I'm confused now after reading all this, because I've been encouraged -- the same way as Oboe pointed out here, to go longer, not shorter.
I'm 5'1" and have been using 44" poles, which are a bit shorter than ones that would give me that perfect arm angle --what is it, 90 degrees? Where you hold the pole upside down, etc.
I had shorter ones because years ago, a female instructor said shorter poles would force me to lean more forward.
But this past week I took lessons with with two different instructors, who started me skiing groomed Black Diamonds, off-piste and beginning moguls. Both of them remarked that while I was making progress, something was off in my angulation and each suggested I get longer poles.
So, after one morning session, we went into a shop and bought me some new 46" poles. 2" longer than what I'd been using.(I bought the same ones one of the instructors has, which are Scott, Series C...carbon, i think. They're really light. 100 grams).
Well, you could knock me over with a --- pole. We went back on the slopes and everything fell into place. I felt so much more comfortable and confident and capable with the longer poles -- it was surprising. I was able to ski steeper inclines with more speed and ease and definitely looked a hell of a lot better attempting moguls.
So -- I'm curious why are most people here voting for shorter poles?