a flat foot, or are you trying to glide on the ball of the foot?
Chris: Probably more towards the ball of the foot, but still having the whole foot on the snow. Because you are trying to be weighted a little bit forward in all your techniques. But you also don’t want to be too much on the ball of your foot because you don’t want to make that front of the kick zone dive down. You want to try to keep it fairly even kick zone camber to the snow.
Kim: Sorry for taking you a little off topic there.
Looking at the left – we’ll go back to the right. So, left foot, the bulk of the kick is here to here. That’s what we talked about. Same thing in diagonal stride. No difference. The only difference is that the tendency can be to extend the kick phase further back here. Like, if this is diagonal stride, I’d want you off that ski by now. Because you just don’t have as much time. You want to also – you don’t want to get into such a forward leg angle this way. But in kick double pole you kind of can afford to get there a little bit just because of the extension you can create with the use of the upper body here and the leg hinge back here.
But the poling and the legs in diagonal stride is timed more together. There’s a bit more – they’re almost timed opposite in kick double pole than diagonal stride. I should say, they are totally timed differently.
Kim: So, I was a little confused there. At first you said that the kick was just at that little bit right there, but then his foot actually stayed down quite long, so do you push against the snow longer in kick double pole?
Chris: Yes. And it’s because you’re kind of poling and kicking at different times. Whereas in diagonal stride, you’re poling and kicking at the same time. (Right.)
So we finished with the kick back here. Again, it’s a little bit higher than you might ordinarily see in a lot of diagonal stride. The nice thing about the height is that it gives you a higher platform to be able to drop the foot in, back in beside you. And that extra bit of height can create more momentum, which is going to help you with the poling power. Because, again, opposite forces help with us generating force.
But as the foot, just like in diagonal stride, comes in, you’re not dropping the foot down behind you here, or here. Like that foot comes in nicely right beside this other foot. Boom. Right there.
And then you – this is part of the technique that’s very specific to kick double pole that you don’t see in any other technique, but now the legs are – there is no kick here. (That’s all glide.) All glide, so, the poling motion starts as that foot comes in beside your other foot, and then it’s just a glide phase as you finish the poling motion.
So, this phase here is like the recovery phase of your diagonal stride. Starting the poling motion. Then this phase here is like double pole. So you’re basically – you’re combining two techniques. You’re combining diagonal stride and double pole to create your core components of your kick double pole.
You’ll probably have to watch it a few times in order for it to make sense. The other thing that both Ivan and Olivia do, that – Whenever I do courses with recreational skiers, this is a piece that’s really hard for people to do, whereas for me, it’s just automatic. Like, I couldn’t not do this. Just because I’ve been doing it for so long. But, you watch – so, he’s about to start his – he’s just finishing his left kick. His left foot is coming back underneath him.
And then, while he’s in his gliding phase, here, watch his right foot, His right foot starts to creep forward. He goes into a split stance. So what that’s going to do is it allows him to basically have this much more kicking length. There’s that much more contact time with his ski on the snow than if he was to keep that right leg basically in line with his left leg.
Oh, someone is just calling me on the phone. (I’ll pause this for a second.) K, ready?
So, yeah, it’s a very subtle sliding move and I would say it’s definitely on the more advanced side of things. Out of all the techniques, this is probably the one piece that’s probably most advanced, which is…So the best skiers…it allows…so one of the things we talked about in Two Skate earlier was the fluidity of it, the timing of it. And what I really like about…if you can find yourself being able to introduce this little foot slide it makes the technique more natural. More fluid. And it just gives you better timing for it all than if you were to just keep that foot kind of right next to that other foot when you start the kick.
That movement is more mechanical.
Kim: Yeah. He puts his foot in that position where he’s able to, like you were talking about, to be able to claw the ground.
Chris: We’ll go ahead here and watch Olivia a little bit.
So a lot of the same mechanics. Olivia gets a very aggressive foot slide there, especially on her right one. Boom. But, again, the mechanics are very similar to diagonal stride. Like, where you’re placing the emphasis on the kick – it’s right as you set your weight over top of that kicking ski.
Olivia is a bit more textbook from what I would like to see, where she doesn’t necessarily over stride behind her. It’s like she’s kind of…her foot’s maintaining contact, and compared to Ivan, see like this angle here is, like, a little bit less forward. Like, Ivan’s knee was driven a lot more forward. I also think that was a bit of a random kick.
If you watch Ivan coming head on you can kind of tell that his kick is a bit more – is a bit tighter. This is a tighter kick from Olivia. And what I like about the tighter kick is you don’t lose your hips quite as far back. So her position here isn’t quite as forward. Her knee isn’t quite as driven forward. Like, Ivan’s leg was more like this. So, here.
Kim: And you like this?
Chris: I like this more. Any time you can keep the hips more controlled and tighter to how the whole body is set up, I’m a bigger fan of.
Kim: Her hips really…as she swings her hips continue to move forward through the movement. Her upper leg swings more upright.
Chris: So I think that’s kind of covers off the majority of the kick. I mean, a lot of the same principles that we talked about in diagonal stride.
Kim: Yeah. And if you’re having trouble timing the rhythm in kick double pole course in there. I think it’s called Power Up Your Preload in Kick Double Pole. So, it kind of helps you find that rhythm a bit. So that’s it for the kick.
Chris: Yes. Kick in Kick Double Pole.