When going skiing, it is important for your safety and enjoyment to make sure that you always have the right equipment, which is why selecting the proper ski pole is essential. In order to make sure you buy the pole that is right for you, there are four factors that you must consider: material, length, basket size, and grip.
There are four main materials that ski poles are made from, which are composite, fiberglass, aluminum, and graphite. Each material has its own pros and cons. Graphite is both lightweight and highly durable, but it is generally more expensive. Aluminum is a very budget friendly choice, but is more prone to warping or snapping during a crash. What material you get should probably be driven by your budget and how frequently you ski. If you ski rarely, the more economical pole should be sufficient, however if you go often during the season, it might be the time to invest in something stronger.
The deciding factor in buying ski poles should be the length. A pole that is either too long or too short could be dangerous, as it would not allow you to maintain the proper posture while skiing. To choose the right length, turn the pole upside down while standing up with your arms stretched out in front of you, grab the point of the pole, and if the grips are touching the floor that pole is the right size. Telescoping poles might be a good choice for children who are still growing, or if you plan on sharing your equipment.
The basket is a disc located towards the bottom of the ski pole. It is the function of the basket to prevent the end of the pole from sinking into the snow. It is important to choose the proper basket type for the skiing conditions you will be on. Packed terrain should utilize a smaller basket, while soft and loose powder needs a larger basket to perform the same function.
Finally, the last consideration for selecting a ski pole is the grip. The advice that any expert will tell you is that when testing out grips, be sure to do so with your ski glove on. There is a big difference in the feel of the grip between someone wearing their gloves and someone who is not. Additionally, you have the choice of the traditional nylon strap, or a more technological strap which will automatically disengage if you crash.
Ski poles are an important piece of ski equipment. Using this guide will help you make the choice that is right for you, and always remember to select a pole that is strong and sturdy, as well as being a good fit.