Note: This guide applies to downhill/backcountry skiing only – cross country pole choice is quite different and changes depending on the particular discipline.
Don’t let your ski poles be an afterthought! They may not be as exciting and alluring as the latest skis or boots, but for most skiers, beginner or advanced, they still play a critical part in the execution of many fundamental ski techniques. When you think about it, your poles help you to:
- Keep your balance and tell your brain where the hill is by providing extra contact points with the ground (a process known as proprioception)
- Shift weight correctly and align your body while making turns (particularly in steep terrain)
- Keep forward and out of the ‘backseat’
- Generate the correct timing and ‘rhythm’ (pardon the pun) you need to stay in control of your turns and speed
- Connect the upper portion of your body to movement on the hill in a physical way
So, you can see choosing the right pole is important – but where to begin?