The most important parameters of ski poles are their length, flexibility and elasticity. The use of ski poles is really wide and individual. When choosing, focus on the length, material and the usual use.
How to choose the right length?
- Subtract 50 cm from your height, that is the optimal length of the poles.
- When standing barefoot, grab the pole upside down by the ring. Your wrist should be on horizontal level or slightly bent down.
Types of ski poles
Racing poles are usually made of carbon. Racing models (e.g. Leki) offer special connection between the pole and the glove.
- poles suited for giant slalom are aerodynamic, curved along the body to ensure the smallest air resistance.
- slalom poles are not curved, however, they sometime feature corrective curve of 8 degrees right under the handle for better range.
Sports poles have composite (or composite mixed with aluminium) tube. Their handle and strap are sophisticated. These poles are lightweight, firm and flexible.
Recreational poles are usually made of alluminium alloy, they are intended for recreational skiers, who need their poles to be firm and comfortable. They are also affordable.
Take the pole handle and the strap into consideration as well
Plastic handles are cheap and make the price of the pole really affordable, however they are shapeless and slippery in the gloves. The strap is made of ordinary nylon fibres and the buckle is from plastic.
Handles from soft material are soft and thanks to the rubber part fit in the glove perfectly. On the other hand, they increase the price of the pole. More expensive models possess more quality straps (padded and with grip)
What material are the poles made of?
The tubes are usually produced from alluminium alloy. The material of the highest solidity is marked as 7075 (F65-55). Less solid material is labelled 5083 (F50-45) and the least solid one is labelled 5086 (F38-40). Poles fabricated from these alloys are mostly recreational. Some poles are made of alluminium mixed with composite, these are however more expensive.
How to choose ski poles for kids?
When kids learn to ski, most of them do not need to use poles at all. Initially, it is important to learn how to control the skis, poles could create unnecessary obstacles physically and mentally. In the first phase of the learning process, they can increase the risk of injury, that is why it is important not to rush anything. Ski poles are essential only when the child has balance issues, in that case they can be helpful in gaining the confidence.
After a child masters snowplough turns, it is ready for the poles.
The smallest poles are 70 cm long, manufacturers also offer adjustable poles which can "grow" with the child. Generally, the rules for choosing the right poles for kids are the same as for adults.