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Having the best ski poles on hand for your upcoming trip is a necessity, not a luxury. Without those poles, your experience on the slopes or in the backcountry can simply end up being bad, and you may even find it nearly impossible to get anywhere on your skis. Ensuring you purchase the right pair of ski poles to take with you in your skiing bag is a must, and that’s what I’ll help you accomplish with this article. Keep reading for ski pole reviews and ratings.
When you’re first starting to ski, all the different ski gear can get overwhelming. From a ski helmet to ski vise to the actual skis, there’s a lot to consider. You can easily find some high quality ski poles while shopping through some nearby stores or going online, but the selection is so wide that you may find it difficult to settle on a single pair to purchase. I want to make things easier for you by showcasing some of the best ski poles available right now. Check out the top five best ski poles for skiing in the backcountry below.
In This Article
The Zipline Ski Graphite Carbon Composite Ski Poles are the best ski poles because the Lollipop line comes in a rainbow of bright colors that increase visibility while on the slopes.
When it comes to ski poles, Zipline is among the industry leaders, and their Lollipop Ski Poles demonstrate why that is the case. The graphite carbon used in these poles makes them incredibly durable and strong. You’ll notice that strength every time you plant. The poles feel sturdy when they are planted into the ground, and they make it easier for you to navigate even the sharper turns.
Also helping with the act of planting are the carbide tips of these poles. They dig into the snow and catch on well. Thermoplastic materials have been used to create the ZipGrips of these poles. It’s a good thing they were included because they allow you to form a vise grip over the poles. I also want to point out the importance of having orange-colored ski poles. When you’re surrounded by snow, having items with you that improve visibility is a good thing, and these ski poles certainly fit the bill.
- Made from graphite carbon
- Carbide tips allow the mountain poles to firmly plant into the snow
- Grips made from thermoplastic are easy to hold on to
- Come in a variety of bright colors
- Paint used is prone to chipping
The Zipline Ski Carbon Composite Graphite Ski Poles in Chrome are the best ski poles because they use hydrographic decal application to help prevent chipping problems that occur in their other lines.
As noted above, paint chipping can be an issue with Zipline’s Lollipop backcountry ski poles, and to resolve that issue in the Chrome poles, the folks over at Zipline have utilized hydrographic technology. It helps the paint stay on longer so that the ski poles continue to look as intended. The manufacturers have also included two types of baskets along with these ski poles.
You can alternate between them depending on the condition of the slopes. Other notable features such as the non-slip grips that fit over your ski gloves and the graphite carbon shafts are still present in these poles. If you can afford to splurge on these ski poles, it’s hard to argue against doing so given their features.
- Hydrographic technology prevents paint from peeling
- Small and large baskets included
- Ergonomic non-slip grips keep your hands in place
- Graphite carbon shafts
- A bit more expensive than other options
The Salomon Arctic Ski Poles with All Mountain Grip are the best ski poles because they’re made from the lightest A-grade aluminum and come at a price that most people can afford.
If you want a solid pair of ski poles for a discounted price, you’re going to be pleased with these aluminum poles. These all-mountain ski poles feature aluminum construction. Carbon ski poles and composite poles feature more durability, but the aluminum shaft variants are typically the ones that are most affordable. It’s no surprise to see that material used liberally in these poles.
The poles are quite light due to their aluminum composition, but not overly so. Durability concerns normally plague ski poles made from aluminum. While these items are not going to just suddenly snap, they are prone to over time bending. Continuous usage is also going to morph their form enough that you may not be able to go the slopes with them any longer. I still think these are the best ski poles if you want something very affordable.
- Aluminum ski poles that are lightweight
- Suitable for a wide variety of skiers
- Very affordable
- Prone to bending over time
The Zipline Ski Graphite Carbon Composite Tapered Ski Poles are the best ski poles because they’re the ideal poles for alpine skiing in powder, and they have large baskets that keep them from sinking too deep.
For those who want the best ski poles for powder, it’s hard to beat the Blurr from Zipline Ski. Included along with these alpine ski poles are large baskets. They are about 9 mm in size, and they are ideal for skiing in powder. Those larger baskets are going to keep your poles from burrowing too deep into the snow.
Combine the larger baskets with the tapered graphite carbon shafts and you get ski poles that excel whenever they get the chance to work on powder. Sadly, the issue with paint chipping has returned in these Zipline ski poles. However, if you’re someone who loves skiing on powder, you can probably live with that trade-off.
- Larger baskets prevent the poles from sinking into the snow
- Tapered shafts also keep the poles upright
- Thermoplastic ergonomic grips are provided
- Pole shafts crafted from graphite carbon
- Paint can come off in chunks
The Zipline Ski Graphite Carbon Composite Lollipop Ski Poles are the best ski poles because they come in a stylish black color and use thermoplastic grips for increased durability.
To round out this list, I’ve got another great entry from Zipline’s Lollipop line. The orange ski poles I highlighted earlier are great if you’re still new to alpine skiing and want to be as visible as possible. For folks who want to be more stylish on the slopes, the black licorice alpine ski poles are the better choice.
I love the interplay between the black and white colors in these poles. Bust them out if you want to impress someone with your style as you’re skiing down the piste. Apart from the beautiful color scheme, you’re also getting the graphite carbon shafts, thermoplastic grips, and carbide tips together with these ski poles.
- Constructed using graphite carbon
- Equipped with carbide tips
- Offers users non-slip thermoplastic grips
- Stylish black and white color scheme
- Paint still has a tendency to peel off
Features to Consider for the Best Ski Pole
Hopefully, the ski pole reviews above have helped you better identify which ski poles will suit you best. In case you’re still on the fence, you can refer to the following factors to make choosing a pair of ski poles to purchase easier.
Before you go about purchasing any ski poles, it’s worth taking the time to find out which types are available. There are four types of ski poles for you to choose from.
- Back or side country ski poles can be adjusted by length. Manufacturers usually include specialized tools along with these ski poles, and those tools can then be used by wearers as they make their way through difficult terrain.
- Racing poles have smaller baskets that prevent them from getting tangled up with any gates. Unless you’re training for a competition, you probably won’t need racing poles.
- The freestyle ski poles are noticeably shorter than the other variants. They are ideal for performing tricks.
- All-mountain ski poles are the most versatile, and you can’t go wrong if you decide to use them. All-mountain ski poles are also the most suitable items to use for people who are new to this hobby.
The shaft materials often used to make ski poles include aluminum, carbon fiber, fiberglass, and graphite.
- Aluminum is often used in the less expensive ski poles. They don’t bring a lot of weight to the table, which some skiers appreciate. However, durability is often a concern with them.
- Carbon fiber ski poles are best if you are looking for a super light option. Similar to the aluminum items though, they come with durability issues.
- The graphite ski poles are not hounded by the same durability concerns. However, they can be heavy.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of carbon poles, I would urge you to look for composite items that utilize both materials.
Two types of baskets are usually attached to ski poles. First off, you have the standard baskets. These standard baskets will keep the poles from sinking down into the ground, but they are best used for slopes that undergo regular maintenance. They may not be sufficient in other types of terrain.
If you intend to use the majority of your skiing time on powder trails, go with the poles that are equipped with larger baskets. They hold up better to the heaping amounts of powder, and they also help greatly with navigation.
Benefits of Using Ski Poles
Ski poles are obviously required for any kind of skiing excursion, but is it really a smart move to invest a significant amount of money in a good pair? Listed below are the reasons why you should feel free to spend that money.
Good Ski Poles Provide Greater Security
The problem with cheap, low quality ski poles is that they hardly let you do anything. Try to plant them into snow, and they could wind up buried in the snow. Planting cheap ski poles into the snow is also risky because they could bend and even break.
Regardless of how the cheap ski poles fail, they may end up being the main reasons why you are stuck in the middle of nowhere and that’s a scary situation to be in. Skiing can sometimes be risky, but you can minimize the chances of things taking a turn for the worse by investing in a quality pair of ski poles.
Good Ski Poles Allow You to Learn Faster
Skiing is not the easiest hobby to pick up. There are all kinds of techniques to learn and proper habits to develop. Using a high quality pair of ski poles should speed up the learning process. Just don’t forget to wear your skiing impact shorts, because you’ll still fall down at least a couple times no matter how good your poles are.
Precautions of Using Ski Poles
You can’t just pick up any pair of ski poles and expect them to work perfectly. In order to end up with the right pair of ski poles, you should first follow the precautions included below.
Find Ski Poles That Are Right for You in Terms of Size
Ill-fitting ski poles can have a negative impact on your backcountry skiing experience. Shorter poles will force you to lean forward all the time. Aside from making you uncomfortable, being in that position all the time can be dangerous once you start to pick up speed.
On the other hand, skis that are way too long can also be problematic. They can cause you to stand upright, and while in that position, you may lose your balance. Pay attention to the size of the ski poles so that you are able to exhibit proper form at all times. You can either get help from an expert fitter or use a guide to help you do it on your own.
If you’re not sure what length will be most comfortable for you, or you’re buying the poles for a growing kid, you may want to get adjustable ski poles.
Look for Ski Poles with Non-Slip Wrist Straps
You will fall over a lot if you are just starting out with skiing. As you’re falling over, your ski poles may slip away. Prevent that from happening by finding the ski poles that are equipped with non-slip straps. Like ski bindings keep your ski boots on your skis, these adjustable straps keep your poles in your hands.
Hand Guards Not Included
If you’re buying your very first ski equipment, you may not have noticed that skis don’t come with their own ski pole guards. When you buy your ski poles, you’ll also need to purchase guards to go with it. The guards help protect your hands like ski shin guards would protect your shins.
Of all the great options I got to look at while writing this, one pair of ski poles definitely stood out among the rest. For me, the best ski poles were definitely the Zipline Ski Graphite Carbon Composite Ski Poles. They are sturdy yet lightweight, due to their graphite carbon composition while the carbide tips enable you to get firmly planted into the snow. The non-slip thermoplastic grips are also welcome additions. Even your visibility is improved because of the color used for these ski poles.
I hope these ski pole reviews have helped you find new equipment!