Best Ski Poles

Best Ski Pole

We looked at the 15 most popular ski poles on the market and considered their construction, materials used, variety of lengths offered, reputation of the manufacturer, style, durability and other considerations. The three pairs of ski poles reviewed below topped the charts in all of the categories we listed. Any one of them would be an excellent choice for the skiing enthusiast.

Introduction to the Ski Poles

If you are a skier, you already know that ski poles are a crucial part of the equipment you will need. The job of the ski poles is to help balance the skier, help with timing the turns, makes hiking easier and otherwise maneuver around the slopes. Ski poles are sold in pairs of two and have two different measurement increments: 2” or 5cm.

It isn’t very difficult to find the right ski poles for your specific needs. Making sure that the ski poles are the right length is very important to how well you will be able to ski. Getting a ski pole that is too long will cause you to have far less control or responsiveness. It will also cause you to be too far back onto your heels. Shorter poles can cause you to lean too far forward.

With all of the different ski poles available, it may seem like it is difficult to choose the right pair, but with the right information, you will be able to find exactly what you need to have good skiing performance. The objective of this buyer’s guide and the reviews below is to help you sort through the choices, identify your own needs and preferences and make a good decision that you will be confident about.

Best Overall Ski Poles

Leki Checker X Ski Pole

If you are new to skiing or you are a freerider that wants to add style to your skiing, The Checker X will fit what you are looking for.

This stylish pair of ski poles, the Checker X, is from the Leki Elements line.

It is a very simply designed pair of poles that will provide what you need to enjoy a day of skiing.

The construction is lightweight aluminum that is very durable and long lasting.

Other features include the soft grip on the poles that feel great in your hands as you cruise around or do more daring stunts such as taking some jumps.

The hard snow basket snaps on securely and won’t fly off even after a bad fall.

The Leki Checker X ski poles are available in many different exciting colors so you will really make a splash on the slopes. The steel tips of these poles are super strong and long lasting and they measure 105cm. They are the perfect pair of ski poles for many different skill levels and will provide plenty of balance, style and fun.

Black Diamond Fixed Length Carbon Ski Poles

The Black Diamond Fixed Length Carbon Ski Poles are exactly what you need when you spend a lot of time on the slopes.

The shaft is made from 100% carbon fiber and has a Kevlar wrapped bottom half that will provide plenty of protection from the ski-edge hitting that can happen.

This well made pair of ski poles is designed for many different styles of skiing such as in bound shredding.

These ski poles are very lightweight and strong making them great for new skiers and advanced skiers alike.

The strap that is on the poles provides skiers with easy accessibility and will make sure the weight is evenly distributed on the wrists.

The coating on the upper part of the shaft makes holding onto the poles easy and comfortable too.

Best Budget Ski Poles

Winget 100% Carbon Fiber Super light All Mountain Alpine Ski Poles

Another fine set of ski poles is the Winget super light all mountain alpine ski poles. 

The shaft of these fine ski poles is made from 100% carbon fiber. They are ultra light and provide the skier with tons of stability.

These ski poles are perfect for skiers that want to train in the winter and they handle speed skiing well also.

The manganese steel tips are durable and won’t wear down no matter how often you use them. The mud basket is removable for the skier’s convenience. 

The ergonomic styling of the upper portion of the skis makes holding onto them comfortable.  The straps have a lot of grip so handling is secure as well.

These skis are great for newbies and intermediates and advanced skiers may really enjoy them as well.  If you’re looking for a secure ski pole with longevity and staying power, try these out.

Top Rated Ski Poles Summary

Skiers rely on their ski poles for many things, least of which is balance and direction in the turns. The poles are just as important as other pieces of ski equipment so make sure that you are taking the search to find the best pair of poles for your needs, seriously.

The three top ranked pairs of ski poles featured above are all well designed and perfect for you no matter what skill level you are. You will need to know the kind of skiing that you want to engage in for you to choose just the right pair for your needs.

Our buyer’s guide below has a lot of information on ski poles and how to find the best one for your specific needs. With this information you will be able to confidently look at the choices you have and make a decision on one that will fulfill you skiing needs.

Compare: The 10 Best Rated Ski Poles

Ski Pole Comparison Table
1st Place2nd Place3rd Place4th Place5th Place6th Place7th Place8th Place9th Place10th Place

Leki
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Black Diamond
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Winget
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Swix
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Zipline
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WSD
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Scott Team
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Scott Decree
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Goode
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Stylo
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Shaft
Material
AluminumCarbon
Fiber
Carbon
Fiber
AluminumGraphite
TriXweave
AluminumAluminumAluminumComposite
Fiber
Carbon
Fiber
Graphite
Composite
Length
(cm)
90 – 130110 – 130100 – 13546 – 11090 – 112115 – 130112137115 – 132102 – 112
ColorPurple
/ Blue
/ Orange
/ Black
/ White
Blazing
Yellow
Orange
/ Black
BlackYellow
/ White
Black
/ Silver
Orange
/ Cyan
BlackBlack
/ Summit
Silver
Blue
/ Black
Shaft
Thickness
(mm)
18.0014.0010.4018.0016.0010.0018.0018.0012.7016.00
Weight
(pounds)
1.701.000.203.002.002.001.151.151.982.00
Warranty1 Year1 Year1 Year1 Year2 Years30 Days1 Year1 Year1 Year2 Years

 

Ski Pole Buying Guide

Ski Pole Reviews

Types of Poles

Ski Pole1There are many different types of ski poles on the market.  How you will be using your ski poles and the type of skiing that you will be doing will be crucial factors in the decision you make. We’ve listed the different types of ski poles below.

  • Alpine – These are the most common ski pole chosen by most skiers. They suit the average skier well, regardless of skill level. The design of the Alpine ski pole features a shaft that is straight, a hard snow basket that is standard, and a handle that is comfortable for the skier to grip.  Depending on the manufacturer, some Alpine ski poles have features that are not normally standard.  These features include things like extra snow baskets.
  • Powder or Backcountry – Skiers will have increased snow performance with the backcountry ski poles. The snow basket is very large on this type of ski and prevents the ski pole from sinking into the deep snow.  Sometimes this type of ski pole will be much thicker than regular poles that will prevent them from hitting obstacles in natures such as trees and rocks. 

    Some of the models of backcountry ski poles will feature shafts that have adjustable lengths.  The benefit to these adjustable shafts is that it makes them very easy to transport since they can be shortened. In some cases they can be shortened enough to fit into a pack or suitcase.  It is recommended to purchase backcountry poles just a tad shorter which will improve your performance.

  • Freestyle or Park – Many freestyle skiers don’t want to use poles at all and others use them for added balancing over flat terrain. This type of ski pole is typically a lot shorter than the others and the shaft and grip is skinnier as well. Professionals recommend that new skiers take a look at many different sizes of freestyle poles to see which ones feel the best to them.
  • Race – These are a specialty type of ski pole. The features of a race pole include elements such as high tech construction, ergonomically designed poles and fiberglass and carbon materials used in construction.  Race poles are more specialized which makes them more expensive.
  • Nordic – Another name for Nordic ski poles is cross country. These sturdy, long lasting poles are great for cross country skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, trekking and other outdoor snow activities. The shaft on a Nordic ski pole is usually much narrower than others.  It has a spiked tip and a basket that is not shaped like the traditional ski pole’s basket is. These differences allow skiers to get plenty of power when propelling themselves along. Nordic poles are sized differently than the other types of poles so be sure that you understand how to size them.

Common Materials Used in Construction

There are several different types of materials that are used to create good quality ski poles.  We have listed out the different, common materials and have added information as to the benefits of each type of material.

    Ski Pole2

  • Aluminum – The material that is used most often in the manufacturing of ski poles is aluminum.  It is lightweight and the tensile strength is extremely high.  Additional components that are added to aluminum ski poles include silicon, zinc and magnesium.  Ski poles that are made of aluminum are not as expensive as other types of ski poles. They are durable and long lasting and work for most skiers, at any skill level.  The type of aluminum used can affect the cost.
  • Fiberglass – This is the strongest ski pole to date, offering a high level of strength in relation to the weight.  This type of ski pole is a lot lighter and smaller in diameter but offers these features without performance being compromised in any way.  Fiberglass is a favorite material of racers and other skiers that want optimal performance.  In many cases carbon is mixed in with the fiberglass to strength each of the materials used in construction.
  • Carbon – The top of the heap when it comes to the creation of a good quality ski pole is carbon. The highest level of strength to weight is carbon fiber. One drawback to this level of carbon is that the carbon dishes can snap and cause problems. It is extremely hard to snap a carbon ski pole.  You will get what you pay for in this world, so look for the ski poles that are higher quality and not just run of the mill.
  • Composite – A composite ski pole is a ski pole that has many different materials is used in the construction of the area.  Some example of composite materials will be graphite, resin, carbon, aluminum, fiberglass, etc. Carbon fiber and fiberglass are going to be the most often used materials. They will cost more than aluminum poles but they are not as durable or resistant to snapping.

Components of the Ski Pole

The components that make up a ski pole contribute to its weight, durability and also its performance.  The components of a ski pole are listed below.

  • Materials – Most ski poles that are available on the market today are either made of aluminum or carbon fiber. You can find ski poles that are made of graphite or bamboo as well but carbon fiber and aluminum are the most common.  Ski poles that are made from aluminum are less expensive than carbon fiber but they are reliable materials that are very durable. They do tend to be heavier than carbon fiber poles.  Carbon fiber is more expensive and they are known for being more lightweight and flexible as well.
  • Grips – The grips of a ski pole are made from rubber, plastic or cork.  There really isn’t a grip that is better than another. Personal preference is what drives this decision.
  • Straps – The straps that are attached to the ski pole are usually made of plastic or durable nylon.  Cross country skiers or all mountain skiers like straps that have plenty of padding so if the pole gets stuck on something it is more forgiving on their wrists.
  • Baskets – The surface area of the basket determines how well it avoids sinking into the snow.  If you’re a backcountry skier, a larger basket is preferable. If you are skiing in conditions where the snow is packed, a smaller basket will work just fine.
  • Ski Pole3

  • Size – It is important to find the right size ski pole to get the best performance. A lot of the backcountry poles are adjustable which is good for different conditions. Make sure you understand what size pole to get before you purchase.  If there is any question, a professional at a sporting goods store can answer some questions for you.

Conclusion

Ski poles may not be the most important piece of ski equipment, but it certainly is a big element of successful skiing. Most skiers that are not competitive can get away with a basic Alpine ski pole or a backcountry style if they prefer cross country style skiing. Knowing the different elements and factors involved is very helpful to the overall decision making process.

This buyer’s guide has been designed to help you choose the right ski pole for your preferences, your skill level, the type of skiing you do and the budget you want to work with. There are many different types of ski poles, so make sure you know exactly what you want to do with your skis so the pole you choose will complement those needs perfectly.

Resources

  1. Leki – https://www.leki.com/us/
  2. Black Diamond – http://blackdiamondequipment.com/en_US/