For many skiers, ski poles are an essential piece of ski kit. Used properly, they are designed to help you balance, time your turns, and give you extra propulsion on the slopes.
For backcountry and alpine touring, poles can help you hike, and on flat they can help you skate and even pull your snowboarder friends along.
Many beginners, especially kids won’t be given ski poles until they are more competent on a range of terrain. New skiers tend to rely too heavily on poles for turning learning bad form such as throwing their body, leaning their weight too far back, standing upright, or letting them drag along the slope. Instead, you’ll often see beginner classes, pole-less, with their hands on their knees to instil good weight positioning and technique. Once they’ve mastered that, they are allowed ski poles.
Using the chart below, find your height for an approximate size. Once you know this size you can start to think about whether you need to size up or down or stay at that length.
Many skiers prefer to ski with longer poles; ideal if:
- You like to plant your pole and turn
- You skate or traverse a lot of flat
- You also cross country ski
Many skiers prefer to ski with shorter poles; ideal if:
- You ski in deep snow
- You ski all terrain parks
Aluminium - Most ski poles are aluminium; they’re lightweight and strong but still cost effective.
Fibreglass - Fibreglass has the highest strength to weight ratio of any ski pole material allowing them to be slimmer and lighter but still with exceptional performance. Fibreglass is popular amongst racers.
Carbon - Carbon fibre ski poles offer the highest strength to weight ratio but are more likely to snap, rather than bend like aluminium poles, in the unlikely event that they break. Carbon is often blended with other materials to make them more pliable.
Mixed materials- Some ski poles are made of a mix of materials including aluminium, fibreglass, carbon, resin etc. Composite ski poles, such as fibreglass and carbon mix, offer better shock absorption than aluminium but do cost more than traditional poles.