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Best Overall: Black Diamond Ski Poles at Amazon "Performs in practically every ski scenario, from touring and back- and side-country to resort skiing."
Best Buy: Salomon Artic Ski Poles at Amazon "Lightweight (less than a quarter of a pound each) and quite strong for the low price."
Best for Going Green: Soul Poles Original Ski Poles at Soul Poles "With all-rubber handles and basked, along with a metal tip and a treated bamboo shaft."
Best for Speed Touring: Dynafit Carbonio Ski Pole at Moosejaw "Length-adjustable via the Safety Snap System, designed for quick adjustments in a flash."
Best for Customization: Grass Sticks Original Ski Poles at Grass Sticks "Delivers a retro-awesome style, flex better than most metals, are very light, and very durable."
Best for the Backcountry: G3 Via Carbon Ski Poles at Backcountry "Form-fitting, comfortable, and easy to remove if you’re skiing in avalanche-rich terrain."
Best for Racing: Leki World Cup Ski Poles at Amazon "Inspired by the shape of aircraft wings to reduce wind resistance and optimize swing weight."
Best for Going Anywhere: Atomic Backland FR at Amazon "You can make adjustments or repairs wherever your ambitions might take you."
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Black Diamond Razor Carbon Ski Poles
Though they’re marketed as backcountry-specific poles, the Razor Carbons from powerhouse Utah-based Black Diamond performs in practically every ski scenario, from touring and back- and side-country to resort skiing. The upper section of these telescoping poles consists of 14-mm aluminum that’s both light and durable, while the lower part is made of 12-mm carbon fiber for sheer strength in all scenarios.
Adjustment is a breeze thanks to the Flintlock system, which can easily be controlled while wearing gloves; measurements on the poles’ shafts make it a breeze to adjust accurately on the fly. A recently redesigned grip integrated an ergonomic design for hours-long comfort when turning or touring, while the addition of rubber grips at the upper sections make it easy to use the poles while climbing without pausing to make any length adjustments.
They stay secure thanks to an adjustable, ergonomic wrist strap with a plastic-ladder buckle that pops out if you take a serious fall, while the four-inch powder baskets can be easily twisted off the tip to make it them more svelte for traveling.
Best Buy: Salomon Artic Ski Poles
Leaning into simplicity over high-tech configurations, the Artics from Salomon are lightweight (less than a quarter of a pound each) and quite strong for the low price. Thank the use of aluminum 6061 for that latter characteristic, which makes the pole far more durable than its 18-mm diameter might suggest. In addition to choosing from an array of colors and lengths, the Arctic poles also include an interchangeable basket system. For deep powder or off-piste exploration, go big. More traditional groomed skiing? Go with the smaller option. The dual-material all-mountain grip provides confident handling through the gloves, and the wrist straps are easy to adjust to cater to your ski style.
Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best ski gloves.
Best for Going Green: Soul Poles Original Soul Ski Poles
Skiers have a special relationship with the climate: without snow, there would be no skiing. That stood as the premise for founding Soul Poles, a Utah-based company founded by two former U.S. Ski Team racers. By making their ski poles out of bamboo, they’re reducing the overall carbon footprint on the environment because that crop produces more oxygen and absorbs more CO2 than trees.
Bamboo also produces three times as much lumber as trees. And—let’s be honest—the bamboo shafts carry a pretty cool retro aesthetic. But it’s not just about a green stance and a killer look. Bamboo is insanely durable, more prone to flexing than breaking, with a durable shelf life that’s reinforced by the brand’s two-year guarantee on all products.
The hand-made Original Soul leans heavily into that vintage vibe, with all-rubber handles and basked, along with a metal tip and a treated bamboo shaft. You can choose between two basket sizes, a rainbow of colors for both the handle and basket, and sizing that breaks out in two-inch increments from 40 up to 56.
Best for Speed Touring: Dynafit Carbonio Ski Pole
For those who find ski touring a touch too meditative and slow, there’s always speed touring, typically found in race-like scenarios where time is always part of the equation. This means you want a pole that’s light and reliable, which the Dynafit Carbonio Pole delivers in droves. This limited-edition all-carbon model is length-adjustable via the Safety Snap System, designed for quick adjustments in a flash.
It weighs just 208 grams, but the all-carbon shaft assures boisterous strength and flex, with a flexible aluminum basket partnered with an all-aluminum tip. The handle comes with their 2K Ergo Grip, an ergonomic configuration with three grip zones to accommodate hand holds in all scenarios (climbing, skinning, skiing), along with a seamless strap to keep the pole always where you want it.
For those who are looking to shave ounces off their kit and seconds off their personal best times, this may give you the edge you desire.
Best for Customization: Grass Sticks Original Ski Poles
Grass Sticks utilizes sustainable bamboo as the central material for the shafts in their ski poles. And their poles deliver a retro-awesome style, flex better than most metals, are very light, and very durable. Grass Sticks makes each pair of hand-made poles to order, each one sanded and finished with a UV/Moisture/Cold-proof clear coat, along with soft rubber grips and 100 percent recycled poly straps.
The tip is made of premium, no-slip carbide for secure purchase on variable conditions, with interchangeable baskets; you just need two minutes, a screwdriver, and an array of different baskets to choose the best basket for the conditions or color preference. The base option comes with a fixed strap, though you can upgrade to adjustable straps, or blow out the colors with one of their many MNT Straps (Hawaiian print, crisp flame, or pink camo, etc., all hand-cut, hand-sewn, and hand-punched).
They also offer touring models with an additional grip positioned two-thirds up the length of the poles as well as a “Torched” model, which uses a design technique from cane fly-fishing rods to add some charred flare to the shafts, and come with a marine-grade clear-coat finish.
Each pair of poles includes a fit guarantee, a 30-day return policy, and a lifetime warranty. The only potential hurdle is that they take up to five days to make after you’ve ordered. But some things are worth rejecting the promise of two-day shipping.
Best for the Backcountry: G3 Via Carbon Ski Poles
G3 knows the backcountry, and the Via Carbon poles are the lightest in their focused arsenal of high-quality ski poles. The two-piece carbon shafts are easy to adjust thanks to the forged aluminum lever with an offset cam that’s very glove-friendly, while carbide tip bites into ice and snow, and even provides confident purchased on rock, so you can use them off-season as a pair of trekking poles; an extra trekking basket comes off the shelf.
An asymmetrical winter-specific powder basket reduces drag and eliminates the cantilever effects in hard pack or when perfecting steep terrain kick turns. The ergonomic dual-density plastic grip has been shaped for comfort in a variety of positions, with a special emphasis on side-hill skinning, while the Quick Flip Utility Tab at the top of the handles lets you flip your backcountry binding risers without having to bend over. This configuration also aids in precise pole plants, with two plastic eyelets to let you tie on your gloves so they can dry, or so you can use the poles to attach your tent lines.
With slightly wider wrist straps than your typical ski resort poles, the ergonomic configuration is form-fitting, comfortable, and—perhaps most importantly—easy to remove if you’re skiing in avalanche-rich terrain.
Plan your next ski trip with our guide to where to ski and snowboard in the United States.
Best for Racing: Leki World Cup Racing GS Ski Poles
If your ambitions including attempting to match the Super-G ambitions of Bode Miller or Lindsey Vonn, you know that the paramount characteristic of a solid racing ski pole is its low profile. Leki’s World Cup Racing GS poles use 18-mm, high-strength aluminum for the shafts, designed in an airfoil profile inspired by the shape of aircraft wings to reduce wind resistance and optimize swing weight.
The Race Pro G Grip is equally aerodynamic, with a narrow cut and a soft rubber texture for assured grip without slip, while the Trigger S release technology assures that the adjustable straps will free you from your poles in the unlikely event of a serious crash.
Even the basket has been designed to be aerodynamic, with a cone-shaped opening that flushes up against the pole shaft, with a narrow footprint with modest teeth that still grip without biting and dragging in the hard pack. That traction is further enhanced by the poles’ narrow carbide tips for precise pole planting and solid purchase on ice and rock.
No, the World Cup Racing GS Ski Poles won’t make you ski like an Olympian. But they will remove one of the excuses.
Best for Going Anywhere: Atomic Backland FR
If you’re the type of skier who doesn't want to be confined to a resort’s in-bounds sections, the Backland FR from Atomic is your one-tool quiver for all different types of skiing. Developed with freeskier Chris Benchetler, the telescoping poles are made of strong, lightweight aluminum alloy along with a bike-inspired FR grip that won’t slip and an 85-mm powder basket for better float. The glove-friendly power lock lets you adjust the length from 110 to 130 centimeters, while the high-powered carbide tip will stand up the rigors of the inevitable encounters with rocks and trees. But perhaps best of all, the poles include ski-binding screwdrivers concealed within the shaft (9-mm Phillips and flat-heads) so you can make adjustments or repairs wherever your ambitions might take you.
Our writers spent 12 hours researching the most popular ski poles on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 10 different ski poles overall, screened options from 8 different brands and manufacturers, read over 20 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 7 of the ski poles themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.