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# Question about poles.

I know this is a pretty elementary question, but I'm confused about the current standards in ski pole length. I remember always being told that your forarms should be parallel to the ground, with your arm making a 90 degree angle, when holding the pole upside-down above the basket. (I think also with your knees at a slight bend.) I am 5'11" and this would match me up with a 44" ski pole, but I have heard of other people my height using 50" poles. What's the deal? Has that standard become outdated, or are these other people using poles out of the normal range?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by redcapandspeedo ... your arm making a 90 degree angle, when holding the pole upside-down above the basket.
Below the basket. That is: lower down when the pole is upside down. It is, of course, the same bit of shaft that would be above the basket if the pole were right side up. Which it isn't.

Quote:
 I am 5'11" and this would match me up with a 44" ski pole,
You're either very oddly proportioned, or doing something wrong ... most likely, holding the pole above the basket.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by sjjohnston You're either very oddly proportioned, or doing something wrong ... most likely, holding the pole above the basket.
yep...something's definitely wrong. i'm 5'5 and i use a 46" pole. i can't imagine someone at 5'11 using a 44" pole. :

don't forget that you should stand in your boots and on your skis when you do the measurement check.
Okay I think the below the basket, and the skis and boots tips might inch up the poles at least a few inches. I'm guessing that I would probably be a 48" pole person. From what you guys are saying I think that sounds more likely.
Use the search feature---there is at least one GREAT thread on this that I started some 6 mos. back. Generally the equation is .68 x your height in inches.

Also--my examiner this fall gave advice of---stand on snow in ski boots--pole should come to the solar plexas (spelling error I am sure)

Aside---the equation and solar plexas deal works for me.
I'm 6ft and my poles are 125cm (about 49"), so yes, grab UNDER the basket, not above it.
5'11.5"
48s

Sometimes I wish they were shorter.

### 3 thoughts

PSIA seems to have a "doctrine" or opinion on many things. Are there any PSIA types out there that care to tell us what PSIA has to say (if anything) on this issue.

One comment on the "hold the pole under the basket upside down, knees bent, ect" technique. It seems to me that is good, but should be done with boots and skis on. That way any lift due to the thickness of the ski and especially the binding will be compensated for.

Last, a persons ski style, terrain they ski, and and personal preference plays a role in pole length.
6'2", 52" poles

Carbon - for someone almost 6', 48s seem short unless you ski exclusively in the bumps. 50s would probably be right.
Hey, that equation seems like a good way to go. It told me I should go with a 51", so the 52" I have is about right. Nice. I'll have to remember that one if I get calls about such things at the shop.
Skugrud,
I have not seen a definitive statement in PSIA material about how to determine proper sizing for any kind of ski equipment. PSIA educational material is focused on detecting the symptoms of using improperly sized equipment.

### Ski Poles

Skucrud is right. His suggestions will give you a truer read of what you need. I am 5 11 and use 50" poles andd they are not too long. One possible problem that can happen if you have too short of poles is that you may develope the habit of bending at the waist in order to touch the pole to the snow. This can over time give yourself bad ski posture/positioning of being in a crouch with your body bent too far forward at the waist. Just a possibility.
Hi guys,

My first time in this forum. I'm also wondering about pole length as I've just started to learn to use poles in making turns.

I'm 5'10", using 48" poles. What I found is on the hard surface of some mid-Atlantic mountains (I mostly ski Bear Creek and Blue Mountain, PA), it's very hard to dig the poles into the snow/ice at all and the poles also feel a bit too long (that could be my technique though).

The "below basket" rationale is on the assumption that one actually digs the poles into snow, up to the height of the basket, I think. If that's true, shall I substract 2-3" from the formula and go with shorter poles?

Thanks!
- Ray
Raymn, you think you have problems! : I ski out west, and my poles sink in up to the grips sometimes. We might need short poles for ice, and long poles for powder. What do you think? :
Some peopel I know use adjustable length poles so they can change the as the conditions dictate.
5'10"
58" for skinning up,
44" for telemarking down (tele skiers usually need shorter poles 'cause our arms get closer to the snow).
I'm 5 11"...use 50's

### Poles

Raymn. Since your post was listed as your lst I am going to assume you were really sincere in your question. Humor is good but since that is your lst post-you don't put/stick/jam your poles into ice, pack or powded. Just a soft movement is needed "flick and a touch" or sometimes just the flick and no actual touch. Some of the humor was great though.
Was recently in one of the top-rated ski shops (for boot-fitting) looking to buy poles for my wife. They said with today's shorter shaped skis, you want to go a bit shorter in poles than the old upside-down basket rule.

The idea is that if you're skiing the new skis correctly, your weight is a bit more forward and your ankles are a bit more flexed than the old way. You're doing more side-to-side tilting of your feet, ie, letting the skis do the turning, rather than the more up and down movement of the old school.

Just one opinion anyway.
Should someone use a different pole length for freestyle vs. normal hardpack skiing? I would assume that freestylers would go a couple of inches shorter to minimize pole awkwardness during spins and such.
Pete hit it on the head with me. I bent at the waist for 2 years, no one could fix it---I never felt it but could see it on video. Took a PSIA clinic, the first thing the clinician said...get longer poles. I added 3 inches and now some mentors ask---how did you fix that waist thing.

I might have overcompensated by going 3'' but it worked. I started my thread in GEAR in November because I wanted to know the technical answer--shorter or keep 3 inches over the past length. The equation says 1 inch shorter for me.

Someone also said the new skis are the reason for shorter than 90-degree elbow pole length. That sounds right to me. As noted earlier a guy who I believe is the absolute best MA examiner said he recommends a slight falling of the forearm as opposed to 90 degrees.
redcapandspeedo, use the height in inches by .68 formula if you're in doubt. We've found it very accurate for us.
Pete, thanks for the clarification. I just started learning how to plant poles in making turns so my knowledge is fairly limited. My sincere thinking is that the pole basket should be where the soft snow (not ice) surface normally provides support to the pole (if not, then what purpose of the basket?), thus the hand position under the basket of a reversed pole is normally used to measure pole length.

Of course, one can hardly dig a pole into ice or hard packed surface, that's why I reckon the length from pole tip to basket might need be taken away from the normal measurement as now it's the tip, not the basket, that provides the support. But I stand correction if my assumption or reasoning is flawed.

The "flick and touch" technique you mentioned is certainly helpful, which I also appreciate.
Quote:
 Originally Posted by redcapandspeedo I know this is a pretty elementary question, but I'm confused about the current standards in ski pole length. I remember always being told that your forarms should be parallel to the ground, with your arm making a 90 degree angle, when holding the pole upside-down above the basket. (I think also with your knees at a slight bend.) I am 5'11" and this would match me up with a 44" ski pole, but I have heard of other people my height using 50" poles. What's the deal? Has that standard become outdated, or are these other people using poles out of the normal range?
I've used similar way to determine the length of the poles, just below the basket and with legs straight.
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