Ski Pole Size Chart - How To Choose The Right Size Ski Poles

Many, an expert skier, will tell you that the right size skis, ski boots, and ski poles are the sine qua non for the ultimate ski experience. In this page we aim to provide you with expert advice on how to choose the right size ski poles, in order to make your ski experience wonderful.

Choosing The Right Size Ski Poles

Choosing the right ski size pole is a function of a number of factors, namely: ski length and width, ability level, ski style, the nature of the terrain on which you ski, etc. In the following sections, we will explain these factors as well as the relevance of each.

Ski Pole Size Chart

(feet and inches)
< 3'4" 32   < 101 80
3'5" - 3'8" 34   102 - 112 85
3'9" - 4'0" 36   113 - 122 90
4'1" - 4'4" 38   123 - 132 95
4'5" - 4'8" 40   133 - 142 100
4'9" - 5'0" 42   143 - 152 105
5'1" - 5'3" 44   153 - 160 110
5'4" - 5'6" 46   161 - 168 115
5'7" - 5'9" 48   169 - 175 120
5'10" - 6'0" 50   176 - 183 125
6'1" - 6'3" 52   184 - 190 130
> 6'4" 54+   > 191 135+

Selecting The Right Ski Poles

You should know that the purpose of ski poles is to help you maintain balance while you ski. Your choice of appropriate ski poles is dependent on roughly five factors, namely: length, type of ski activity, construction material, and ergonomic elements.

Pole Length

Considering that the purpose of ski poles is to help the skier maintain balance while skiing, the length of ski poles is very crucial to achieving this objective. A skier should select long ski poles if he or she plans to stick the pole in the snow and use it as a turning guide; in which case, if the ski pole is short, the skier may have problems balancing while turning. Another reason for using a long pole is when the skier skates on flat surfaces. The third reason for using a long pole is when the skier is participating in Nordic or cross-country skiing. Such long distance ski tournaments may wear out the skier easily, in which case he or she may use the poles for support.

On the other hand, skiers may choose to use short poles under the following circumstances. First is when the skier is skiing a massive amount of deep snow, and doesn't plan to stick the poles in the ground. Second is when the skier is skiing on a park, and doesn't want to hold on to weighty poles.

Type of Ski Poles

There are different types of ski poles on the market. More often than not, the type of ski pole that you use will depend on the type of skiing that you plan to do.

Alpine Ski Poles

Alpine ski poles are the most common of all the types of ski poles out there. The number one reason why these particular ski poles are very popular is simply because they are great for the majority of skiers. These poles are best suited for mountainous areas as well as many other types of terrains. Your average alpine ski pole has a comfortable handle, straight shaft, and a standard basket that makes it suitable for on and off piste use. These days, some brands of alpine ski poles incorporate additional features, most notably additional snow baskets.

Freestyle Ski Poles

Freestyle Ski Poles, also known as Park Ski Poles, as the name implies, are most appropriate for skiing on parks. They have thin shafts because they are less likely to suffer massive impact. Furthermore, they help the skier propel him or herself on the flat surface of packs. They are also designed to be short so that they don't come in the way of obstacles on flat surfaces.

Powder Ski Poles

Powder ski poles, also known as backcountry ski poles, are mostly conducive for terrains with soft snow/powdery terrains. Powder poles have thicker shafts that cushion them against massive impact. They also come in adjustable lengths that allow you to pack them and adjust them for your use. Another notable and very useful feature of the powder ski poles is their large snow baskets which provide the ski poles with a floating effect and prevents them from sinking into the snow.

Race Ski Poles

Race poles are designed to help skiers move extremely fast during races. Unlike the Powder, Alpine and Park ski poles, Race poles incorporate more high tech features. They are designed to be very thin and easy to carry around, thereby creating less drag for the skier and allowing him or her to ski faster. Because of their high tech constructions, features and strength, Race ski poles can be very expensive.

Nordic Ski Poles

Nordic ski poles are most appropriate for trekking, hiking, snowshoeing, skating, and cross-country skiing. Sometimes the Nordic ski poles are also known as Cross Country poles simply because they are great for cross country skiing. What are the common characteristics of the Nordic/Cross Country ski poles? They have thin shafts, spiked tips, and are very light, enabling the skier to plant the poles in the snow and propel him or herself further.

Construction Material

The materials with which ski poles are made can play a major role in determining whether a particular pole is appropriate for you or not. Depending on your needs and abilities, the type of construction material used in making the ski pole that you use can to a significant degree enhance or impede your ski experience. Here are the most common types of ski poles based on their construction material:

  • Aluminum Ski Poles: Aluminum is the most popular material that is used in making ski poles. The reason why many ski pole manufacturers use aluminum is simply because it has an immense tensile strength and is lightweight at the same time. Owing to the fact that aluminum is the most common material used in the manufacturing process of poles, Aluminum Ski Poles are the most popular of all the types of poles on the market. Other major reasons why these poles are the most used ski poles are because they are cheap and suit the average skier.
  • Fiberglass Ski Poles: Ski poles made of fiberglass are mainly meant for racers or very experienced skiers looking for maximum performance. Fiberglass ski poles are very thing and strong at the same time. Despite their lightweight and thinness, they do not compromise performance at all, which is the reason why racers love using them. It is worth noting that Fiberglass poles are more expensive than the aluminum poles.
  • Composite poles: These poles are made up of a combination of materials, including graphite, carbon, aluminum, resin, etc. Composite poles have greater shock-absorption ability than the traditional aluminum ski poles. In addition to being very good shock-absorbers, composite poles conduct the cold, thereby increasing the likelihood of keeping the skier's hands warm. These poles however, tend to break easily.
  • Carbon ski poles: They are very strong and elastic ski poles made of a number of materials, most notably carbon fiber. Because of the strength and elastic nature of these poles, they can be difficult to break, unlike most composite poles. They are also very costly.

Ergonomic Elements

Lastly, there are certain ergonomic factors you want to look out for when choosing ski poles. First, you want to check whether the grip is too strong or too weak for you, as it influences the level of control that you have over the poles.

Second, you want to check out for the quality and position of the poles' straps. The purpose of the straps on ski poles is to prevent the skier from losing the poles, should they fall. Some straps go around the skier's waist while others go on his or her wrists. Most straps are made of nylon to preclude tearing.

Third, you also want to check out the snow baskets of the poles. The purpose of the baskets is to prevent the poles from sinking too deeply into the snow while at the same time significantly improving balance. The baskets are positioned close to the bottom of the pole, and they come in two types: soft snow baskets and hard snow baskets. Soft snow baskets are large, and ideal for powdery terrains, whereas hard snow baskets are relatively smaller and are meant to be used for harder surfaces.

Last but not least, you should check for the tips of the poles, the purpose of which is to increase grip on the ground. While pole tips don't differ much, some poles have metallic tips while others have plastic tips.


Now that it has been explained how to determine whether or not a particular ski pole is appropriate for you, you can check our guide on how to select the most appropriate ski size, along with our guide on how to select the most appropriate ski boots.

At this point, we are confident that you are better informed to choose the right size skis and ski poles for your skiing adventure. Happy skiing!

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