Ski Poles Buying GuideSki Poles Buying Guide

Ski Poles Buying Guide

Ski poles are a vital piece of equipment, helping to provide stability, balance, traction and add style to your skiing.

Your choice of poles depends on several factors, including your terrain, discipline and budget and with specific designs for all-mountain, freestyle, backcountry and racing, it's important to understand the components to select the correct one for optimal comfort and performance.

Once you're clued up, head this way to choose your ski poles!

Ski Pole Features


Dual density handles tend to be more comfortable as they can feel slightly softer and normally grip better. Mono-material handles will be cheaper but won't feel as comfortable. Women's-specific poles sometimes use a smaller handle.

Walking Pole HandleWalking Pole Handle


Cheaper poles will use a simple system of nylon strap and pull-through locking system, this is easy to use and very effective. Wider straps may feel more comfortable, though the very best versions will use padding, and/or Velcro closure systems, and auto-release systems to prevent the risk of injury.

Ski Pole StrapSki Pole Strap


The shaft can be made from aluminium or a composite material. The higher the number of the aluminium the better grade, meaning it has a better strength to weight ratio (7075 being the highest) but it will be more expensive. Some women's-specific poles will use a narrower diameter to reduce weight. Composite shafts are lighter and narrower than aluminium and have more flex, meaning they can withstand bangs and crashes better.

Ski Pole ShaftSki Pole Shaft


Wide powder baskets will not sink in soft snow as much as a narrower one, so choose a pole with a big basket if you intend to ski off-piste. Narrower baskets suit piste skiing and park use. Some poles will come with 2 sets of baskets so you can swap from piste to powder without compromising.

Ski Pole BasketSki Pole Basket


Most tips will be made of steel to provide good 'bite' on hard snow and strength to withstand knocks and bangs. Carbon-based tips are more expensive but will cut into firm snow exceptionally well.

Ski Pole TipSki Pole Tip

Ski Pole Sizing

Ski poles are sold in increments of 5cm to provide a perfect fit for all heights, and some offer length adjustment. Some skiers might prefer lengths above or below the usual recommendation, but we suggest using the below method to ensure your ski poles are comfortable.

How to determine correct ski pole length

  • Position your elbow next to your side and bend your forearm 90° so that it is parallel to the ground.
  • Take the ski pole and turn it upside down, putting the handle on the floor.
  • With the ski pole vertical, position your hand under the basket.
  • If it is the correct size your forearm will still be parallel to the ground.

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