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Buying Cross Country Ski Poles

Cross Country Ski Pole Lengths

When selecting cross country ski poles, you should aim to buy poles that fit your height and your skiing style:

  • Cross country classic: 30 cm/12 inch shorter than your height (At competitions the allowed max height is person height x 0.83)
  • Cross country skating: 20 cm/8 inch shorter than your height
  • Backcountry: Choose an adjustable ski pole with a large basket

Stiffness and Weight

Cross country ski poles are made of either fiberglass, carbon or a combination of both. Apart from that, some models are also available in aluminum – these cross country ski poles are often meant for backcountry. The amount of carbon is decisive for the stiffness of the ski pole. Accordingly, cross country ski poles consisting of 100 % carbon are more stiff than poles consisting of 50 % carbon and 50 % fiberglass.

The advantage of rather stiff cross-country ski poles is that you get as much power transfer while skiing as possible. In this way, your effort will be transformed to maximum speed in the track. With a softer pole, you will not be able to transfer as much power. On the other hand, a softer pole is more gentle to the arms when skiing long distances. If you are having trouble with sensitive elbows, it would be of advantage to use a softer pole, especially when roller skiing.

The stiffness of the cross country ski pole also has influence on your weight – the stiffer the ski pole is, the lighter it will also be. With a light ski pole, you need less power when moving the arms forward after each stroke.

In other words: If you are a fast runner and you need the best equipment, you should buy stiff and light cross country ski poles. If you are skiing in a more steady pace, paying attention to your surroundings and enjoying the nature rather than focusing on speed and exercise, a softer ski pole will do just fine.

Cross Country Ski poles for Backcountry

If you want to buy cross country ski poles for backcountry skiing, you need to choose cross country ski poles with large baskets, which ensures you a bigger pressure surface against the loose snow outside of the marked tracks.

Apart from that, it is a good idea to choose an adjustable ski pole, since you will need different lengths of the right and left ski pole, when for example walking on slopes and hillsides.

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