Cross Country Ski Poles: Buyer's Guide
Cross-country ski polesCross country ski poles can be divided into 4 main categories:
Ski pole differ in shaft material lightness, pole length, basket type and handle type between skate/classic styles versus touring and backcountry ski poles. Skate ski poles and classic ski poles differ mainly in the length of the pole. For performance ski poles overall weight, swing weight and stiffness differentiates a high end pole from a less expensive pole. Swing weight is important since it is how the pole responds when swinging it forward and backward during poling.
Skate ski and classic ski poles are cut to size on an individual basis in our shop. Touring and backcountry poles come in pre-set lengths. See our sizing charts for the specific pole length you will need based upon the ski pole type.
Skate ski poles are the longest in length of all nordic ski categories. The ski should extend up to your lower lip when standing straight. The long poles are designed for transferring power from the core through the shoulders and into the snow as part of the overall forward movement.
High end poles are made to be light and stiff. The handle grips are typically made of lightweight cork. The straps fit tight to the hand, and some manufacturers make them detachable. Baskets are made of light plastic material, and are designed to stay of groomed tracks.
The classic ski poles are shorter than skate ski poles. The classic pole should extend roughly to your collarbone. The pole material, overall weight, swing weight, basket size and grip material importance is consistent with the skate ski poles. A higher end pole will be much lighter and result in less shoulder fatigue on a long ski. There is no disadvantage in purchasing a higher end pole, and it's hard to go back once you have skied with one.
Nordic Skate & Classic Ski Poles include:
Touring ski poles are made for the recreational skier and are designed for durability and for use in multiple snow conditions. Touring ski poles should be about the height of your upper armpit. Baskets on the touring poles are wider than the performance pole for use in hard packed groomed snow as well as ungroomed conditions. Most poles are made of aluminum and have a simple straps that can be used with both thick warm gloves as well as thin gloves on warmer days. Grips can be either made of cork or durable plastic.
Our touring ski poles are also sold as ski packages, and the table below should get you started on choosing the right pole for you.
Backcountry ski poles come in the fixed length as well as the telescopic (adjustable) length. The telescopic poles are useful when in the backcountry on steep slopes. They can be adjusted to a shorter length for the uphill ski, then a longer length for the descent. Baskets are wide and flexible for use in ungroomed conditions, but can also be readily used under groomed conditions as well.
Nordic Touring and Backcountry Ski Poles include: