Ski Poles


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Six pairs of sticks that can keep up

The stuff we've owned for ages that we couldn't adventure without

Picking up a new sport? Repurposing these five items will save you some dough.

Learning to ski can be overwhelming. Here we help you narrow down what gear you need to take your skills to the next level.

When it comes to holiday giving, you should never have to choose. This year, our editors have pulled together 68 perfect ideas—priced from $4 to $50,000—guaranteed to make anyone on your list feel like a million bucks.

As backcountry skiing has boomed, so has splitboarding. In the past five years, participation has quadrupled, and companies from Black Diamond to Burton to K2 have tossed their hats into the ring with split-specific gear.

Cyclists, climbers, alpine skiers, and trail runners are all crossing over to nordic skate skiing for two simple reasons—it’s fun as hell, and it delivers a freakishly efficient full-body workout. First know this: skate skis aren’t alpine skis; you don’t choose them by length 
alone.

Outside picks the best gear for your alpine-touring setup, including the K2 WayBack skis.

Outside picks the essentials for January, including the Icebreaker Oasis Crewe Razor Shirt.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Jones Snowboards Mountain Twin.

Outside reviews the best gear in the 2012 Winter Buyer's Guide, including the Fischer RCS Carbonlite Skating Hole skis.

It's the little things that can make or break your day on the slopes.

If someone forgets or breaks their avalanche probe, these are great insurance. Pop off the baskets, screw the shafts together, and you’ve got a six-foot probe. Bummer: The mechanism that adjusts pole length can be finicky. Bonus: Comes with both winter and trekking baskets. life-link.com…

The Tartan’s ergonomic grips are the most comfortable of any here, and the aircraft-grade aluminum should stand up to years of abuse. scottusa.com…

All you really need: a standard-issue aluminum pole, with a comfy grip and some graphics. joystickskiing.com…

Chute fiends: This classic self-arrest pole has been redesigned with a non-removable (i.e., more confidence-inspiring) head and a pick cover (5/$10, not included)—so you won’t gut yourself in a wipeout. bdel.com…

LEKI‘s wicked-expensive but wicked-light SUPER SHARK POLES are worth ponying up for.

  Telescope this carbon-and-Kevlar pole out for more leverage and better balance while skinning or hiking in the backcountry, and don’t worry about snagging it on a tree (and dislocating your shoulder) on the way down: A new mechanism allows the strap to release under pressure. leki.com      …

  Aluminum poles are heavier, stiffer, and (usually) not as pricey as carbon-fiber sticks. But style don’t come cheap, and if you want the retro day-glo paint job and pimpin’ straps, well, you’re going to have to pay for it. scottusa.com          …

  The lightweight carbon-fiber Snooker has great swing weight and an ergonomic grip. But we picked it because its pool-cue graphic made us feel like Fast Eddie Felton on skis. Don’t shoot stick? The Free ($110) is more subtle, with barbed-wire graphics. exelsports.net          …

  The instrument of choice for the Austrian national ski team, this basic carbon-fiber pole has a Velcro strap for easy adjustment. Light, simple, and inspiring. Just knowing that the world’s best ski team uses them makes you feel fast. komperdell.com          …

You know your buddy with the dollar-sign cuff links and flashy ski jacket? The Freerides, with their plush, lined straps and faux-leather accents, are for that guy. komperdell.com…

  This aerodynamically designed pole is flat for speed and light for quick planting action. But fast doesn’t mean delicate. Because it’s made of carbon fiber and molded under extreme pressure, this pole is not likely to snap. swixsport.com          …

These limited-edition beauties come with their own carrying case and feature Leki’s proprietary Trigger grip system: An integrated harness pops onto and off of the pole’s grip, so you don’t have to constantly shove your gloved hand in and out of the straps. The technology is also available in…

  Break poles like Bode breaks rules? BD’s strongest carbon-fiber pole has a lower Kevlar wrap to further protect them against your skis’ edges. Plus oversize baskets stayed afloat even in powder. Heading into the backcountry? Also available in a collapsible version, with an aluminum upper shaft, as the Carbon…

Presenting our just-discovered Periodic Table of Outside Elements, a breakthrough in mapping the scientific building blocks of big, bad fun. We've alchemized gold, steel, titanium, wood, leather, wool, silicon, plastic, and carbon fiber into an array of 56 high-design gifts that you'll definitely want to give. And, just as important, get.