Winter is coming which means ski season is barely a few months away. This is the time of the year when you must start preparing yourself for the slopes, so that there is no rush and urgent purchases at the last minute. One of the most underrated of ski equipments are the ski poles. Not only do they help you maneuver on the slopes while you swish down, they also help you when propel along flat sections in your trail and can act as a support when you stand in a queue while waiting for a hot cup of coffee or a chair lift at the ski resort.
A ski pole makes skiing safe, enjoyable and gives confidence to someone who may be skiing for the first time. The key is to find a ski pole that matches your height, your ski style and the type of snow you plan to ski in. Here is a list of the 11 best ski poles of 2020 that will take your skiing experience to the next level.
11 Best Ski Poles Of 2020
The Lucky Bums Kids Beginner Ski And Pole Set With Bindings in blue is perfect for beginners under the age of 4. The rugged design of the ski and poles allows for flexibility in every way and lets the heel be lifted when skiing so that your little one doesn’t fall over. The bottom of the skis includes scales so that traction is enabled in the snow. The skis are 70 cm long and made out of plastic so that your kid’s introduction to snow skiing is absolutely safe and full of fun. The kids ski poles are also safe and injury-proof letting your kids play while they learn without the fear of getting hurt thanks to the rounded edges of the pole.
- Includes ski as well as pole.
- Includes adjustable bindings.
- Safe for kids with no metallic edges and tips.
- Can be worn with regular shoes or winter boots.
- Lifetime warranty against any defect in material and workmanship.
- The skis may not fit kids that are bigger for the age of 4.
The Salomon Arctic 110 in blue is a lightweight ski pole made using aluminum of the highest quality as a result of which the pole is strong yet light. The aluminum content in the ski pole offers strength to the pole yet lets it be stiff so that the ski pole can last for many years. The strap used on this ski pole is of standard quality and also features a standard shaped tip. The shaft diameter is 18 mm making it comfortable to use in flats as well as on uphill and downhill slopes. These ski poles can be color matched with skis by Salomen so that you not only have fun on the slopes but also look fashionable while doing it.
- The ski poles weigh only 100 grams.
- Features bi-material all mountain grip.
- Includes an all-mountain basket.
- The ski pole may tend to bend easily.
The Zipline Ski Poles in Black Liquorice are made by the brand which is the official supplier to the US ski team. One of the best ski poles available, these can be used as racing ski poles as well as ski poles for beginners. Designed to suit skiers with different abilities, Zipline poles are used by gold medalist David Wise as well as by other world cup and Olympic athletes. These ski poles are 14 mm wide and have been created for someone who skis in the park and pipe or is a free skier. Super light and easy to use, the graphite carbon composite technology makes these ski poles very durable. These ski poles have reduced vibration each time you plant it and offer an effortless swing weight. The featured zip touch dual density grip gives better control and includes thermoplastic that can contour to the shape of your hand and does not allow the gloves to slip.
- Features streamlined zip straps that adjust easily on the fly and provide the perfect fit without any plastic buckles.
- Includes tough and sharp carbide zip tips.
- Sharp teeth at the bottom lts you plant the pole precisely and offers secured grip in any type of snow.
- The pole strap may be weakly attached to the pole.
The Atomic AMT Ski Poles in silver/black are made using a special 3-aluminum pole technology that makes the shaft strong and prevents it from breaking and lets it survive only with minor scratches. The basket is a 60 mm piste basket which is also removable that lets you attach your own powder basket from another pair if you need to. This means you can use this pole in different types of snow without worrying that the shaft will sink in. The shape of the handles also offers added support and lets you maneuver through the slopes without feeling any additional pain in your thumb and fingers.
- Includes a secure scrap of standard quality.
- Features an ergonomically designed standard grip.
- Includes a steel tip for added strength and durability.
- The ski poles are not available in any other color.
The WhiSki Poles in neon green are more than just a ski pole that offers high performance. This multi-purpose pole includes an integrated flask in its cavity all the way from the top to the bottom. All you need to do is unscrew the top of the pole and enjoy a beverage without even taking your gloves off! These all mountain ski poles have a patent pending and are light, strong yet comfortable to ski with. These ski poles include a standard handle and a proprietary screw off cap that can be opened using any type of glove, so you can take the edge off after conquering a dangerous slope. The cap also includes a cap strap which means you will never drop your cap in the snow. Talk about a well thought design!
- Can hold liquid up to one pint per pole.
- Made using strong and light aluminum of aircraft grade – ALU 7075.
- Diameter of the ski pole is 18 mm
- Features additional swing weight for better control and safety.
- Includes a complimentary collapsible funnel.
- The poles may be filled with marketing slogans on them
The WINGET Carbon Fiber Mountain Alpine Ski Poles are light but very portable and sturdy ski poles with a shaft diameter of 10.4 mm and a length of 1300 mm. The material and finish of the ski pole makes it ideal for use in winter and can be used by professionals as well as skiers who are just beginning to train with ski poles. The straps in the ski pole offer a comfortable grip and easy handling so that your wrist and fingers do not suffer any extra strain. The tip of the shaft is made using anti-wear and tear manganese which means the ski pole will last you multiple seasons. The mud basket is also removable so that you can use the ski pole in all types of snow and terrain.
- Features a plastic basket
- Includes woven nylon wrist straps.
- Made using 80% carbon and 20% glass.
- Tip is made using alloy while the tip protector is made of plastic.
- The wicket may break if used very regularly..
The Rossignol SnowFlake Ski Poles For Women in white/silver are the prettiest women’s ski poles you can find. Featuring snowflake graphics all across the ski poles any woman will really enjoy the skiing experience with such pretty poles to accessorize with. Apart from looking so cute, the ski poles are strong, durable and offer comfort to your dainty fingers. The basket size on this woman’s’ ski pole is 60 mm in size and the diameter of the pole is 16 mm which is an ideal size for women of all ages.
- Features a grip made of WMN mono-material
- Made using high quality aluminum for strength and resilience.
- Includes a steel tip to avoid the pole from getting wear at the bottom.
- Any scratch marks may be quickly visible because of the white color of the poles.
The WSD Ski Poles in black/silver are adjustable telescopic ski poles that are collapsible. This kids’ ski pole is perfect for downhill and alpine slopes and is lightweight so that your kids can use them with ease. This aluminum ski pole for juniors can grow in size as your child starts getting taller which means you don’t have to buy new ski poles every year to suit the change in their body. The ski poles feature great craftsmanship, superb performance in the snow and a cool design that is attractive for kids. The poles can collapse to be as short as 25 inches so that you can carry and store them easily. The grips on the ski poles are made to suit smaller hands and the poles also feature a quick-lock system that works effortlessly and lets you adjust the height in a fast and easy manner.
- Features a high strength to weight ratio.
- Includes nylon wrist strap which is adjustable to fit any size.
- Features one of the best pole locking mechanisms in the market.
- Includes screw-on baskets that can fit on poles ranging from 32 to 42 inches.
- The baskets on the pole are made of plastic, which may be weak.
The Swix Techlite Ski Poles are aluminum ski poles that offer superb performance. The alpine ski poles include baskets that are ready to use and work best for recreational skiing on well groomed slopes. The diameter of the ski pole is 18 mm at the handle and 10 mm at the ferrule. The poles also include additional clips that can clip the two poles together so that when you are walking around with the ski poles you are relaxed and not struggling to hold them in place.
- Light and responsive ski poles.
- Include adjustable wrist straps.
- Features a single density handle.
- The wrist straps may become loose over some time.
The K2 Power Alu Ski Pole is an aluminum ski pole which is lightweight and durable, fit for use by professionals as well as first timers. The baskets in the pole have extra notches that attach the two poles together which makes it easier to carry and store, so you no longer have to worry about holding two separate ski poles that may keep slipping away. This ergonomically designed ski pole features a 60 mm basket of standard type which can work in different snow conditions.
- The ski poles come with a one year warranty.
- Features a comfortable and ergonomic grip made of rubber.
- Intended use of the ski poles is for all types of mountain and snow.
- The ski pole may be made only keeping men in mind and women may find it uncomfortable to use.
The Black Diamond 140 cm Expedition 3 Ski Poles are 100% aluminum poles are four-season ski poles that offer foam-grip and aggressive hooking point so that you can manipulate buckles and bars with absolute ease. The ski poles measure 18 mm at the upper side, 16 mm in the middle and 14 mm at the bottom of the pole. The ski poles also feature ergonomically designed straps that are comfortable enough for use with or without gloves making sure your fingers and wrist is safe. The ski poles also include an adjustable wrist strap that has foam grip which offers multiple angles of use.
- Includes trekking attachments
- Features a dual flick adjustability.
- Includes powder baskets that are 100 mm in size.
- Collapsible length is 24 inches.
- The brand logo may be printed along the ski pole.
Now that we have seen the 11 best ski poles of 2020, here are a few important points to consider when choosing one for yourself.
How To Choose The Best Ski Poles?
Ski poles are often misunderstood as a tool among the arsenal that are used by a skier. While they are needed to move in an easier manner across flat surface areas, the best ski poles are those that let you control the timing and rhythm when you are backcountry skiing, especially in tight areas and moguls. Ski poles are needed the most when the turns have a very small radius and when you are skiing along steep hills. When ski poles are used by a seasoned skier, they are just a supplement to their already polished technique. Nevertheless, ski poles are essential for beginners as well, so that they get a hang of holding something in their hand which they will eventually need as they progress.
Ski Pole Shaft Materials
Ski poles are made in a variety of materials and each material has its own advantage and disadvantage.
Most of the ski poles available today have some amount of aluminum used in their construction. Aluminum ski poles are cheaper to manufacture, especially when a low grade aluminum alloy is used. Aluminum ski poles also have the ability to bend instead of snap that other ski poles often do, and even if the pole gets bent it can be brought almost back into its original straight shape. Aluminum comes in a variety of qualities and thicknesses and if the grade of aluminum is higher there will be more strength even in a lightweight ski pole which will feel light in your hands and also last longer.
- Carbon Fiber
Carbon fiber ski poles are high end and light weight, thanks to the weaving of the carbon fiber into the build. Carbon fiber ski poles are even lighter than aluminum ones and have a natural flex as opposed to stiffer alloy. While aluminum ski poles simply blend when under stress, carbon fiber ski poles have a tendency to splinter or break. If you are looking to ski at a terrain park or do a cliff drop, these ski poles will not work for you.
Fiberglass is the least popular material for making ski poles. There are a couple of primary constraints most importantly being lower durability. The only appeal of fiberglass ski poles is that it is even cheaper than carbon fiber ski poles, is lightweight and may also flex under pressure. The structural support of ski poles increases when it is blended with fiberglass. Hybrid ski poles that are made using aluminum and fiberglass are lightweight and do not compromise on durability.
The weight of a ski pole is one of the most essential factors to consider when choosing a ski pole. While the weight depends on the material used to make the ski pole, it still doesn’t mean that a carbon ski pole will be the lightest. The thickness of the shaft also determines the weight of the ski pole. However a very narrow ski pole in any material will have lower durability and stress tolerance because of which you must not always go for the lightest ski pole. When comparing two ski poles of the same material always check the width so that you end up with a ski pole that can withstand pressure.
Ski poles that are adjustable are used best when you are backcountry skiing. While you may need a shorter ski pole when going uphill, flat surface areas and downhill slopes require longer ski poles. You can use a single length ski pole if you wish provided it gives you the option to hold the pole at different lengths. One of the main disadvantages of a telescoping ski pole is that the clamp may not hold and it may collapse when planted. Make sure you go with a reputed brand that offers good locking mechanisms on the ski pole and always test to check the clamps are tightened before you head out on the slopes.
Parts Of A Ski Pole
It is essential that you are aware of the different parts of ski poles before you make a purchase.
There is so much variety when it comes to shapes and materials of ski poles, however, the selection of the ski pole often gets narrowed down to how the grip feels in your hands when you have gloves on. Plastic and rubber are the most common materials used for making grips as both do not absorb moisture. Between the two, rubber is more comfortable, and some ski poles even have dual-density foam on the inside for better comfort. Women’s’ ski poles have grips with a smaller C; however they may not work for all women, so be open to trying unisex poles as well.
Straps mainly exist to ensure that the ski poles are wrapped around your hand, and are made using nylon webbing which is pretty basic. The strap should be wide enough to let your ski gloves hold them and a ski pole with adjustable straps maybe more convenient. Padding may be available on some high-end models that can help racers or those who wear thinner gloves.
- Powder and Standard Baskets
All the best ski poles feature a circular basket made of plastic that is near the bottom of the pole which prevents it from sinking into the snow. These baskets can sometimes be made of aluminum as well and come in a variety of circumferences. They are divided into two main categories: standard and powder.
Powder baskets feature a larger surface area and can be anything between 90-100 millimeters depending on the model and brand. Standard baskets are also known as groomer or hardpack baskets and are featured mostly on poles that are meant for going downhill. They are also smaller in diameter. If you are planning to spend time skiing in different types of snow and terrain, ski poles with replaceable baskets may be a good option for you.
Ski poles can very rarely be upgraded hence you must know what your intended use with the ski pole is. Here is a list of the most common types of skiers and the ski poles that would suit them.
- Asual Groom Runs: You may require a ski pole made out of aluminum with a fixed length and standard baskets.
- Hard-Charging Groomers: You may need a ski pole made out of aluminum or carbon with a fixed length and standard baskets.
- Backcountry Touring: You may require an adjustable and lightweight ski pole made out of carbon fiber and featuring powder baskets.
- Mixed Snow Use: You may need a fixed size ski pole made out of aluminum or carbon with replaceable baskets.
- Terrain Park: A short length ski pole made out of strong aluminum with standard brakes will work best.
Types Of Ski Poles?
Ski Poles can be broken down into three main categories:
- General Use: Ski poles for general use feature small and standard baskets that can be used in all conditions but are best suited to use on groomers and in the moguls. These poles are great for recreational skiers because they are quite well rounded.
- Race Poles: Race poles often feature an asymmetrical design and also include shields so as to protect the hand from getting injured by race gates. Race poles are cool looking but also very expensive and definitely not needed by an average skier.
- Powder Poles: Powder poles are made using lightweight materials like carbon fiber and are best suited for backcountry skiing. They also have larger baskets so that you get the most amount of flotation in the powder.
Frequently Asked Questions
What materials are ski poles made of?
The most common materials used for making ski poles are aluminum and carbon, although bamboo made ski poles may also be available.
How do I size my ski poles?
To measure what ski pole size you need, make sure you are wearing your shoes or ski boots. Hold the poles upside down and let the grip touch the floor. Now hold the pole just under the basket so the top of your thumb is in contact with the basket. This is when your elbow should be at 90°. If at this point it is less than 90° then try a pole that is shorter.
What kind of poles do professional instructors use?
Professional ski instructors use simple, inexpensive poles, as they tend to break no matter how careful you are, so it does not make sense to invest in very expensive poles.
I’m a new skier – should I get poles or not?
While there is no fixed rule about using ski poles as a new skier, most instructors suggest that one must gain confidence on skis without the poles and then use them after. However there is no harm in using ski poles if you will not be able to begin skiing without them at all.
Which is best – aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon?
Aluminum ski poles are cheap and bend a couple of times before breaking. Fiberglass ski poles are even cheaper but heavier in weight, and once they snap the break for good and cannot be repaired. Carbon ski poles are very lightweight but are also very expensive. It is most likely to break under lateral pressure though.
If you have never used ski poles before yet are an ardent skier, this list is an excellent place to start so you can assess and imagine what features speak to you and to your needs as a skier. The main function offered by all ski poles is the same, to provide support, to let you steer and to push yourself forward when required on flatter snow. Ski poles are an important winter sports accessory, so make sure you take a well-thought decision to buy the best ski pole for yourself and your family.