What to look for
With a gloved hand, try a few pole plants to test if the pole's swing weight and grip suit you. Select a pole with angled grips, which increase comfort. If you often ski different conditions in the same day, consider poles that adjust in height and have interchangeable baskets.
Carbon Composite 18-Inch Adjustable
The world's largest manufacturer of composite poles offers a new shock-absorbing, all-carbon, two-piece pole, which can be adjusted a maximum of 18 inches up or down. Also new are easily interchangeable standard and powder baskets.
Full Spectrum Carbon Trigger
Leki combines an aluminum upper section (at an eight-degree angle) with a carbon lower shaft to make a narrow-profiled adjustable pole, secured by a new push-button locking system. The carbide ice tips are replaceable, and the baskets are interchangeable.
Composite poles don't come much less expensive than the Condor, making it a great buy for your buck. The 100-percent fiberglass shaft is strong and lightweight, punctuated by a steel tip. Kerma's Mono Racing grip is slightly angled for better grip control.
For the skier seeking a lightweight, packable and durable pole, Life-Link introduces the three-piece, adjustable Odyssey III. The new "Posi-loc" mechanism makes for a quick height adjustment, and the strap on the soft rubber grip is designed to release if the pole becomes lodged.
5 SCOTT USA
Scott uses the strongest aluminum alloy commercially available for the World Cup's shaft and adds a wide-open strap with a lever lock, enabling skiers to easily adust the strap's buckle over gloved hands. The end product: a durable, lightweight pole for both racers and recreational skiers.
The Comp Z, Smith's lightweight performance model, combines a shaft made of high tensile-strength aluminum alloy with a bend that improves the angle that the pole tip enters the snow, enabling you to make the best possible pole plant with minimal wrist action.
The 100-percent graphite, tapered shaft makes the Cobra light and durable, but the grip makes it unique. Swix introduces a strapless grip that provides better blood circulation through fingers by exerting less pressure on the circulatory areas of the wrist¿and also releases easily if necessary.