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What specs to look for in buying poles?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Even though I've always researched and spec'ed out my skis, bindings, and boots, I've always only ever just used rental poles without ever looking into what criteria makes some better than others.

My rental poles finally have to be retired after years of abuse, so I'm looking to buy some new poles for the first time at some end-of-season sale.

I'm not looking to get some crazy expensive Gold Medal Olympian quality pole made out of dark matter or anything, but something probably in the mid-range, for all mountain downhill skiing (groomers, glades, park).

What construction material?

What kind of straps?  Grips?

What price is reasonable?

Any preferred manufacturer?

2006 4FRNT MSP 181
122-92-112
Salomon s912 ti light bindings
Skiier since 1992.
post #2 of 21
In general poles are poles.  I tend to go for mid-priced ($30-$50ish) aluminum poles rather than more expensive carbon fiber or composite poles.  I don't want to have to keep an eye on my expensive poles 24/7 so that they don't get stolen while I'm eating lunch.

I currently am using Swix Trigger S poles which have a wrist strap that separates from the grip when you push a button on top of the grip.  Makes taking your poles off on the lift much easier and the straps will release if you get your pole stuck in something while tree skiing, saving your wrist.  I think I paid around $35 for them from REI during a year end sale.
post #3 of 21
Just get some poles....it's not complicated.
post #4 of 21
 I'm not a gear nut, so take this for what it's worth:

First thing to look for is length, then price, grip, weight, basket size, flexibility, and durability.  There are lots of different types of poles at lots of different types of prices.  Decide what length and basket size you want and don't obsess about the rest.  Most important: don't spend a lot of money on the things unless you like to throw it away.  As much as manufacturers would like you to think it's important to have just the right, high tech, pole, it 'aint.
post #5 of 21

There are only a handful of ski pole manufacturers, Ski brands will contract out and have their graphics applied.

For the purchaser, it comes down to price, where the more expensive is generally a lighter and stronger (basing on only aluminum) alloy. 6000 series < 7000 series. 
If you stick to a price point, you are pretty much comparing equal or close quality. What you need to do is take your gloves with you so  so can see if the grip fits your hands. I prefer a 'Race' style grip as I have large hands that feel cramped in a grip with upper and/or lower shoulders.
Straps are personal. Nylon is the norm now. Velcro or double eye rings are the adjustments. The Leki clips are nice, but there is a cost increase.
Size your baskets to your needs. Some brands offer adaptable baskets where for powder a larger disc can be attached, and removed for harder snow/racing. A larger basket will increase swing weight, but a smaller basket will sink deeper in powder.

Not really that much to a ski pole purchase, but just a few things to consider.

post #6 of 21
Make sure your new poles are calibrated properly...
Very important.

Dave
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pwens View Post

Even though I've always researched and spec'ed out my skis, bindings, and boots, I've always only ever just used rental poles without ever looking into what criteria makes some better than others.

My rental poles finally have to be retired after years of abuse, so I'm looking to buy some new poles for the first time at some end-of-season sale.

I'm not looking to get some crazy expensive Gold Medal Olympian quality pole made out of dark matter or anything, but something probably in the mid-range, for all mountain downhill skiing (groomers, glades, park).

What construction material?   I like composite they are aluminum on the top half and carbon fiber on the bottom half. Aluminum is the cheapest and works quite well. Carbon fiber poles are about the same price as composite but more bendy .

What kind of straps?  Grips?  I have Leki trigger grips I have a love /hate relationship with them. I do like the ergonomic shape of the poles. I'd go with conventional straps or use the Leki system and buy the click in straps

What price is reasonable?  Ummmmmmmmmm  This is how i define reasonable but  I spent a hundred bucks on mine a few years ago. You can get aluminum poles for 15 bucks to around 50. Composite poles are around 70 to 100 and the same for carbon fiber poles

Any preferred manufacturer?  Leki and  Goode for quality and many others that are  aluminum that price ,color and shape determine the purchase because they are very similar in materials.

2006 4FRNT MSP 181
122-92-112
Salomon s912 ti light bindings
Skiier since 1992.

I hope this is helpful. Happy shopping, Go check sports and ski stores now because they are putting them away now or unloading them cheap to clear space and funds for more inventory
Edited by GarryZ - 3/30/10 at 10:55am
post #8 of 21
Make sure you get the basket cant and handle alignment done
post #9 of 21
Poles are generally poles. That being said, I have a great pair of Indigo carbon adjustable hyrbids that I love (they don't make them anymore). Not that they're so much better than another other pole from a feature standpoint - I'm just used to them.

You might want to think about an adjustable pole if you do any backcountry skiing. But other than that, get the right size.

Lastly, you might want to think about wrapping 2 or 3 feet or so of duct tape around each pole (up high so it doesn't jack up the swing). Not up and down the pole but rather just in one spot/layer. That way you'll have a supply of duct tape if you need it for patching holes in pants, repairing a goggle strap etc. I actually position the wraps/ball of duct tape about 1/3 the way down the pole so it acts as a grip when I am traversing a steeper slope when skinning.

That's about it for poles.

Edit: Just thought I would toss this in here but duct tape is a great way to fight a blister.  Just put it on the outside of the sock in the offending region and it will decrease the friction of the sock rubbing against the boot liner thus lowering the chances of a blister forming.  If it does form, then I just slap on some duct tape on top of the skin covering the blister.  Not hygenic and not all the pleasant but will get ya through.

Mmmmmm duct tape.
post #10 of 21
post #11 of 21
level9-2010-ski-poles-white-1-xl.jpg


Level Nine Sports. $23 Composite Pole in Black or White.  http://www.levelninesports.com/  Great pole. Great price. Velcro straps, and balanced swingweight elevates plants to an art form. And the white color integrates so seamlessly with the snow underfoot that I really feel in harmony with the unity of of all things so that I make each turn with the freshness of present moment awareness. I own two pair.
Edited by Vinstant - 3/30/10 at 11:57am
post #12 of 21
2 most important factors,  The only shop that offers both certifications is Phils' @ wicks.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dwoof2 View Post

Make sure your new poles are calibrated properly...
Very important.

Dave


 




Quote:
Originally Posted by narc View Post

Make sure you get the basket cant and handle alignment done
 
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

2 most important factors,  The only shop that offers both certifications is Phils' @ wicks.....
 






 
Look what can happen when you have properly calibrated poles
15317_10150161097105018_830505017_11439963_2550360_n.jpg


They made Rachel so good that she proclaimed them the best poles EVER the second time around.
15317_10150161097165018_830505017_11439966_6949565_n.jpg
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by narc View Post

Make sure you get the basket cant and handle alignment done

417mh5boeVL._SL210_.jpg
At Poles with Panache, Your Pole Is An Extension of You

Why stop at mere basket cant and handle alignment, Ship the poles to us for custom build-up wraps of your pole's grips with hockey tape in the color(s) of your choice. I guarantee that your custom-wrapped grips will be a one of a kind reflection of your personality, aesthetics and skiing style. You will be the envy of others in the lift line and the object of desire of all. Please send specs for quick quote.
 
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post



Look what can happen when you have properly calibrated poles
15317_10150161097105018_830505017_11439963_2550360_n.jpg


They made Rachel so good that she proclaimed them the best poles EVER the second time around.
15317_10150161097165018_830505017_11439966_6949565_n.jpg
 

They must be a bit too heavy. She tends to leave them behind.
post #16 of 21
Poles 2.jpg 
post #17 of 21
Is it true that the purpose of the pole basket (actually it's a soft rubber disc) is to prevent the ski pole from stabbing deep into somebody? 
post #18 of 21
I had first chair this morning.  A friend of mine was on it with me.  He had fluorescent green poles he got at a garage sale for $5.  I had some with fluorescent pink trim I found at a second hand store for $7.

We both like our poles because they have big enough baskets for the thigh deep powder we were skiing.
post #19 of 21
Hey!  I have flouro yellow poles I got from a garage sale for $5.  Bet we'd look a sight on the lift.
post #20 of 21
I like cheap scott poles because it's easy to take off the basket and slide BD powder baskets on. And they're cheap..
post #21 of 21
Just get the basic Scott straight racing pole (slalom pole).  They're not too expensive and they don't break.  Alot of the cheaper poles bend/eventually break really easily.
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