Everything You Need to Know About Ski Poles

Jul 09, 2021

Skiing is a skill that comes with no perfect success formula; each one requires developing his/her own set of tricks to master this art practiced in the white snow. While the modern type of skiing comes with its own set of accessories and gadgets to help ease the learning process, no two skiing experiences are equal.

One such skiing accessory is a ski pole. The best pair of ski poles helps improve the overall performance while allowing you to have an enjoyable and responsive skiing experience. However, keep in mind that the options for sizing can actually vary from person to person. You need to determine whether the ski pole is too heavy, too long, or too light for your skiing trip. If you get yourself a ski pole too long, you will definitely trip yourself, or if you get a ski pole way too short, you throw yourself off balance during the turns.

Racing tracks, slopes, snow parks, or hiking terrains, each come with their very own set of ski poles! These poles allow you a chance to climb or achieve perfect turns as you maintain stability throughout the skiing session. Many skiers tend to overlook the requirement for ski poles and fail to address its true value.

Here in this guide, we help you understand what goes into the best ski poles and how you can use them to perfect skiing.

What is the use of Ski Poles?

Let's make one thing absolutely clear. It is true that you can ski without the use of poles. However, when used properly, ski poles help improve your skiing skills while helping you time the turns perfectly. For new skiers, the instructors can often take away these ski poles to help you get comfortable with skiing without the same.

New skiers make the mistake of relying too much on the poles. They often mistake them as instruments which support the weight of the body when skiing. However, skiing poles are merely an assistant that aid you in keeping the balance for steep terrains.

Here are some of the noted uses of Ski Poles:

  • Keep up the balance on any steep slope
  • Provide proper propulsion on flat surfaces
  • Taking off the ski boots with no need to bend
  • Create a rhythm when taking parallel turns
  • Help you take off after a  sudden fall

Ski Poles: What they don't do?

Ski poles should never be used for:

  • Support the bodyweight
  • Drag it along when skiing
  • Poke the fellow snowboarders

What is the perfect way to hold the Ski Poles?

While Ski Poles can look easy to master, you need to follow the basics of holding the ski poles.

  • Put the hands through the strap loop fixed at the top portion of the pole and let the remaining portion rest over the snow in a vertical position.
  • Now, place the hand atop the grip situated towards the strap's end.

How can you size your ski pole?

The ski poles while resting atop the snow which hands gripped all around should sit in a comfortable format with a 90-degree relaxation angle. If your pole is way too big, it will hamper your skiing skills by getting in the way. With every pole plant, you might have to lift it back up. It can be a lot of effort. On the other hand, a pole too short might not provide proper reach for the plants.

The best way to size the pole according to your requirements include:

  • Put the elbow towards your side & bend the forearm around 90 degrees to make sure its parallel to the ground.
  • Take your ski pole & turn the same upside down, while the handle is towards the floor.
  • Put the hand under your ski pole's basket while it stands vertically.
  • Your forearm needs to be parallel with the ground for the perfect fit.

Longer ski poles are good for:

  • Turning and pole planting
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Transversing flats

Shorter Poles for skiing are good for:

  • Mogul Skiing
  • Deep Snow
  • Terrain Jumps and Parks

What is Pole Planting?

Pole planting shall give you another dimension when it comes to skiing. The process of pole planting can be useful for steeper slopes, bumps, as well as the slippery mountain terrains.

  • Arm Position: Keep the arms up-front as well as away from your body while maintaining a relaxed and comfortable distance. You do not need to wave or extend the arms completely, but one should opt for a position which helps with the relaxed movement of wrists.
  • Timing: As you spring out from the completion of your first turn, make sure you bring the pole forward & place it towards the front side to make your upcoming turn. Flick the pole into the white snow but do not place your weight on it.

Size Chart for Ski Poles

Skier’s Height Pole Length
Centimeters Feet Centimeters Inches
<101 <3'4" 80 32
104-112 3'5"-3'8" 85 34
114-122 3'9"-4'0" 90 36
125-132 4'1"-4'4" 95 38
135-142 4'5"-4'8" 100 40
145-152 4'9"-5'0" 105 42
155-160 5'1"-5'3" 110 44
163-168 5'4"-5'6" 115 46
170-175 5'7"-5'9" 120 48
178-183 5'10"-6'0" 125 50
186-190 6'1"-6'3" 130 52
>193 >6'4" 135+ 54+

Popular Variants of Ski Poles

Now that you understand the basics of ski poles, here is a list of the common variants for ski poles.

  • Alpine Ski Poles: Most skiers tend to use the Alpine Ski Poles. It is best suited for the commonly frequented resort skiing. These variants of best ski poles are known to be straight with comfy grip combined with normal-sized basket.
  • Backcountry and Powder Ski Poles: These variants of the ski poles serve better for the soft powdery form of snow. They come with a larger basket that aids in better floating and preventing the ski pole from getting jammed into the snow. These shafts are mostly thicker & stronger as compared to alpine poles. It helps avoid the wearing and tearing that occurs due to rocks present in the snow. Some of these models are designed to be adjustable to fit in easily inside the backpack when not being used. The Off-Piste Skiers tend to use shorter poles in order to reduce excess weight while performing better inside the deeper snow, which sits closer towards the tip.
  • Ski Poles for Race: The ski poles designed for racing tend to be rather lighter, aerodynamic, as well as expensive. They help reduce the drag while increasing the speed of the skiers.
  • Park and Freestyle Poles: Park poles tend to be thinner as well as shorter while most skiers might go out without it.

Features of Ski Poles

  • Ski Baskets: The baskets in Ski Poles are petal-shaped disks located at the ski's bottom. It has been designed to stop the ski poles from digging too deep inside the snow. Just as a snowshoe, larger surface areas help keep the pole on the top half of the snow. Backcountry or Off-Piste skiers tend to benefit from larger baskets with deeper snow.
  • Straps: The straps in these ski poles are attached just above grips & one can loop the same around the wrists to cater a rather supported grip. It helps keep the poles handy when you release the grip accidentally.
  • Grips: A grip is located at the top section of your pole, which is shaped ergonomically for added grip and comfort. It can be constructed from cork or plastic. A grip that is designed with the use of two materials is comfier to hold on to. Women's poles tend to have smaller grips designed for smaller hands.
  • Tips: Best ski poles tips tend to be made from proper steel which caters a sense of rigidity. It also provides a sharper bite right into the interior of the snow while easily withstanding normal wear & tear.

Difference between Women's and Men's poles

When it comes to the difference between men's ski poles and women's ski poles, there isn't much to talk about. The difference is just with the choice to look and graphics. Another known difference is the fact that women's poles tend to be decked with smaller grips designed to aid smaller hands.

How much should you spend on the ski poles?

You can acquire a decent version of ski pole for a price tag less than $100 when it comes to recreational use. General ski poles under the price tag of $50 are fine for novice skiers. Poles within the range of $150+ shall be tougher, lighter, hardwearing straps, and comfortable grips.

If you are planning a backcountry skiing trip, you need to search for adjustable ski poles that tend to be collapsible. It makes carrying the best ski poles an easier task. However, you can easily set the same at different heights that work better in deeper snow as well as hiking.

5 Best Ski Poles Review

Now that you understand the basics of ski poles, here is a guide to the best ski poles you can buy from e-commerce websites such as Amazon and get them delivered right at your home.

1. Leki Stealth S Ski Pole

Leki Stealth S Ski Pole

Are you in need of an urgent upgrade to your existing ski poles? The Leki Stealth S Ski Pole comes with added safety features & skiing capability that had been designed for any variant of terrains. The ski accessory makers, Leki, have introduced this particular variant of ski pole with the aluminum shaft that is economy-grade to keep the expenses down when plugging into the frame for trigger grip.

What is so special about this?

It suggests that you get to keep the poles linked with your wrists without actually worrying about injuries. The ski poles have a binding-like system for tension release aids in better support.


  • Perfect Fit
  • Easy Click-In & Out Facility
  • 360 Degree Comfort


  • Pricier as compared to similar makers
  • Lacks the weightless feel
  • Tends to bend with more pressure

2. Black Diamond Razor Carbon Ski Pole

Black Diamond Razor Carbon Ski Pole

Black Diamond is yet another variant of ski poles that come with lightweight touring benefits. The pole flaunts an adjustable length with the flick-lock system which is designed specifically for skiing and touring the backcountry snow. Packed with a 4” sized powder basket this particular ski pole is dedicated to the backcountry skiing process, especially when the snow gets deeper.
The best ski poles brand such as Black Diamond craft ski poles that are sturdy and last for a long time. This particular variant is crafted with carbon fiber in the bottom part. It means that the pressure applied on the ski pole is distributed evenly without the need for extra effort as you ski through the snowy terrains. This particular Ski Pole is great for someone who loves to explore the backcountry terrains. You can buy these ski poles from Amazon at reasonable prices.


  • Lighter than complete aluminum poles
  • Doesn't bend easily


  • Grip extensions tend to slide off
  • Prone to breakage under heavy pressure

3. Zipline Carbon Composite Ski Pole (Lollipop)

Zipline Carbon Composite Ski Pole

Known for its unique name Zipline Lollipop, these graphite composite poles come as an amazing accessory for advanced skiers. If you are looking for something that will stay by your side for long, the Zipline Carbon Composite Ski Pole is accessible at a bargain price. These particular ski poles are available at half the price tag of any similarly constructed ski pole.

The Lollipop ski pole is 14mm standard size with more flexibility than similar competitors. Being a carbon composite ski pole, these ski accessories are lighter with better capability in terms of shock absorption. They are way better than ski poles made up of aluminum. In terms of grip, these ski poles have a comfortable formation that is smooth yet sturdy to hold. If you are an intermediate skier in need of a high-performance ski pole, the Lollipop Ski Pole should serve you well.  You can buy these ski poles from Amazon at affordable prices.


  • Specially designed grip technology
  • Composite technology helps avoid breakage or bending
  • Adjustable strap
  • Multiple size options


  • Colors come off after a few years of use
  • Non-removable baskets
  • Tips tend to break post heavy use

4. Rossignol Tactic Ski Poles Pro Carbon

Rossignol Tactic Ski Poles Pro Carbon

If you are looking for the best ski poles for recreational skiing, the Rossi has been constructed to last for years to come. These poles come as the best-valued poles with carbon fiber. They are the perfect bargain ski poles with quality that surely surpasses the price tag.

The ski product manufacturer, Rossignol, is known for constructing affordable yet high-quality ski poles for the general skiers. They are effectively inexpensive and very reliable. While they aren't as light as you would want them to be, they gel well with you in time.


  • Comfortable grip
  • Adjustable strap
  • Lightweight shaft


  • Hand straps tend to run small
  • Not designed for advanced skiers
  • Poles bend after substantial use

5. Winget Fiber Ski Poles Carbon-Alpine Terrains

 Winget Fiber Ski Poles Carbon-Alpine Terrains

While you might not get access to these ski poles at local shops, you can get the ski poles from Amazon. The Winget Carbon Ski Pole is insanely affordable when it comes to a carbon fiber-based lightweight alpine pole. The presence of steel tips & removable baskets helps you utilize these poles regardless of the condition.

The shaft of this ski pole is constructed with 80 percent carbon fiber and guarantees lighter hold at budget prices. Available between the lengths of 105cm and 130cm, it can easily fit the needs for most skiers.


  • Reliable and large grip
  • Removable variant of ski baskets
  • Durable steel tip


  • Hand straps might come off
  • Not designed for the freestyle-variant of skiing
  • Sizes below 105 cm unavailable


The beauty and utility of ski poles are hard to miss. A perfect pair of long-lasting ski poles aids a skier with multiple purposes. Picking the best ski poles involves finding the exact combination of construction and features that suit your individual skiing style & the terrains involved. Whether you need one for backcountry terrains or simple yet beautiful terrain parks, sturdy and well-designed ski poles will definitely get you places.

Author Information


About the Author a professional content writer and freelance journalist, Sapphire knows the dos and don’ts of jotting down the perfect articles for the readers.

She has completed her post-graduation in journalism from a reputed university and aims to become an established writer with her own book published with a reputable publisher. Apart from writing as a passion, she is also a skiing and snowboarding enthusiast.

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