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Poles that are the correct length for you will help you ski better (long live pole plants!) and keep you from getting stuck. Ideally, when you flip a ski pole upside down and grab it below the basket, your elbow will bend to a 90-degree angle. But if you've been skiing with chest-height poles for 40 years and would sooner take up snowboarding than size down, disregard our advice.
|Skier Height in Feet and Inches||Pole Length in Inches||Pole Length in Centimeters|
|3'4" and shorter||32||80|
|3'" to 3'8"||34||85|
|3'9" to 4'0"||36||90|
|4'1" to 4'4"||38||95|
|4'5" to 4'8"||40||100|
|4'9" to 5'0"||42||105|
|5'1" to 5'3"||44||110|
|5'4" to 5'6"||46||115|
|5'7" to 5'9"||48||120|
|5'10" to 6'0"||50||125|
|6'1" to 6'3"||52||130|
|6'4" to 6'6"||54||135|
|6'7" and taller||56||140|
Backcountry skiers have two important options when it comes to poles. On a tour, you need to be able to adjust your grip between your ascent and descent. When you’re going up, you need a shorter pole due to the pitch of the slope. When you’re going down, you still want a standard pole length. Rather than carrying two poles, you can choose between an adjustable pole or a fixed pole with an elongated grip.
Many skiers prefer adjustable poles because they are especially comfortable and compact. Just extend or shorten your pole with a simple tab. Adjustable poles include the G3 Via and the DPS Nori.
A fixed pole with an elongated grip also works in place of an adjustable pole. Rather than adjusting you’re the pole itself, just adjust your grip! Some skiers prefer fixed poles because, generally, they are more durable and simpler to use.
Peep the baskets, and make sure they suit the terrain you like. If you like to shred deep powder pillows, you’ll need baskets with a greater surface area, such as those on the Black Crows Meta Poles. These “powder baskets” will keep your pole from sinking away into a snowy abyss, never to be seen by humans again... Or, if you mostly ski on groomed runs and east coast hardpack, you’ll be fine with “resort baskets”—such as the baskets on the Salomon Arctic pole.
Your preference is the biggest consideration when it comes to choosing poles. Be a Comfort Queen and make sure the grip is comfortable. Just grab what feels good, get out there, and have some fun!
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