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Ski poles are an essential accessory for downhill skiers. These handy poles help you to make agile turns on your way down the slopes. At the same time, they provide additional stability and balance so you can enjoy faster speeds and fewer falls. Trying to buy ski poles can be a bit overwhelming since there are countless options to choose from. To make sure you get the right pair, use this guide for buying ski poles from Freestyle Ski & Board Shop.

Step 1: Compare Different Types of Ski Poles

Alpine skiers can choose from a wide variety of ski pole styles. While most skiers use all-mountain poles, you may need specialty poles for certain skiing adventures. Check out these details to figure out which one is the best fit for your needs:

  • All-mountain ski poles: This is the most common type of skiing pole. It can be used by skiers of all ages and abilities and is suited to most types of downhill skiing. 
  • Backcountry ski poles: These poles are often adjustable in length to accommodate various backcountry skiing conditions. Some also come with extra accessories for navigating the terrain, such as an inclinometer or an ice ax.
  • Freestyle ski poles: Freestyle poles maximize maneuverability by featuring a shorter length that won’t get in the way when completing certain tricks and jumps. The smaller grips are also easier to keep a tight grip on during these maneuvers.
  • Racing ski poles:Race poles tend to feature the strongest and most durable materials since they need to withstand high speeds and tight turns. Some of these poles are also shaped to be more aerodynamic to achieve faster times on racing runs.

Step 2: Decide Which Shaft Material You Prefer

It’s important to distinguish between the many options available for ski pole shaft materials. In some cases, a specific type of material will provide an improved performance on the slopes. The following materials are the ones most commonly used to construct ski poles:

  • Aluminum: This material is a bit heavier and stiffer compared to other options, but it’s also more affordable. It’s a popular choice for beginner ski poles.
  • High-Grade Aluminum:This upgraded aluminum material has the slightly heavier and stiffer feel of regular aluminum, but it offers added durability. 
  • Carbon: Advanced and expert ski poles are often made with carbon. It’s strong like high-grade aluminum, but it offers much more flexibility and a lighter weight. 
  • Composite:These poles have a mix of materials that offer superior flexibility and durability compared to aluminum designs.

Step 3: Get the Right Ski Pole Fit

Getting the correct length is critical when choosing ski poles. Unless you need a shorter style for freestyle skiing, you’ll want to test the length of the pole by placing it upside down with the grips touching the floor. When you grab the pole just underneath the basket, your elbow should be at a 90-degree angle. You can also use the following chart to find the right ski pole size:

Height

Pole Length

<3’4”

32”<

3'5"- 3'8"

34”

3'9"- 4'0"

36”

4'1"- 4'4"

38”

4'5"-4'8"

40”

4'9"-5'0"

42”

5'1"- 5'3"

44”

5'4"- 5'6"

46”

5'7"- 5'9"

48”

5'10"- 6'0"

49”

6'1"- 6'3"

52”

6'4"- 6'6"

54”

6'7"+

56”

Step 4: Consider Additional Features

Here are a few more features to think about as you select your ski poles:

  • Wrist strap: Make sure your hand can fit through the strap while wearing your ski gloves.
  • Basket:Smaller baskets are better for groomed runs and packed snow, while bigger baskets are needed in powder conditions.
  • Telescoping: Ski mountaineers often use telescoping ski poles for added maneuverability in different conditions and terrain.

Use this guide to find the right ski poles for your next downhill adventure. For any other skiing gear you might need, Freestyle is a one-stop shop.

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