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ski poles

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Does anyone have any advice regarding composite poles (not intended for racing)? Brands? Where to buy online? I noticed the other day one of my aluminum poles was bent-I have not fallen on it, stepped on it, etc. What are the advantages/disadvantages of composites. Thanks for the help.
post #2 of 13
I love composite poles because of the swing weight. I like they way they "feel" in the hand. Also being lighter but still with a good swing, my forearms don't get as tired. (When I was in VT I had to use rentals and my arms were definately more tired)

If you are prone to loosing your poles, banging them against hard surfaces, (poles, skis, lift chairs, Car trunk lids, etc) then you do not want composite poles because they will snap rather then bend or dent. I have not purchased them online so I can't help you there. I'm sure someone can. Composites are more expensive than their AL counterparts and for many people they do not justify the cost difference.
post #3 of 13
I really like my composite poles - Leki Viper. They carry quite a few poles at REI. However, you may want to try a few at the shop to find ones with the feel you prefer.
post #4 of 13
I'm on Leki too. Venom trigger
post #5 of 13
Composite poles CAN be lighter than aluminum poles. The term composite is quite vague and can include fiberglass, carbon, graphite, and kevlar. The cheaper the cost, the higher the fiberglass content. The more expensive, the higher the graphite content.

Shapes vary and therefore flex will as well. Constant thin diameter poles such as Goode offer a flexy shaft for better shock absorbsion, tapered shafts from thin at the basket to thick at the grip are generally stiffer.

The lowest price point composite poles are fibreglass with a dark resin to emulate graphite. These poles are generally heavier than a similar priced aluminum pole. As more carbon and graphite are added to the mixture, the price goes up, and the weight goes down.

I prefer a light high quality aluminum pole, since they are much cheaper, and can weigh as little as some of the lighter composite poles. If I damage or lose an aluminum pole, it doesn't hurt the wallet as much. Very cheap aluminum poles are very soft, and can bend just by thinking about it. As price goes up with alu poles, so does the strength. Like composite, instead of bending, they break when stressed to much. That said, a better alu pole will flex more than a cheap one, and return to straight once a the stress has been let off.

You will get what you pay for. Spend more, get more, and cry more when they break or get stolen.
post #6 of 13
Composites are nice. Feels like they might have a lighter swing weight. At least a decent carbon graphite pair. I've been using Life-Link AEC poles, nice grip and about 2 inches of adjustment built into them. If you choose composites, look for something with height adjustable grips.
My aluminum poles haven't been used for years.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ January 16, 2002 05:21 AM: Message edited 1 time, by John J ]</font>
post #7 of 13
I'll chime in for aluminium poles. One problem with people buying aluminium is they don't get the best. Lower end & middle tier aluminium poles are heavier and more prone to bending. I have been using top of the line Scott aluminium poles for years with little problem. My two kids, who both do a lot of jumping, use the same since aluminium poles will usually bend instead of breaking.

I have had a couple pair of composite poles plus I've tried numerous friends' poles. The composites aren't as rigid as the aluminium poles which I don't like while skiing moguls & steeps. The gang I used to ski with preferred the composites in the same conditions so its matter of taste.
post #8 of 13
One thing for AL poles, at least my Rossi brand poles (not sure of the grade of aluminum): I have had them for years. Both have had the baskets replaced. One grip is mostly made of duct tape. The poles themselves are scraped, scratched and freshly bent (my snowboard buddy fell into me and the pole bent. I cussed at him loudly for the enjoyment of those on the lift.) But the bend in those old poles was no big deal at all. So what? I bent them back a bit. Now they curve around my torso and make me go extra fast. I've been meaning to replace them for some years...maybe now is the time.
post #9 of 13
I like aluminum poles - nothing wrong with them, except they bend. On the other hand, composite poles tend to snap, and there was a case a while back in which a skier was out in the BC (it was discussed on this board and others), his composite pole supposedly snapped, the shards impaled his leg and cut his (femoral?) artery causing him to bleed to death. Once I had a situation kind of like that, skiing in some trees and pow, falling on my pole but it only bent (plus I was able to bend it back to almost perfect condition). Also, as Betaracer said, some of the high end aluminum poles are really light.
post #10 of 13
Beta- Nice summary and analysis.

I've been skiing with the same pair of Scotts, with occasional use of Life Links sprinkled in, for over 20 years. One of them was bent slightly the first year of use but they have well over 1000 ski days on them since then. The pair before these only lasted 15 years (also Scott).

Lately I've been toying with buying a pair of composites so I find this post useful.

One of the things I am addicted to about my old Scotts is the old strapless "pistol" grips. (I don't have any interest in starting a debate about the safety of the grips - we did that a couple years ago and the outcome was that rumors of floppy thumbs being caused by the grip were just that - rumors. And I have never dropped a pole or had one fail to come out of my hand if it happened to snag on a tree.)

So, my question, does anyone know of a composite with a pistol grip or a composite with a built up upper shaft for "after market" addition of a pistol grip?
post #11 of 13
I like my $20 Kerma alum. poles I bought about 5 years ago for two reasons, they have held up well and only slightly bent (have bent them almost 30 degrees of straight and they always bend back after wacking them on the ground or tree), secondly I don't have to worry about somebody stealing them because they are so beat up. I don't think there is any paint left on the bottom half of the poles.
post #12 of 13
I have a set of both. Aluminum & Carbon. I've found that I like the shock damining of the carbon poles best. For everyday use I sill use my Kerma aluminum & carbon poles. I also got a great deal at the end of last year on some slightly used carbon poles at TriCity $10. One tiny ding on them. So keep your eyes open and you could find some great deals at the end of the season.
post #13 of 13
PowJunky--like you I have used the pistol grip(?) untill this year(I do not care about games keeper thumb and never got it)the reason I used the pistolgrip was for expediance--when I got off the lift -I hit my music button and then slapped on my poles and tried to get more than 40 runs-----------------This year I found poles that were quick and functional--scott-the upper end have a quick adjust strap that I can fit as I am getting off the lift(6 seconds slower than pistol grips)---as far as composit VS AL--if you have serise"4"aluminum that is almost as light as composit(depends on which one) the rest of the poles go down from there --serise 2 is like beer can al.serise 4 is like aircraft construction--also the new scotts have a non detachable leash so your lock will keep the poles locked to the ski
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