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Dino Haak

Professional Ski Expert

Ski Poles

Featured On:

  • SkiMag
Remember your first beginner ski lesson? You most likely did not use poles, maybe not even for the second lesson either. When you finally started using poles you probably immediately wondered why. Poles seem to be in the way when you fall, making for a not-so-soft landing, and they seem to distract you from your effort of focusing on your skis. But ski with poles for a few times and you cannot imagine being without them. Poles are important because they provide extra support and stability as you transfer weight from one ski to the other, and help you keep a steady groove when you use them to initiate turns.

When buying a pole you should keep a few things in mind. Poles should be the right length for your height because skiing with wrongly sized poles can negatively affect your skiing technique. Poles should be lightweight. Heavy poles are exhausting to carry around and make it difficult to move fast on your pole plant. Additionally, the pole shaft should be flexible so using it won’t put strain on your shoulders, arms and elbows. Once you’ve used a light pole, you will never want to go back to a heavier one.

The handgrip should be comfortable to hold and provide a good, non-slippery grip. Bring your gloves along when trying out new poles since to get the best idea of how good a match the grip is for you. Another thing to consider is the strap, which should be easily adjustable. Some company’s poles have a breakaway strap safety mechanism that opens or detaches the strap to avoid hand injury when there is a strong pull on your pole during a wipe-out or catch on a tree. I believe this to be a great feature, and it has put a couple of poles on this Best of the Best list.

Generally, fiberglass, graphite and composite ski poles are the best choice because they are lighter and more flexible. Aluminum poles are cheaper, but often thicker in shaft diameter, and can bend and break more easily (there are, however, some very good and sturdy aluminum poles out there). The thicker the pole, the more wind-drag it will produce.

Most poles come with average-sized baskets to be used on regular, groomed slopes, but most models give you the ability to swap baskets for a day in the powder (for which you would choose a larger size basket).

Best Ski Poles by Dino Haak

The Best You Can Get

  • Scott A12

    Dino says: This pole is sure to last you a long time. It is made of high-quality, extremely light materials. I especially like the finish, which incorporates aluminum and titanium to keep the pole resistant to scratches and cuts and contributes to its overall stability. What really stands out to me are the straps, which are designated for right and left hand use. The straps fit my hands (gloves) nicely and are easily adjustable. This pole also features an exceptionally strong carbon diamond tip that is not likely to wear down no matter how much you use it. The Scott A12 is offered in the colors white/silver and red.

    • Made of a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass that is super light and strong
    • High quality materials that maximize pole stability and keep vibrations low
    • Good scratch and ding resistant finish
    • Straps are specifically designed for left and right hand use
    • High quality grip
  • Leki Carbon 10.0

    Dino says: This lightweight pole feels great in the hand due to its soft, comfortable grip. I especially like the quick release strap system that ensures you won’t suffer any hand or wrist injuries should you wipe-out or encounter a strong pull on your pole. If you are used to regular straps, the innovative Leki strap system may take a short time to get comfortable with, but once you have experienced its benefits, it will be hard to go back. The strap really hugs your hand and keeps it in perfect position, no matter what kind of glove or mitten you are using. Getting on the lift, you don’t even have to slip out of the strap, just click it off the handle, keep it on your wrist, and click it back in when you’re ready for your next run. These are great poles that come in a grey/ black with a blue and white design.

    • Made of light-weight carbon fiber composite
    • Quick-release strap system that can be attached and detached quickly
    • Soft grip for shock absorption and comfort
    • Anatomic straps that automatically release when there is a dangerous pull
    • Good scratch and ding resistant finish
  • Goode XGS-1000 Carbon Composite

    Dino says: With its claim to fame of being the world's lightest ski pole, the Goode XGS-1000 is also one of the slimmest I have ever had the chance to lay my hands on. The extremely thin 10.44mm thick carbon fiber shaft reduces wind-drag and thus makes for great aerodynamics. The handgrip is amazing! Goode uses a mix of materials on the grip that provide a soft surface combined with ribbed areas to ensure a perfect hold. What I really like about this pole is the fact that you can reduce its length by three inches, which is about the range you’d switch to on a day of mogul skiing. Goode additionally incorporates a very functional system that allows you to easily change baskets when you want to leave the corduroy for a run in the powder. Listen, Charles, my business partner, owns this pole, so it just got to be a good one!

    • Extremely and durable carbon/graphite composite shaft
    • Shaft firm yet flexible for optimal shock absorption
    • Ultra-light
    • Length is adjustable by 3 inches
    • Excellent grip
  • Black Diamond Limited: Carbon Fiber Ski Poles

    Dino says: This is a very unique pole. I almost passed it up for this review because height-adjustable poles are generally exclusively used for backcountry skiing because they allow you to adjust pole length for either uphill walking or downhill skiing. The reason I chose these poles is that they are as functional on groomed slopes or bumps as they are on a weekend in the backcountry. Adjust the pole to normal length for regular on-piste skiing, drop it down an inch or two before you enter a mogul slope, or extend it to full length on long, flat passages for maximum propulsion. Slide the two parts together, and you can make a small pole that is easily stored away in your backpack.

    Even though the pole is two-part, once secured by the so-called FlickLock® locking mechanism, it’s like one solid piece of equipment. It didn’t slide back together even when I put my entire 190 pounds onto it.

    The Black Diamond Limited is lightweight and made of a mix of aluminum and carbon fiber. It features a slightly angled grip that is made of a combination of hard and soft rubberized material and provides a fantastic grip. It comes in a cool-looking red and black design.

    • Lock mechanism can be opened and closed easily by just using your thumb
    • Lightweight
    • Superb grip
    • Good anatomically designed straps
    • Adjusts from 95cm to 150cm
  • The Life-Link AEC

    Dino says: The Life-Link AEC is another pole at home on the slopes as well the back-country. It is very lightweight with a thin carbon shaft. Being exceptionally thin, it offers great aerodynamics and ensures an easy swing. What really stands out is the AEC’s versatility. Not only can its length be adjusted by two inches (great if you want to shorten the pole for a mogul run), the pole can also be transformed into an avalanche probe. Both can be done with the help of a small trigger that either can move the grip down the shaft two inches, or completely remove it from the shaft. Once you remove the grips from both poles, you can then screw both shaft ends together to form a double pole length avalanche probe. This is an invaluable feature for your back-country skiing.

    Another stand-out feature on this pole is the breakaway straps that can prevent injuries to hands, arms and shoulders as well as enable you to free your hands should you ever be stuck in an avalanche. The grip is also very good with a rubberized surface and slight angulation to accommodate your wrists. The pole comes in a black, white, and yellow with red baskets.

    • Releasable breakaway straps
    • Detachable grip that can be made into an avalanche probe
    • Lightweight
    • Length adjustment up to 2 inches
    • Angled rubberized grip for superior hold

You will be happy with any of these

  • Scott Series 4 : Velvet and Leather edition

    Dino says: The Scott Series 4 Velvet and the Scott Series 4 Leather are essentially the same pole. What separates these two are the material the handgrips are made of, as well as their color scheme and design. They come at the same price and share identical functionality.

    Both the Scott Series 4 Velvet and the Scott Series 4 Leather poles have the fanciest handgrips ever! Holding the black and gold Series 4 Leather edition is like having your hands on the leather steering wheel of a Porsche 911. The leather material also provides an extremely good grip. And it just looks cool. I loved it! The Velvet Series 4 is just a stylish version of the same pole. To me, out of all poles I tested, this is the most exclusive looking one. This all black pole exudes class and looks about three times as expensive as it actually is. The velvet grip offers finger grooves for a perfect hold, and feels amazingly right under your hands.

    Made of strong “aircraft-grade” aluminum, this pole is durable, light, classy, and one of the best deals around.

    • Strong aluminum shafts
    • Carbon Diamond tip (will last forever)
    • Very good grip featuring finger grooves for a better hold
    • Unique, stylish grip material
  • Rossignol Bandit 7000

    Dino says: The Rossignol Bandit is a light aluminum pole with a stable, bend-resistant wide shaft. I especially liked the grip with its finger grooves reminding me of the poles I used in my racing days. The release mechanism works very well and is easily put back together.

    This gray and tan colored pole is a great value, especially considering that it comes with two pairs of baskets in one package.

    • Very good strap release mechanism
    • Very good grip featuring finger grooves for a better hold
    • Strong, oval shaft (18 mm) that won’t bend easily
    • Lightweight
    • Comes with interchangeable baskets for both powder and hard packed slopes
  • K2 6-Speed

    Dino says: The K2 6-Speed is one sharp looking pole. It features a leather and chrome grip along with a stylish white and black shaft design. This pole oozes chic. K2 did not only get it right in the looks department, they manage to deliver a durable lightweight carbon fiber pole with an exceptional handgrip and easily adjustable wide straps. All in all, one of the best values out there, especially since it comes with both regular and powder sized baskets at no extra cost.

    • Great looking, classy design
    • Lightweight
    • Easily adjustable straps
    • Leather handgrip for optimal hold
  • Armada ARV Instrument

    Dino says: I have to admit, it took me a little bit to get used to the original looking (and feeling) handgrip of the Armada Arv Instrument. It lacks finger grooves, but the rubberized grip is surprisingly comfortable to hold. What makes the ARV unique is its interchangeable pole component system. With an easy flip of a lever you can quickly release both grip and basket. This not only makes changing baskets for different snow conditions super-easy, it also allows you to exchange the shaft should it ever break or should you simply desire a change of design. Geared toward the jibbin’ crowd in the terrain parks, there are currently four hip replacement shaft designs available. If you stick with the Armada system, you will never have to buy a completely new set of poles.

    • Allows individual replacement of grip, shaft or basket
    • Unique handgrip design
    • Quality materials
    • Set includes two pairs of baskets
  • Joystick The Carbon

    Dino says: The Joystick The Carbon offers one of the grooviest designs I have seen on a pole, hands down. Featuring the modern, abstract, graffiti-esque artwork of Danish artist Basco5, the Carbon is definitely an eye-catcher, but the artwork is not overdone in a way that you would only end up seeing the pole with the jibbers in the terrain park. It just looks good! The rest of the pole does not have to hide either. The Carbon has a very good, slightly angled, rubberized handgrip for superior hold, a durable carbon composite shaft, and nice wide, easily adjustable straps. The package includes a set of two interchangeable baskets (one for the slopes, one for the powder). A great value, with a nifty look.

    • Eye-catching design
    • Durable and flexible carbon shaft
    • Excellent grip
    • Includes set of two interchangeable baskets

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