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Your Position: Home - Sports & Entertainment - How to Choose the Right Length Ski Poles & Ski Pole Size Chart

How to Choose the Right Length Ski Poles & Ski Pole Size Chart

How to Choose the Right Length Ski Poles & Ski Pole Size Chart

Wondering what size ski poles do I need? Or if there are any other important considerations when it comes to choosing ski poles? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will walk you through how to choose the right ski pole length so you can be on your way to skiing like a pro. Check out our ski pole size chart and read on below!

What Are Ski Poles?

Ski poles are long, thin sticks, typically made out of aluminum or carbon, held by a skier to help with balance, stability, and initiating and timing their turns. Ski poles have a handle or grip at the top, usually made out of rubber, a slightly pointed tip at the bottom, and a “basket” just a couple of inches above the tip.

Advantages of Ski Poles

Ski poles serve two main purposes – aiding balance and mobility. Sometimes gravity isn’t enough to get you where you need to go on skis, from flat lift lines to mellow-pitched catwalks so you need the extra push. Ski poles also help you to balance while you’re skiing. This is why pole planting has evolved as a key piece of skiing technique, helping skiers to set up their turns and stay in rhythm.

Type of Ski Poles

There are different types of ski poles on the market. More often than not, the type of ski pole that you use will depend on the type of skiing that you plan to do.

♦ Alpine Ski Poles

Alpine ski poles are the most common of all the types of ski poles out there. The number one reason why these particular ski poles are very popular is simply because they are great for the majority of skiers. These poles are best suited for mountainous areas as well as many other types of terrains. Your average alpine ski pole has a comfortable handle, a straight shaft, and a standard basket that makes it suitable for on and off-piste use. These days, some brands of alpine ski poles incorporate additional features, most notably additional snow baskets.

♦ Freestyle Ski Poles

Freestyle Ski Poles, also known as Park Ski Poles, as the name implies, are most appropriate for skiing in parks. They have thin shafts because they are less likely to suffer massive impact. Furthermore, they help the skier propel him or herself on the flat surface of packs. They are also designed to be short so that they don’t come in the way of obstacles on flat surfaces.

♦ Powder Ski Poles

Powder ski poles, also known as backcountry ski poles, are mostly conducive for terrains with soft snow/powdery terrains. Powder poles have thicker shafts that cushion them against massive impact. They also come in adjustable lengths that allow you to pack them and adjust them for your use. Another notable and very useful feature of the powder ski poles is their large snow baskets which provide the ski poles with a floating effect and prevent them from sinking into the snow.

♦ Race Ski Poles

Race poles are designed to help skiers move extremely fast during races. Unlike the Powder, Alpine and Park ski poles, Race poles incorporate more high-tech features. They are designed to be very thin and easy to carry around, thereby creating less drag for the skier and allowing him or her to ski faster. Because of their high-tech constructions, features and strength, Race ski poles can be very expensive.

♦ Nordic Ski Poles

Nordic ski poles are most appropriate for trekking, hiking, snowshoeing, skating, and cross-country skiing. Sometimes the Nordic ski poles are also known as Cross Country poles simply because they are great for cross country skiing. What are the common characteristics of the Nordic/Cross Country ski poles? They have thin shafts, and spiked tips, and are very light, enabling the skier to plant the poles in the snow and propel him or herself further.

♦ Construction Material

The materials with which ski poles are made can play a major role in determining whether a particular pole is appropriate for you or not. Depending on your needs and abilities, the type of construction material used in making the ski pole that you use can to a significant degree enhance or impede your ski experience. Here are the most common types of ski poles based on their construction material:

How To Measure Ski Poles

While referring to a size chart is simple and quick, the most accurate way to determine the right ski pole length for you is to take a measurement since everyone, regardless of their height, has different leg and torso proportions.

To take the most accurate measurement, follow these simple steps: 1. Stand in your ski boots or a pair of shoes. 2. Bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle. 3. Using a tape measure, measure the distance between your hand and the ground. 4. Round to the nearest whole number, and add two inches.

To test it out and ensure you measured correctly: 1. Grab a ski pole that matches the measurement you took. 2. With the pole upside down and the handle touching the floor, grasp the ski pole just under the basket. If the ski pole is the correct height, your elbow will be bent at 90 degrees. 3. If your elbow angle is less than 90 degrees, try a shorter pole; if it’s more than 90 degrees, try a longer one.

Ski Pole Size Chart

User height in cmPole length in cmUser height in inchesPole length in inches
190-2001356’4″ – 6’6″54
185-1901306’1″ – 6’3″52
175-1851255’10” – 6’0″50
170-1751205’7″ – 5’9″48
160-1701155’4″ – 5’6″46
155-1601105’1″ – 5’3″44
145-1551054’9″ – 5’0″42
135-1451004’5″ – 4’8″40
125-135954’1″ – 4’4″38
115-125903’9″ – 4’0″36
105-115853’5″ – 3’8″34
10580< 3’4″32

Click here to shop our selection of ski poles.

How to Choose the Correct Length / Size Ski Poles

Choosing the right ski size pole is a function of a number of factors, namely: ski length and width, ability level, ski style, the nature of the terrain on which you ski, etc.

The length of a ski pole can affect the way you ski so it is important to choose the correct size. Poles that are too long or too heavy can be cumbersome and awkward whereas poles that are too short might not provide you with the right balance and hinder your ability to turn. Use our size chart then make minor adjustments depending on your type of skiing:

Ski with longer poles if:

You like to plant your pole and turn around it, great for moguls and bumps

You will be skating or traversing flat tracks

Ski with shorter poles if:

You will be skiing a lot of deep snow

You will be skiing a lot of park

Novice to intermediate skiers – If you are between sizes, go longer. A longer pole will help keep your body in better balance and allow you to put your weight on the proper ski easier.

Advanced skiers, expert skiers and racers – If between sizes, you may go shorter. This is due to the aggressive stance which is normally lower than intermediates.

When in doubt, always go longer. Many poles can be cut down in length by removing the grip and cutting the shaft. Poles can not be made longer.

Still Not Sure What Size To Get? We’re Here To Help! Visit our Help Centre for advice from our team.

What Conditions and Terrain Do I Primarily Ski?

Your ski pole length and some features of your ideal ski poles may vary based on your skier style, which corresponds with where on the mountain you typically ski and what the snow conditions are. For example:

  • A freestyle skier who spends most of their time in the terrain park or hitting natural features should use poles at least two inches shorter than the traditional recommendation so that their poles don’t get caught on jumps and rails.

  • For a skier who spends their time in the backcountry, telescoping or adjustable poles are recommended since longer poles are ideal for traveling uphill, but shorter poles are ideal for the descent.

  • A skier who primarily skis in deep powder and soft snow in the Rockies will want to equip their poles with a wider “powder basket.”

  • An East Coast skier hitting groomers, hardpack snow conditions, bumps and moguls, and occasional fresh snow will want a pole that is the traditional recommendation for length and has standard baskets.

  • A ski racer, whose priority is going fast, will want ski poles that are more aerodynamic and curve around their body when in a tucked position.

Ski Pole Budget

Ski pole prices range from about $40 on the lower end to upwards of $200 on the higher end. This is a pretty big price range! However, like with most equipment, the price point is a direct correlation between the quality of the product and the features it includes.

A more expensive pair of ski poles may be made out of carbon, a strong and lightweight material that will give it the durability to last for years, no matter how hard you ski. They may also have features such as interchangeable baskets (sometimes with powder baskets included!) and a comfortable, shock-absorbing ergonomic grip.

A less expensive pair of ski poles will most likely be made out of aluminum, a durable but heavier material than carbon, and have more basic features.

Ski poles are essential gear for any skier looking to advance their skills on the slopes! But not just any pair of poles will be perfect for everyone. The correct size is the priority when purchasing ski poles, as they will provide balance and stability, while the wrong size will be a distraction and hinder your ability to learn and grow as a skier. After you’ve been sized correctly, there are many other features to look for and not look for when purchasing a pair of ski poles. Your skier ability level, skier style, and gear budget will help narrow down the ideal features.

Ski poles that are the correct length for you will help you ski better (long-lived pole plants!) and keep you from getting stuck on those flat slopes.  Reach out with any questions and we will have you comfortably cruising the mountain in no time.

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