For most skiers, ski poles are their friends. They help with turn initiation, maintaining balance and control, and pushing through the flat spots. For most kids, poles become fun toys or even weapons.
Poles started out as wooden sticks and poles (hence the name) and have made their way through other materials such as bamboo, aluminum, fiberglass, composites, and carbon fiber. The least expensive options are finding two sticks in the woods or raiding your parent's garage. These options will likely last about an hour at the resorts because they will either break, or your friends will make fun of you. So your best options are buying aluminum, composite, or carbon poles.
Aluminum ski poles: Aluminum is a great choice for the novice skier that is trying to decide if they will take to skiing. Aluminum poles are cheap and fairly durable. Aluminum poles are an industry standard and are great for all levels of skier. Aluminum poles are both lightweight and very solid (they don't flex like composite and carbon poles). Aluminum poles can get dinged up and bend, so if you are worried about that, spring for the carbon poles!
Composite ski poles: Composite ski poles can be made up of fiberglass, resins, and other ingredients that make a pole more flexible than aluminum. If you fall on a composite pole, it is extremely rare that it will break or be bent out of shape. The disadvantages of composite poles is that they are a little more expensive and can be somewhat heavier than aluminum.
Carbon ski poles: The king of ski pole construction is carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is lightweight, strong, and can absorb a lot of shock. The carbon poles are much more expensive ($75-150 retail) than the aluminum and composite poles, but they really are that much better. They have the reduced weight like aluminum with the durability of composite. You get the best of both.
Whatever you decide, we have an excellent assortment of ski poles to fit your budget and performance needs.