There was a rule-of-thumb once upon a while, at least here in Italy.
-With your normal street shoes on (or barefoot, if you like)
take the pole upside down, seize the part which normally goes into the snow into your hand and, if the pole is of the right
lenght, your elbow should make a 90ish degrees angle.
With your skiing gear all on, while standing still on a flat area, the results should be the same with the pole seized the right way,
the elbow ought to have the 90ish degrees angle...
The above translates for me (175ish cm tall) into a pole length of 125 cm which is the "other" rule I've heard people enunciating
"poles ought to be 50ish cm shorter than your height..."
With the shaped skis and all the risers that are nowadays inserted under the bindings, I don't know if these practical rules are
to be considered valid...but
I noticed (try and error) that the lenght I felt more comfy with was 127 cm, which is not commercially available, so I needed to sew some 130 cm poles...then
Two years ago I bought 130 cm poles,straigth. The result?
Those were obviously too long, the extra cms caused a "wrong" (exaggerated) shoulder movement, since when initiating a turn
I needed to stick the poles way out in front, resulting in yours truly being thrown off balance...the momentum of the shoulder movement was inducing an upper body rotation in the wrong direction.
So I stopped sticking the poles into the snow while making GS like turns.
This year I've got a pair of shaped skis, with Salomon 912 bindings
with raisers, and the same poles are now perfect...can use them in a normal way again
As far as racing goes, I haven't the slightest idea, althought the basic
should still apply...I see no advantage in a "longer" pole, nor in a "shorter"
I am courious, if anyone has experimented otherwise, let us know...please.
Sorry for the verbosity...
Think what You say
Say what You think
but most important
once You've said it, DO it.