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Ski Poles

woman in pink coat and black pants skiing on Line Pandora skis

How to Choose Ski Poles

Looking to find the right ski poles for an upcoming trip to the mountains? It can be confusing with various factors like ski pole size and material to consider. Don't worry, this guide will help you choose the perfect poles to enhance your skiing experience and take it to the next level!

Ski poles are designed to aid balance and mobility, making their length crucial. Poles that are too long can be cumbersome and get in the way, while poles that are too short can result in a sore back. The right pole length can help you navigate difficult terrain and provide the necessary push in flat areas.

To test the length of ski poles at a ski shop, you can perform a simple trick. Flip the pole upside down, hold it below the basket, and place the handle on the ground. If your arm forms a 90-degree angle, the pole is the right size. While skiing, you may find that your preference changes over time, opting for a shorter or longer pole. However, the 90-degree rule works well for your first pair.

You can also measure the ski pole length at home by using a tape measure. Measure from your elbow to the ground, which will provide the same measurement as the 90-degree test. If this is your first set of ski poles and you're unsure of the appropriate length, following the chart below will ensure a satisfying choice.

Ski Pole Size Chart

Ability Level

When it comes to ski poles, ability level doesn't have a huge impact on the length or type of pole you should buy. However, if you are a beginner, we recommend not using poles for the first 1-3 days on the mountain. As you adjust to skiing and learn good technique, poles can get in the way and be more of a hassle. Once you feel comfortable and can navigate the bunny hill, you can pick up those poles and head to the big hill.

Adjustable Poles

L9 adjustable ski pole

While fixed-length poles are the most common and affordable, there are also adjustable ski poles available that serve the same purpose. Adjustable poles can be beneficial for backcountry skiers who require a longer pole for uphill pushing and balance, but prefer a shorter, conventional length pole for downhill skiing. They are also great for rapidly growing young kids and teens, as one set of adjustable poles can accommodate their changing height each season.

Adjustable poles are slightly more expensive, so if you are on a budget, sticking to fixed-length poles is perfectly fine. However, if you have a little more flexibility in your budget, opting for adjustable poles can be very convenient and help you dial in your preferred ski pole length.

Ski Pole Grips and Straps

When it comes to pole grips, personal preference plays a significant role. Don't get too caught up in the details when choosing your first poles. Most grips are quite similar, but if you want to ensure comfort, it's best to visit your local ski shop and physically feel the grips.

Straps are essential for keeping your poles close to you in case of a fall. While some people prefer skiing without putting the straps on, remember that if you do fall, your poles might get stuck uphill or buried in the snow, and digging out poles is a lot less fun than skiing. Certain poles have detachable straps, which make getting on and off lifts easier. However, these straps are less common and slightly more expensive, although many skiers highly recommend them. If you are interested check out Leki Poles.

Basket Types

Salomon powder basket ski pole

Powder Basket

Salomon regular basket ski pole

Regular Basket

Baskets are small plastic pieces located at the bottom of the poles. They prevent the poles from sinking too deep into the snow, making it difficult to push. There are two types of baskets: regular and powder. Regular baskets, slightly smaller, work well for everyday skiers and even on powder days. Powder baskets are larger and provide a larger platform, preventing the pole from sinking too deep while allowing for effective pushing and pole planting. Some poles come with interchangeable baskets, offering versatility depending on the snow conditions, which is a great feature.

Shaft Materials

The last consideration is the shaft material of the poles. The most common options are aluminum, carbon, and composite. Aluminum ski poles are the go-to choice, being light, affordable, and durable. Most poles are made of aluminum and have been a reliable option for years. Carbon ski poles are lighter, stronger, and more durable, making them ideal for avid skiers who are tough on their equipment or seek top-of-the-line performance. Composite poles combine qualities from all three materials, offering a balance of lighter weight, increased strength, but also a slightly higher cost compared to aluminum poles.

Level Nine Sports Ski Poles

At Level Nine Sports, we take pride in offering ski poles that are crafted with durability and performance in mind. Our ski poles are constructed from high-quality aluminum, ensuring their strength on the slopes. We offer three models, each designed to cater to the needs of every skier.

Standard Poles: Our standard downhill poles are the go-to choice for skiers seeking a reliable and straightforward option. With their sturdy aluminum construction, adjustable nylon straps, and regular and powder baskets included, these poles are perfect for tackling any slope.

Adjustable Poles: For those who value versatility, our adjustable poles are the perfect solution. Featuring a convenient adjustable mechanism, you can easily customize the pole length to match your preferred skiing style or terrain. The strong aluminum build, along with the adjustable nylon straps and both regular and powder baskets, these poles a great choice for any rider.

Cork Grip Poles: Experience comfort and high-performance with the cork grip poles. The natural cork grips offer exceptional comfort and a strong grip. These poles provide a secure and ergonomic hold, allowing you to maximize control and precision. Along with the adjustable nylon straps and both powder and regular baskets, the cork grip poles deliver a fantastic skiing experience.

Need More Assistance?

If you have any questions about ski poles or need further assistance, don't hesitate to visit Level Nine or contact our customer service. The staff are knowledgeable and experienced and can help you find the best gear that suits your needs. They can provide valuable insights, recommend specific models, and even assist with adjusting the poles to your preferred length. Investing in the right ski poles is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable skiing experience, so take the time to explore your options and make an informed decision.