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Ski poles

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have a quiver of skis to pick from and I usaully pick one according to impending weather. However, I have been using one set of ski poles for past ten years or so and never gave much thought to their (lack of) performance. There were times when I thought that lighter and/or longer poles maybe ideal but that was it – it was just the passing thought. Judging from the lack of pole-discussion here, I know I’m not alone.

Now that I am considering a new pair – at least buy a set of powder-baskets, what gives?
I have been using a set of Kerma aluminum-poles in 115 (46 in) that is one-size too short for my 5’8” frame.

What is the lightest pole out there and are they worth the extra cost?
I know I like my poles to come around fast and effortlessly when I flick my wrist.
Is the swing-speed (?) strictly a function of pole-weight, or are there other factors to consider?

Some companies give the weight of poles without the handle-weight and some just list the weight, which I assume the handle-weight is excluded. The variance evokes a question - does the weight of handle affect the swing-speed at all? If so, how much?

What about the shape? For all-purpose, not race/carving specific, is straight-stick better than slightly forward bent shape?
post #2 of 29
Poles are important. I like Goode and Leki for poles, the thinner and lighter the better. I am 5'10" and I use a 47", maybe an inch short for me, but for bumps I tend to like a shorter pole.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
You are 5'10" and you use 47"? That is short!
According to some size-chart, you should be using 50".
I also noticed that the pole length increases by 2" and I have never seen odd-numbered length.
post #4 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar2m View Post
You are 5'10" and you use 47"? That is short!
According to some size-chart, you should be using 50".
I also noticed that the pole length increases by 2" and I have never seen odd-numbered length.
With an adjustable shaft it is easy. I think I am gonna go back up to a 48 next year.
post #5 of 29
I've got the Kerma Banshee Pro (picked them up on sale years ago for $40, expensive otherwise) and I've found that they are both lighter and stiffer than any poles out there...carbon shaft and a good grip.

http://www.backcountry.com/store/DYN...ml?id=SYuK4vZd

Personally, I couldn't go back to aluminum. One way to justify the cost is that they'll last longer than aluminum.
post #6 of 29
Personally, I like aluminum better than carbon. Good aluminum poles are stiff, light and durable. (An aluminum pole will bend under stress instead of snap in two like carbon poles.) I use Scott poles made with their Series 4 aluminum.
post #7 of 29

ski swap

I picked up a classic pair of Kerma aluminum poles, circa 1984, with leather straps & big baskets at a ski swap over the summer for $5. I got ones about 2-3" shorter than my other poles, just to have something "different" and these fit the bill on both counts.

Cheap/fun way to go if you don't think poles affect performance too much. If you do, then spend $30 more when poles are 1/2 off...
post #8 of 29
I just don't like the shock of aluminum especially on hard snow. Carbon is damper and takes the stress off of my wrists.
post #9 of 29
Spend some time looking at the grips and make sure you like them. It's easy to overlook the grips when worrying about weight, material, etc, but the grips are pretty important for comfort/performance. I have had some great poles with not so great grips. I spend more time checking out the grips now!
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 

Pole-weight

The weight of the pole, more than anything, affects the swing weight. You can definitely flick a light pole quicker and with less effort than you would with heavier pole. The thinner pole/profile obviously will have less wind-drag, but the weight seems to be the biggest factor affecting the swing-speed.

The Kerma poles that I have served me well for past 10 years and I will keep them as spare. However, they seem to throw my timing off when I need fast pole plants – they just don’t come around quick enough. This is the primary reason I am considering the lighter carbon poles that I can find at reasonable price. The only durability concern that I have with carbon-pole is the structure integrity when it gets nicked by ski-edge.

Now the web search/comparison left me with more questions about the pole-weight than I care to admit. In the first place, it’s annoying to see both the metrics and English system within the same site and same brand. Basically there appears to be no common measuring standards.

REI site list the weight per pair excluding the pole-length that the weight was based on.
For example, Scott S4-aluminum poles weigh 280 grams per pair without the grips. They don’t mention the pole-length the 280g-weight is based on.

Level Nine Sports has Goode “composite” poles and it lists the weight of 308 grams per pole (616 grams per pair). Since they did not mention I assume the weight includes the weight of the grips and baskets.

Do you see why I can’t trust the numbers? I guess I need to go do some actual shopping!
post #11 of 29
Leki vipers is what I use. 52" (im 6'4") Nice poles very durable
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
I just don't like the shock of aluminum especially on hard snow. Carbon is damper and takes the stress off of my wrists.
Hard snow? What's that?
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
I have an opportunity to buy one of the lightest carbons poles on the market at reasonable price. It’s [b]Swix[b] Mach CT1 carbon-poles that SAC was selling for $61.25 last year (MSRP $225). A quick search indicates a pair of this light Swix carbon poles weight about 300 grams per pair. As I mentioned in my previous post, REI lists Scott S4 Aluminum poles weigh 280 grams per pair at $40. How could Aluminum poles weigh less than this one of the lightest and most expensive carbon pole? Could REI number be wrong? Like I said earlier, I can't trust the info these guys put out...
post #14 of 29
I have some upper end Scott carbon poles along with my Scott Series 4 aluminum poles. They feel about the same weight and if anything, the aluminum pole swings lighter. I've tried my friends carbon poles and felt my aluminum poles were as light if not lighter.
post #15 of 29
Once I got carbon pole and then tried my old aluminum poles, I noticed a huge increase in wind drag. The wind really slowed down my swing. And I don't tend to be one of those that free skis blindingly fast all the time. I would never go back to aluminum. But, whatever floats yer boat.
post #16 of 29
If you are an avid skier and a equipment junkie ,forget aluminum go with a good composite pole. there are some cheaper goode's I might stay away from those .Believe it or not you can break a composite its just a lot harder at least they wont bend like aluminum. I personally like leki's with the corrective angle and straps not the trigger grips.They also are available with changable race and powder baskets which is a nice feature. Scott makes a nice composite with a corrective type hand grip,Swix makes a nice one as well as K2 ,I just dont like their chrome grip.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar2m View Post
The only durability concern that I have with carbon-pole is the structure integrity when it gets nicked by ski-edge.
I wrap the bottom of my poles (just above the basket) with 4-5 wraps of 1" electrical tape. This really saves the poles from getting cut up bad if an edge hits them. If the tape takes a hit, just replace it. Better than hacking up the bottoms of the poles (alum or composite). I haven't really nicked my poles with a ski edge in a while, but it was more common in my earlier days.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar2m View Post
Is the swing-speed (?) strictly a function of pole-weight, or are there other factors to consider?
http://www.wristripper.com/exercises3.html

Quote:
Some companies give the weight of poles without the handle-weight and some just list the weight, which I assume the handle-weight is excluded. The variance evokes a question - does the weight of handle affect the swing-speed at all? If so, how much?
If you're using a pure wrist flick, moment of inertia goes as massxradius^2 so 1 gram 50cm from the wrist is about the same as 250 grams 1cm from the wrist.

If you're extending the forearm the above becomes less relevant, but the extension itself is the delay.
post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Skier219 – I also wrap some duck tapes around the pole below its grip for an emergency fix if needed, but your idea of wrapping tapes near the basket sounds even better - kill two birds with one stone! I wasn’t concerned about nicked poles either but just responding to a comment about carbon poles snapping in two.

Comprex - Thanks for a quick lesson in physics.

I am still bothered by this weighty-issue. The density of aluminum is 2.71 g/cm3 and carbon/graphite is about 2.26 g/cm3, suggesting Al-alloy poles should be about 20% heavier than carbon composite poles. I haven’t cut any poles see their cross section but I always assumed the carbon poles have smaller diameter and thinner wall. The outside diameter of carbon pole definitely looks smaller than Al-pole. So why is Scott S4 Al-poles, or any aluminum poles for that matter, weight less than Swix carbon poles?

…I didn’t want to turn this thread into a nerdy-discussion and I should just go and buy the damn carbon poles already, but what can I say, I always had a keen interest in the pole-length and thickness, especially mine.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boar2m View Post
I am still bothered by this weighty-issue. The density of aluminum is 2.71 g/cm3 and carbon/graphite is about 2.26 g/cm3, suggesting Al-alloy poles should be about 20% heavier than carbon composite poles.
What's the density of epoxy?


Quote:
I haven’t cut any poles see their cross section but I always assumed the carbon poles have smaller diameter
OK

Quote:
and thinner wall.
Why would you assume that? Sorry, I pretty much thought this issue was already hashed out with bicycle frames and oversize tubing:

oversize because bending moment (second moment of area, not the same as above moment) for cylinders goes as distance from centroid to the fourth power whereas overall weight scales linearly, so the fatter the outside the thinner the material can be.


Quote:
The outside diameter of carbon pole definitely looks smaller than Al-pole. So why is Scott S4 Al-poles, or any aluminum poles for that matter, weight less than Swix carbon poles?
Basket fittings?
More epoxy to sustain the rigidity of a non-circular airfoil shape?
More epoxy to sustain the rigidity of a bent-shaft pole (maybe beyond aluminum levels as Swix advertise or maybe not) and then the same structure used for the straight shaft because they didn't want to engineer two different baking/layup procedures?


Quote:
…I didn’t want to turn this thread into a nerdy-discussion and I should just go and buy the damn carbon poles already, but what can I say, I always had a keen interest in the pole-length and thickness, especially mine.
I'm off to train the wrists.
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
I am going with Swix carbon poles thanks to Skihound’s generous offer.
Thanks everyone, especially Comprex, for your help/opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
I'm off to train the wrists.
Short stroke exercise I reckon?
post #22 of 29
With forearm extension: I don't mind the delay.
post #23 of 29
B2M: The CT1 poles are extremely stiff, to achieve that they have to use more material. The Viper and old Cobra (still talking Swix poles) are lighter, but will flex more when you put weight on them.

I've been using Cobras for 6-7 seasons now but got a pair of CT1s on sale (70 % discount, and I was looking to go up a length) before easter. No straight poles left, so I got DHCs... cut the 'basket' off and fitted some nice big Black Diamond powder baskets
post #24 of 29
I think swing weight depends upon BOTH the shaft and what's at the end of the pole. I use K2 6-Speed poles. I have one set with their "hard snow" (read smaller, stiffer) basket and one with their "powder" (read larger circumference and wider wings, ergo heavier) baskets. The latter definitely require more energy--or take longer--to swing. I've tested lots of poles for swing ease and never found anything that beats the 6-Speed.
post #25 of 29
I was looking pretty hard at the Mach CT-1s earlier this season, but just couldnt swing the price, even on shop form. They are some great poles though, and Swix has a no-questions-asked warranty policy, should you happen to break one.

I've been using the same Scott S4 WC poles for the last 6 years and have yet to bend them enough that you can see it without looking down the shaft lengthwise.
post #26 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
I've tested lots of poles for swing ease and never found anything that beats the 6-Speed.
It's fairly personal; I like the Scott T2/Taperlite and Kerma Scorpion, both with the Leki 5 inch pow basket, over the 6spd.
post #27 of 29

Stupid question on length

I had a pole-related mishap today and am now short one pole. I like the length, so I want to get another one/pair that's the same, but I'm not sure how to measure the pole. End-to-end and end-to-basket both make sense to me.

I knew there was a reason my only performance criteria was "the cheapest one in the store."
post #28 of 29
poles usually say how long they are on them. I think that is shaft length but I am not sure.

I just realized today I was wrong earlier about my pole length. I use 48" poles actually and at 6'4" thats pretty dang short I guess, could there be any problem with using poles this short? they do pull my upper body pretty far forward but I've never noticed that hindering my skiing.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilT View Post
poles usually say how long they are on them. I think that is shaft length but I am not sure.
I can tell you that my poles have an 18mm diameter, but they don't have a length printed on them. Maybe someone can compare their pole's printed size with a tape measure and see what part's that long?
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