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Poles apart.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Chaps, I'm going to purchase a pair of new poles tomorrow (to match my beautiful new RX8's). I've read previous threads about Aluminium vs. Composites and, to be honest, I'm a bit confused. Should I stick with good old Aluminium, which is less prone to break. Or should I go with the newer Composites, which are lighter and more shock-absorbing (?). Lay it to me straight.

I must be brutally honest and say that I use poles (when skiing) much much less than you Pro's - a result of 'dodgy' technique, the new breed of ski's and of laziness in my old age! So should I really worry what to buy ?!?!

Here in Poland, I've liked the look of Leki Wave Poles (basic Alu poles) and Kerma Scorpions (Composites). You guys got any comments on them, or any others?

As ever, thanks for any advice. Wot would us mere mortals do without this forum!
post #2 of 17
I have had my Ice solid composite poles for almost 10 years. They are nicked and scraped some of the silver and blue paint is missing off them. I paid $100.00 for them. My son on the other hand, has to have Scott World Cup's. At $80.00 a pop, he's 17y/o and came from racing. He stopped racing 3 years ago. Since, he is on his 3rd pair of Scotts. Granted the second pair were stolen. He just bent this years pair last weekend. It went something like this: "Gee Dad, I just launched off one of the lips on Rimrock when I noticed one foot felt light. I looked down and only saw one ski. When I landed about 30 feet later, I kind of crashed".

I have fallen countless times and have not bent or broken my composite poles. I've bent two pair of skis and broke a binding on a lift tower. Composite, the only way to go!
post #3 of 17
I am in the poles are poles camp. I would like a lighter swing weight, but I am sure I wouldn't ski any better with expensive poles. I thought mine were stolen while I was giving a lesson on Saturday, so I spent $17 on some new aluminum poles. I found my old poles in the rental rack on Monday, so now I have two sets of cheap aluminum. I have looked at poles for the last several years, but didn't buy any because there was nothing really wrong with my old poles except scratches and the remnants of some NASTAR stickers. Now I have two sets. I say go cheap. Spend your money on lift tickets. Better yet, use your old poles or we might have to send you over to confess on the 'do you dress for fashion' thread.
post #4 of 17
I agree with "retiredat40" that poles are poles if you don't use them a lot. I just bought a pair of Goode's and am a little disappointed when pushing. The tips on hard surfaces slide out and as a result I loose my pacing. Other than that I love the swing weight and (considering that I have them less than a week and mostly teach never evers) their performance. So tips are my concern du jour. I have had Swan's, Smith's and leki's in the past. All have been at worst satisfactory - again if you don't use your poles for high performance skiing.
post #5 of 17
I've got two sets that I use, one composite and one aluminum.

The composites are straight blue Swix Vipers that I got last year and I'm a big fan. I removed the funny yellow tab thing that goes over your hand because I found it to be annoying - when I went to let go of my poles to get to my buckles or something the poles wouldn't fall away, they'd just hang there between my thumb and forefinger. I'm totally happy with them now. Very strong without the flex you get in the alu poles when you push off or when you are skating.

The other pair is a set of Scott GS bend aluminum poles I use for racing with the cone baskets, the regular disc baskets always get knocked off by the gates and I was forever replacing them. The downside to the cone baskets is the poles don't seem to stand up on their own in the snow as well. Anyways, the poles are at least 7 or 8 years old and they are so badly chipped and scratched you can barely tell what kind of poles they are but I love them anyways!
post #6 of 17
Poles are poles? No.

Ski for a couple of runs with one of each, one composite, one aluminium. From, wind resistance, weight and shock absorbsion, there is a HUGE difference. The tell me there is a difference.

I have been skiing with composites for 10+ years. I have broken one pole, my stupidity and one grip, fatigue.
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gate Crasher
... the regular disc baskets always get knocked off by the gates and I was forever replacing them.
Man I hate that. Iused Scott racing poles for centuries, and have all of the mismatched size/color baskets to prove it.

I get particular about poles ... more of a grip thing than anything else, but weight is also a factor. I tried the original Goode composite, but snapped 'em in a start and never tried composite again.

Several years back I bought a pair of Smith Z-bend poles (Alum), which are the best poles I've ever owned. Agressive tips and small racing baskets that never came off on a GS panel. My favorite thing about them was that they came with an extra large powder basket that you put on for those deep days.

Bummer that they're no longer made ...
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by retiredat40
Better yet, use your old poles or we might have to send you over to confess on the 'do you dress for fashion' thread.
Fair call, retiredat40. My words did sound a bit tartish, didn't they. In my defence, I'm only buying new poles because I'm downsizing from 135's to 130 or even 125's (honest!) - as discussed in an interesting recent thread. The use of the word 'match' was an unfortunate 'lapse' ! I promise that my new poles will be totally different colours to my ski's - especially considering the bitchy comments I made on the recent 'Ski Jackets' thread !!! Ahum, cough, cough....
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy B
... I promise that my new poles will be totally different colours to my ski's - ....
After breaking my Smiths I'm down to an old pair of Scott WC that are black and yellow ... I feel silly when I'm on my 6* ...
post #10 of 17
Ice USA composite poles here (vintage 1993 I think)
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodee
I get particular about poles ... more of a grip thing than anything else... ...
I agree with Woodee and "Ziggy" - grips and tips. I've got a locker full of old scotts, smiths, ice, and reflex. All are aluminum except the ice and reflex pencils... which I used maybe 5 times. My z-bends were the only ones that bent... actually creased when bending it back. My fault- I ran into one when I planted it as a blocking move to save my butt in a mogul field.

My favorite tips were the old scotts with a wicked 4-point tip. Stab someone with those and you'd surely kill 'em, but they NEVER slipped on ice. Obviously too dangerous because they stopped making them long ago. The 2nd generation 4-points were shorter, and now they all seem to be rounded off and don't grip ice very well. Not really a big issue on the hill, but can be frustrating in icy lift lines or when skating. The Leki tips are good on ice.

I prefer "pistol" grips with indentations for each finger. Some people prefer a "raked grip" which places the pole a little further out in front. If the grip is comfortable and you don't use them agressively for skating, you won't lose much with a less expensive pole. If you are particular about swing weight and balance, then you might want to check out the more expensive one.

My favorite pole is an old blue WC Scott GS. Received a pair of Leki WC GS triggers as a gift at the begining of the season, but I know the first time I use them they'll be gone at lunchtime. So they sit in the locker.
post #12 of 17
Whatever happend to the platform grips? They were big in the '80's. I have a pair on an ugly set of pink poles, but the grips are perfect for me and the straps are set with a release feature. I have not seen any to take their place, so I just keep using them. I have a pair of more modern poles, but the grips send me back to the girly ones.
post #13 of 17
Kerma made excellent platform grips.

I'm anti-fashion polewise. My red and black Lekis look like sh*t with my SX:11's!
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by jstraw
Kerma made excellent platform grips.

I'm anti-fashion polewise. My red and black Lekis look like sh*t with my SX:11's!
Fashion returns. Your poles will look perfect with next year's skis (it appears black skis are coming back big time). See pics @

http://forums.epicski.com/showthread.php?t=22444
post #15 of 17
I'll '3rd' ICE USA Poles... Too bad you can't really find them anymore.
post #16 of 17
I like the ones in the middle for the Harley look:

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco
My z-bends were the only ones that bent... actually creased when bending it back. My fault- I ran into one when I planted it as a blocking move to save my butt in a mogul field.
That's exactly the point. In a situation like that, a composite pole won't bend.

I've been using Kerma carbon/graphite poles since they first came out, and the only time one broke was when a studnet knocked one over, skied onto it and came to a stop with it right under her foot. She was in a wedge, so on an edge, and when she took a step (she was a heavy girl) she crushed it.

My wife is still using my first pair of Kerma Banshees from 10+ years ago. Bombproof pole. The newer ones have thinner sidewalls but the dampening is better as is the swing weight.

The only problem I've seen with carbon poles was a Goode solid carbon (not woven) pole. It was -20 F at cannon and a guy in my exam group came to a stop and put the pole in the ground a bit too soon. He slid sideways into it with his ski and snapped it off clean, just above the basket. That solid carbon doesn't like it when it gets too cold.
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