What Length Ski Poles Do I Need?

Ski poles, although simple pieces of equipment, are essential to being successful in the sport. When determining which ski poles are best suited to an individual, the length of the ski poles is the most important factor.

Determining Proper Length

To find a ski pole that is of the proper length for your needs, the first step is to turn the pole upside down with the hand grip pointing downward. Position the hand grip on the ground and grasp the pole with the basket (protruding circular part surrounding the tip) resting on your fist.

Next, position your body, including your arms, in a skier's stance with the hand grip in front of your feet. If your forearm and upper arm create a 90 degree angle, the ski pole is the correct length.

Too Long

Poles that are too long will cause you to remain in a position that is too upright. If ski poles are too long for your needs, they can be easily shortened, typically, at the place of purchase. You must be careful, though, because removing as little as one half inch from the ski poles can cause a significant difference in your ability to ski properly.

Too Short

Ski poles that are shorter than the length needed, will cause you to bend too far forward, creating an increased potential for injury. This stance will create significant difficulty when trying to manage a solid pole plant in the snow. Poles that are too short, also will affect your balance negatively.

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About the Author

Brandy Robertson began writing professionally in 2008. Some of her published pieces can be found at Her writing focuses on providing post-secondary guidance from her six years as an employee with Brandon University, and advice on volunteerism from many years of community involvement. Robertson is pursuing an honors Bachelor of Arts in English from Brandon University.