Brody's Guide To Ski Poles

Brody's Guide To Ski Poles

Got questions about ski poles? This guide should answer all of them. If it doesn’t, feel free to ask us your question directly!

Ski Poles - 3 Key Factors To Consider

When it comes to choosing a pair of poles, there are three key things you need to consider beforehand:

  • Ski pole length (How long do your poles need to be?)
  • Ski pole basket
  • Ski pole strap

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Record your results in cheatsheet below while you read this guide in case you have further questions for an in-store skiing expert:

3 Steps to Ski Pole Sizing

Measuring a pole to see if it’s the right height for you is easy. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Put on a pair of shoes or boots.
  2. Take a pole and flip it upside down. The grip should be planted on the floor.
  3. Hold the pole underneath the basket. If your elbow is creating a 90-degree angle, the pole is perfect. (Figure A)
    • If your elbow is less than 90 degrees, try a shorter pole. (Figure B)
    • If your elbow is more than 90 degrees, try a longer pole. (Figure C)


Figure A - A person holding a properly sized ski pole with their elbow at a 90 degree angle Figure B - A person holding a ski pole that is too long with their elbow bent at under 90 degreesFigure B - A person holding a ski pole that is too short with their elbow bent at an angle higher than 90 degrees


Ski Poles Too Short / Too Long?

Ski poles are measured in 5cm increments, so if you’re stuck between two poles and neither is quite right, pick the shorter of the two poles.
For example, let's say you're stuck between ski poles sized at 120cm and 125cm. Go with the poles at 120cm.

Ski Pole Size Chart

Here’s a ski pole sizing chart to help guide you towards the right pair:

Skier Height Pole Length (inches) Pole Length (cm)
Skier Height Pole Length (inches) Pole Length (cm)
Under 3'4" 32 80
3'5" - 3'8" 34 85
3'9" - 4'0" 36 90
4'1" - 4'4" 38 95
4'5" - 4'8" 40 100
4'9" - 5'0" 42 105
5'1" - 5'3" 44 110
5'4" - 5'6" 46 115
5'7" - 5'9" 48 120
5'10" - 6'0" 50 125
6'1" - 6'3" 52 130
6'4" - 6'6" 54 135
6'7" and up 56 14

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Parts of a Ski Pole

Ski Pole Strap

Ski pole straps are meant to help you keep hold of your poles in case you lose your grip or slip and fall. Your hand should go thru the loop and grip the handle over the strap.

Some ski poles are cleverly designed with a quick-release for convenience. You can also buy gloves with the strap built it, like the Leki gloves we carry online and in-store.

Tip: Wear a pair of ski gloves or mitts when trying out pole straps to make sure you can take them on and off easily.

Ski Pole Basket

The basket is the round disk at the tip of the ski pole. It’s usually made of plastic and it's meant to stop your poles from sinking into the snow.

  • For powdery snow conditions, go with a wider basket.
  • Groomed terrain (like what you’d find at resorts such as Blue Mountain, Mount St. Louis Moonstone, Horseshoe Valley) requires poles with a smaller basket.

Congrats! You completed this guide. ⛷️ 

That's it! Hope you found this guide to be useful, but if you still have questions, contact us anytime! Happy skiing!

-- Brody

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