Ski poles are an integral part of a skier's equipment. Indeed, they help you to keep your balance on the descent, to gain in precision, to move forward on the ski lifts, support you when you stop... It is therefore necessary to select them carefully, for a safe and comfortable practice! Above all, a suitable pair is your best ally to progress and consolidate your technique. Discover our guide to choosing the right ski poles.
THE DIFFERENT POLE MATERIALS
While aluminium is appealing for its lightness, robustness and attractive price, carbon is even lighter and better dampens vibrations. Manufacturers are competing ingeniously with strands made of several materials, such as fibreglass or titanium, each of which offers very specific physical properties. A composite ski pole is therefore both strong and thinner, and can be deformed back to its original shape.
If you go out for one week a year for winter sports and don't want to make a big expense, aluminium should be perfectly suitable. If you ski regularly, prefer a 7000 aluminium ski pole, which is more resistant, or with more than 70% carbon.
WHICH POLE TO CHOOSE ACCORDING TO YOUR PRACTICE?
The classic single-stranded ski pole is straight and tapered, to guarantee good aerodynamic performance and optimise balance. Versatile, it is ideal for downhill skiing but also allows you to have fun everywhere else. The racing pole has a curved shape that hugs your body to limit friction in the air. If you're looking for speed, this is the one for you! For freeriders who like to roam through the forest, go for telescopic ski poles. They can be adjusted in length for easy transition from piste to powder. Equipped with grip handles, they are also very practical for ski touring, especially as they reduce physical effort and distribute the force better throughout the body.
WHICH SIZE OF SKI POLE TO CHOOSE?
This is a determining factor in adopting a better bust position, in order to properly orient your skis in relation to the slope.
ACCORDING TO YOUR SIZE
If you already have a pair of sticks, hold one upside down with the handle on the floor and put your hand under the puck. If your arm forms a right angle, the ski pole is the right size. On the other hand, if your elbow is too far apart, it is too small and you will be forced to wiggle your elbow to find support. On the other hand, if your arm is too high, it is too big, which will make your position unstable. You don't have any equipment at your disposal? Please refer to the ski pole size scale:
80 cm pole: 1.5 m person
90 cm pole: 1.20 m person
100 cm pole: 1.40 m person
110 cm pole: 1.60 m person
120 cm pole: 1.70 m person
130 cm pole: 1.90 m person
140 cm pole: Person of more than 2 m
DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF GLIDE
If you practice telemark skiing, lean towards a slightly shorter ski pole. You will be more comfortable and at ease. Conversely, if you're an backcountry enthusiast, choose a slightly longer pole to reduce the amount of snow you sink into and keep your balance.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING A SKI POLE?
There are other elements to consider when buying a pair of ski poles.
The washer is the lower end of the stick before the tip, preventing it from sinking into the snow when it is pressed down. A ski pole designed for powder snow is equipped with a wide washer, which stays on the surface. For use on hard snow and groomed slopes, the washer is narrow and offers less wind resistance while being stiffer. The puck on the Atomic ski pole is specifically designed for the piste and provides excellent grip and balance.
The wrist strap is a handy strap that can be positioned around the wrist to avoid losing the sticks in case of a fall. It also provides extra support during the leaning and pushing phases. It is therefore advisable to choose wide straps for optimum comfort.
This can be a simple strap connected to the handle, forming a loop where the wrist can be inserted. More top-of-the-range safety straps, such as the Leki system, offer the possibility of quick release in the event of an impact, but also provide better support. Moreover, if you like to have fun slaloming between the trees, remember to remove the straps in case your freeride ski poles get stuck in a branch... Finally, the musketeer handle does not have a strap but plastic flaps, for a better grip and quicker installation.
Feeling at ease is fundamental to good skiing. This is why it can be interesting to opt for an ergonomic handle, adapted to the size of your hand. For children, an index plus three fingers model is preferable. For men with large hands, opt for a four-finger handle.
Even if you wear gloves and they absorb the texture of the handle, there are different materials available that provide various benefits. For example, soft foam handles are light and pleasant to the touch. A dual-material foam and rubber model makes the grip easier to hold and absorbs vibrations perfectly, thus limiting fatigue. Plastic handles are more resistant and less comfortable.
You have certain affinities with a particular brand, such as Black Crows, Salomon, Scott, Head, Roxy or Rossignol? Let yourself be tempted by a designer ski pole or a very specific colour. Why not associate the brand of your poles with that of your skis?
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