If you’re planning to hit the slopes this winter, then it’s essential that you have the right skiing equipment and accessories. One important item that often gets overlooked is the ski pole. These long and slender sticks may seem like a small detail but finding the perfect fit can make all the difference in your performance on the mountain.
So, if you’re wondering what size ski poles are best for you, then keep reading. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the right ski poles. From how to measure yourself properly to understanding different types of grips and baskets, we’ve got you covered.
“Ski poles aren’t just an accessory; they’re a crucial tool that helps skiers maintain balance, change direction, and control their speed.” -Unknown
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, having the right size and features on your ski poles will help you ski with confidence and ease. Improper sizing can cause unnecessary strain on your joints and affect your posture, leading to fatigue and injury.
Don’t let something as small as ill-fitted ski poles ruin your day on the mountain. Follow our guide and find the perfect set of ski poles that work for you. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
Understanding Ski Pole Sizing
Why Proper Ski Pole Sizing Matters
When it comes to skiing, having the right equipment is crucial for both safety and performance. While many people think that ski poles are a one-size-fits-all accessory, they actually come in a range of sizes and choosing the wrong size can have negative effects on your ability to control your turns, maintain balance, and navigate variable terrain.
“Ski pole sizing might seem like a minor detail, but using the wrong length can cause you serious discomfort or worsen an existing injury.” -Skinet.com
The Basics of Ski Pole Sizing
The general rule for sizing ski poles is to measure from the ground up to your armpit when standing upright with your arms at your sides. However, this measurement can vary depending on factors such as the type of skiing you’ll be doing, your personal preference, and your body proportions.
- If you’re looking for maximum stability and balance, opt for ski poles that reach your chin or mouth level.
- For freestyle or park skiing, shorter ski poles that reach your shoulder or upper arm can provide increased mobility.
- Racers often prefer longer ski poles that reach above their head, allowing them to push off the snow more effectively during starts and turns.
In addition to these guidelines, keep in mind that different brands may use slightly different measurements for their sizing charts, and it’s always best to try out several lengths before making a final decision.
Ski Pole Sizing for Different Types of Skiing
Depending on your preferred skiing style, there may be certain nuances to ski pole sizing that you should consider:
- Alpine Skiing: If you’re primarily skiing on groomed runs and carving turns, longer ski poles can be beneficial for maintaining stability at higher speeds. Measure to the bottom of your shoulder blades.
- Cross-Country Skiing: Since cross-country skiing involves more pushing off with the poles rather than relying on them for balance, it’s best to choose shorter ski poles that reach just above your armpit. This allows for a quicker swing and easier maneuverability.
- Powder Skiing: For off-piste adventures in deep snow, opt for longer ski poles that allow you to pole plant deeper into the powder for added support and control.
How to Test Your Ski Pole Size
The best way to determine the proper ski pole size is by actually testing out different lengths while skiing. However, if you don’t have access to multiple pairs of poles or aren’t confident in your ability to judge their effectiveness on the slopes, there are a few basic tests you can do at home:
- Hold the ski poles upside down with your hands below the baskets. With your arms straight at your sides, make sure the angle between your elbows and wrists is roughly 90 degrees.
- If possible, head to a flat area such as a gentle slope or hallway, and simulate turns and pole plants while holding the ski poles at various lengths to see which feels most comfortable and balanced.
- Pay attention to any numbness or discomfort in your arms and wrists after several hours of skiing with a particular set of poles – this is often an indication that they are either too long or too short for your body type.
By taking the time to consider your personal preferences, skiing style, and body measurements, you can find the perfect ski poles that will keep you safe and perform at your best on the slopes.
Factors That Affect Ski Pole Size
If you want to become a successful skier or just love skiing, it is crucial to get the right ski equipment like poles that match your height, weight, and skiing style. The size of the ski pole is significant because it can affect your balance, stability, and control while skiing. There are several factors that determine what size ski poles suit you best.
Height and Weight
Your height and weight play a fundamental role in determining the ideal length of your ski poles. According to experts, taller individuals need longer poles than shorter people. As a rule of thumb, if you stand straight up with your arm down along your side, the pole should be at an angle where your forearm is parallel to the ground when held vertical. You could also select a pole length that stands between your chin and shoulder for beginners.
In addition to height, your weight is another essential factor that affects the length of your ski poles. Heavier people require longer poles compared to lightweight individuals. This is because more massive skiers have a wider stance that needs more support from the poles to maintain good balance during turns.
Skiing Style and Terrain
The type of terrain you are skiing on will dictate the pole size required. If you’re an alpine/race/carving skier who loves steep slopes, then shorter poles work better as they allow quicker reactions. Shorter poles make it easier for carving turns in racers as they don’t hit edges. On the other hand, if you are freestyle or all-mountain skier going off-piste, longer poles aid in creating new paths through deep snow, helping stay upright when skiing moguls.
When selecting poles according to skiing style, check whether most of your time spent requires sharp turns and quick movement or in straight running. The poles’ size you’d choose then needs to be relative to your skiing stance’s shape, inclination, and motion.
Your level of experience as a skier can impact the length of your ski poles. Beginners tend to use longer poles for supporting their weight and balance while taking wide-range turns (more surface area on ground). However, with experience gained over time, one can have shorter poles according to their comfort and desired style that matches carving small-radius turns effectively.
If you’re new to skiing and unsure about what pole size to look for, take the guidance of someone who is experienced or rent a few different sizes to find which suits you best before purchasing.
Ski Pole Material
The material construction of the ski poles also matters when choosing an appropriate dimension. Ski poles are predominantly made from two materials- Aluminium or Carbon fibre/Composite. Aluminium models give more strength and durability but weigh more than carbon ones. In comparison, carbon-fibre composite poles make them lighter and more flexible, suitable for all-level skiers. These materials influence your purchase decision based on intended budget and specific requirements.
“As equipment gets better and athletes continue to improve, knowledge of the sport has grown dramatically—not just in technique but in equipment technology too.” – Bode Miller
Several factors determine how long the perfect ski pole should be. These include height, weight, skill levels, terrain type, and material composition used in constructing it. As such, get professional advice or try testing various lengths yourself to see which sets work best to suit your skiing preferences, skills, and physical attributes. Happy skiing!
Measuring Tips for the Perfect Fit
How to Measure for Ski Poles
When it comes to skiing, getting the correct gear is crucial. This includes your ski poles. Measuring for ski poles is relatively straightforward and can help ensure a more comfortable and efficient time on the slopes. To measure ski pole length, stand straight with your arms down at your sides and bend your elbows at 90-degree angles so that your forearms are parallel to the ground.
Next, have someone measure from the ground to where your hands meet the bent elbow. The number in centimeters is the size of the pole you need. It’s important to note that some people prefer shorter or longer poles depending on their skiing style or type of terrain they will be skiing on.
“Ski poles are an essential tool for any skier looking to improve balance, power, and control while skiing.” -Evo.com
Using Charts and Tables for Sizing
If you don’t have someone to measure you, many ski pole manufacturers offer sizing charts online that can be used as a guide. These charts usually recommend sizes based on height, weight, and level of ability. However, these charts aren’t always perfect since everyone has unique body proportions and preferences.
Another way to determine the best size for your ski poles is to refer to a ski pole size table. These tables typically suggest ranges depending on what activity you’ll be doing: downhill skiing, freestyle skiing, backcountry skiing, etc. Consult with a local sports store professional if you’re unsure about using charts or tables to select your pole size.
“The most obvious benefit of properly sized ski poles is helping you feel balanced during turns; when the poles are the right length, they should feel like a natural extension of your arms.” -Ski Magazine
Adjusting Pole Length for Different Terrain
While having the appropriate ski pole size is important, some skiers choose to adjust their poles’ length depending on the terrain they’ll be skiing on. For example, shorter poles may be more efficient in moguls or areas with tight trees where quick and abrupt movements are necessary. On groomed runs or backcountry expeditions, longer poles can provide added stability and support.
To change the size of your ski poles, loosen the adjustable clasp near the basket on the bottom of the pole shaft. You can then slide the grip up or down. When you’ve reached your desired length, tighten the clamp again.
“The right ski pole height will help you stay balanced and control speed; if you’re leaning too far forward or backward (or too low or high), it’s difficult to recover from turns and maintain momentum.” -REI
Trying Out Different Poles in Person
Unless you’re buying online, it’s advisable to try on different ski poles before purchasing them. Make sure that the grips feel comfortable and secure in your hands, and consider whether straps or lack thereof will work better based on your level of comfort and dexterity. It’s also essential to factor in weight and durability when selecting ski-poles that meet your needs.
If possible, take a few practice swings to test how the different pole lengths feel in action. Doing so will help you determine what feels most comfortable and which pole-length will allow you to perform at an optimal level on the slopes.
“Investing time in finding a well-fitting pair of ski poles can make all the difference in getting the most out of your ski days.” -Skis.com
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Ski Poles
Ignoring Height and Weight Guidelines
When it comes to choosing the right size ski poles, your height and weight should be at the top of your consideration list. Ignoring these guidelines could lead to discomfort or even injury.
If you choose ski poles that are too short for your height, you will end up having to bend over more, causing stress on your back and shoulders. This can ultimately affect your skiing stance and performance on the slopes. Similarly, if you pick poles that are too long, your arms will have to stretch excessively, exerting pressure on the ligaments in your elbows.
You must also consider your weight when picking ski poles because heavier skiers need longer poles to withstand the extra force they generate while skiing down steep slopes. Conversely, lighter skiers would do better with shorter poles as their body weight may not provide enough leverage for longer poles.
Choosing the Wrong Material
Ski poles come in a range of materials including aluminum, carbon fiber, composite and fiberglass. The choice of what material to use may seem irrelevant, but this decision can directly impact your comfort, strength and balance on the slopes.
Aluminum poles offer high durability and affordability, which makes them an excellent option for beginners who may want to replace them eventually as they advance their skills and preferences. On the other hand, carbon-fiber ski poles are lightweight and flexible, a desirable feature for experienced skiers seeking equipment that offers high performance and minimal vibration during downhill runs. Composite poles and fiberglass options lie somewhere between the two making them decent choices for advanced-intermediate skiers wanting affordable yet performant pole options.
No matter what type you choose, make sure to examine each one closely before buying so that you can ensure it’s sturdy and comfortable.
Buying Based Solely on Appearance
Picking ski poles based solely on appearance is a common mistake beginner to intermediate skiers make. While aesthetics certainly come into play, solely focusing on the way your ski-poles look can lead to poor functionality, discomfort or even injury on the slopes.
Remember, skiing is a demanding physical sport that requires properly designed equipment for optimal performance. Hence, when purchasing ski poles, consider factors such as weight, height, material composition before considering their color, logo, or graphics.
“The wrong set of poles could be an awful lot like playing golf with an ill-suited club” – Ben Schott
Ben Schott’s observation highlights precisely why making sure that you choose the right ski poles based on real functional properties must come first.
Ski poles are a critical part of your gear when skiing; hence, taking time to evaluate all aspects will ultimately lead to much better results. Ensure you avoid these common mistakes in choosing ski poles so that you can feel confident and perform well while on the slopes.
Adjustable vs. Fixed Ski Poles: Which is Right for You?
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Adjustable Poles
If you’re a skier who likes to switch between different types of terrain, adjustable ski poles might be the way to go. These poles can be lengthened or shortened depending on whether you’re skiing down a steep slope or gliding across flat terrain.
One benefit of adjustable ski poles is that they can grow with you as you improve your skills and gain more experience. This means you won’t have to continually purchase new poles as you progress in your skiing abilities.
“Adjustable poles are great because they allow you to adapt to changing conditions, but they also require additional maintenance and upkeep.” -Ski Magazine
Adjustable poles do come with some drawbacks. For instance, they tend to be heavier than fixed ski poles due to their added parts and adjustability feature. They may also not be as durable as fixed poles since there are more components that could malfunction during use.
When Fixed Poles Are the Best Choice
If you prefer to stick to one type of skiing terrain, spending money on a pair of adjustable poles may not be worth it. Instead, fixed poles might be a better fit so you can customize them to your height and preferred pole length.
Another plus side to fixed ski poles is that they tend to be lighter weight than their adjustable counterparts. This is especially advantageous if you’re racing or trying to shave off seconds from your ski time.
“Fixed poles provide consistency and reliability, which are key elements in any successful athlete’s equipment.” -Snowsports Industries America
That being said, fixed ski poles won’t last forever. Over time, they may start to wear down and lose their stiffness, which can make skiing more difficult. When this happens, it’s time to invest in a new pair.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Adjustable and Fixed Poles
So, how do you decide which type of ski pole is right for you? There are several factors you should consider before making your purchase:
- Your skiing ability and experience level
- The types of terrain you typically ski on
- Your budget and willingness to spend money on higher-end gear
- Your personal preferences when it comes to weight, adjustability, and durability
Once you’ve thought through these elements, it’ll be easier to choose between adjustable and fixed poles. And remember – there’s no wrong answer! It all depends on what makes the most sense for you and your unique skiing style.
Top Ski Pole Brands and Their Sizing Recommendations
When it comes to choosing the right size ski poles, Salomon has some useful recommendations. Firstly, your pole length should be determined based on your height. To get an accurate measure, stand up straight with your shoes off and hold the poles upside down beneath the basket. Your elbows should be bent at a 90-degree angle. If they are not, adjust the pole according to its specific sizing chart.
The ideal pole length also depends on what type of skiing you are doing. For example, if you’re downhill skiing, the pole should reach your armpit level. However, if you’re cross-country skiing, the pole should only be about chin level. Finally, always check that the strap is snug but not too tight around your wrist before hitting the slopes.
No two skiers are built exactly the same which is why Leki offers several types of pole grips and straps to choose from. The most common grip is the traditional diamond shape made out of plastic or rubber. This style provides skiers with a comfortable fit and good support for their hands.
On the other hand, Leki’s trigger system uses an ergonomic grip design connected to adjustable straps that easily release in the event of a fall. This safety feature can help prevent injuries such as sprained wrists, since the pole detaches immediately when twisted suddenly during a crash. The company even claims: “No gloves necessary – never lose your poles again!”
In terms of sizing, Leki recommends generally measuring the distance from your elbow to the floor using centimeters. From there, consult the sizing chart provided by the brand which will suggest a suitable pole length range. It is important to note that these measurements are just guidelines, and individual preferences may differ based on skier height, weight, ability level, and style of skiing.
“Fitting a good pair of ski poles makes such a difference to your performance” – Telegraph Ski & Snowboard
Both Salomon and Leki are renowned brands within the ski industry known for their innovative designs and high-quality products. By following these recommended sizing strategies from each respective company, skiers can get one step closer to maximizing their potential both on- and off-piste!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the proper length for ski poles?
The proper length for ski poles depends on your height, skiing ability, and personal preference. Generally, the poles should be between your armpits and shoulders when standing upright with your skis on. However, if you are a beginner, shorter poles may be easier to handle.
How do I determine the correct size of ski poles?
To determine the correct size of ski poles, measure your height in inches and multiply it by 0.7. Round the result to the nearest whole number. This will give you an estimate of the pole length in centimeters. However, keep in mind that personal preference and skiing ability can also affect the pole length.
What are the advantages of using shorter ski poles?
Shorter ski poles can be easier to handle, especially for beginners or for those skiing in tight spaces. They also allow for a more upright stance, which can be less tiring on the arms and shoulders. Additionally, shorter poles are lighter, which can be beneficial for skiers who prefer a more nimble feel.
What are the disadvantages of using longer ski poles?
Longer ski poles can be more difficult to handle, especially for beginners or for those skiing in tight spaces. They can also put more strain on the arms and shoulders, as they require a more forward-leaning stance. Additionally, longer poles are heavier, which can be challenging for skiers who prefer a more nimble feel.
What should I consider when choosing between adjustable and fixed-length ski poles?
When choosing between adjustable and fixed-length ski poles, consider your skiing ability, the type of terrain you will be skiing on, and your personal preference. Adjustable poles can be more versatile, as they can be adjusted for different terrain and snow conditions. However, fixed-length poles are more durable and can provide a more stable feel.
What size ski poles should I get if I am a beginner?
If you are a beginner, shorter ski poles may be easier to handle. Aim for poles that reach between your armpits and shoulders when standing upright with your skis on. As you gain experience and improve your technique, you may want to experiment with longer poles to see what feels best for you.