Ski poles are more important than you might think: they affect your stance, balance, timing and technical competence when skiing.
Good ski poles of the correct length will not necessarily improve technique or make your skiing an instant success. But bad poles or poles that are either too short or two long will make it harder to get your technique right.
Pole Weight: should be as light as possible. If the pole is too heavy, it makes accurate timing difficult and tires you you try and swing it round all day.
Pole Length: is likewise crucial. Too long and you will either sit back on your skis perpetually or, maybe even worse, reach too far down the hill on steeps and in bumps. Either is disastrous for your balance. Moreover, a pole that is too long will make an efficient arm-swing and pole-touch impossible to achieve.
Ski Pole Features to look for:
- Aluminium quality: the higher rating the metal has then the lighter and more resilient it is meaning it is less likely to bend after a big fall.
- Grip: better grips are slimmer in profile and have a higher composition of rubber over cheaper plastic grips
- Strap: these vary from being as basic as a loop of webbing, to straps that release in a bad fall therefore prevents wrist injuries. The system that adjusts the strap size also varies and in better quality poles creates a more accurate and comfortable fit.
- Baskets: vary in size and shape, keep in mind if you’re an on piste speed freak go for something slim line or if you love the back country a bigger basket with a wider surface area works better for getting around in the pow pow
- Graphic....ubber important to some people and not at all to others. These days there are some great new school brands like Joystick and Armada doing some awesome cutting edge graphics and sticking them on their poles.
Grab a tape measure and hold one end in your hand. With your hand closed and holding your lower arm parallel with the ground, measure from the ground up to the top of your closed fist. Add 5cm to that measurement and you should have your pole height. (the extra 5 cm accounts for the bit stuck in snow).
Note: If you ride a lot of park or are a park junkie you might want to consider riding your poles10cm shorter.