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Purchasing Ski Poles: What Beginners Need to Know

Yahoo Contributor Network

If you are thinking about learning how to ski this winter, you'll undoubtedly need to invest in a few pieces of ski equipment. One item that you'll need to invest in is a pair of ski poles. Selecting the right pair of ski poles is crucial because they have an influence over your balance, stability and overall performance on the slopes. With that said, here are some of the features that you'll want to look for before buying a pair:

Shaft Design

First, you'll want to take a look at the poles' shaft design because it will help to determine your stance. There are two basic shaft designs to choose from, straight and curved. Curved shafts are more appropriate for giant slalom skiers whereas straight shafts are better suited for cross country skiers.

Pole Length

Second, you'll want to check out the ski poles' length because it has an influence on your posture as well as your skiing. For example, I have found that if I try and use a pair of ski poles that are too big for me, I end up dragging the poles across the snow. I also end up having a hard time turning properly.

Grip Type and Straps

Third, you'll also want to examine the poles' grips and straps. They come in different shapes, sizes and styles. Therefore, you'll want to select a grip and strap type that suits the shape of your gloved hand as well as your skiing style. For instance, some grips are designed for slalom racing. They tend to come with a shield that protects the skiers' fingers during gate punches.

Tips and Baskets

Fourth, you'll want to inspect the ski poles' tips and baskets. They help to determine how far the poles will sink into the snow, which has an effect on your balance and stability. In general, small baskets are suitable for use on compressed snowpack. Large baskets, on the other hand, tend to work best in light snow. I'd suggest that you consider buying a pair of ski poles with interchangeable baskets and tips. That way, you'll be ready for a variety of circumstances.

Weight and Durability

Last but not least, you'll want to take a pair of ski poles' weight and durably into consideration. After all, you'll be using them throughout your entire skiing session. Based on my experience, I'd suggest that you consider investing in a lightweight but durable pair of poles. Personally, I find that combination the most efficient.

Killeen Gonzalez enjoys winter sports and recreation with her family. She has also traveled extensively.

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