Many skiers overlook the importance of having properly-sized ski poles. When it comes down to it, they are much more important to your skiing than just helping you shuffle around through the lift line. Correctly-sized ski poles will help you keep your weight balanced in the proper position and help you time your turns. For this reason, all skiers should measure it out to ensure their ski poles are the right length for them.
Three Steps to Sizing Your Ski Poles
Ski poles are sized in increments of two inches (or 5 centimeters). The below chart can work as a general guideline for choosing your ski pole length based on your height:
This chart can help give you an idea of what size pole you should be looking at, but we’d still recommend taking measurements to ensure complete accuracy. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a Skis.com Expert to learn how to size your ski poles. In reality, there’s really only 3 quick steps you must follow to figure out the optimal ski pole size for you.
1.) Bend your arm at a 90-degree angle and hold to your side as if gripping an imaginary ski pole.
2.) Use your other arm to measure from your thumb to the floor. Or have a friend measure this distance. You can also use a pencil to make a mark on a wall to measure this distance.
3.) The measurement you have from step #2 is your ski pole height measurement. If you were wearing your ski boots while measuring, this will be accurate, but if not add 1 ½ to 2 inches for a proper measurement.
Want to see these steps in action? Check out our video explainer below:
How Do I Know I’ve Got the Right Size?
How can you tell your pole is fitted right? A properly-fitting ski pole should allow you to bend your arm at 90 degrees and have your hand positioned around the shaft, directly underneath the basket.
If you ever find yourself trying to decide between sizes, the wise choice is to step one size down. If your ski pole is too long, it will cause you to stand too far upright and you’ll be riding in the backseat, with a loss of control of your skis. However, having a pole that is too short will cause you to lean too far forward and will throw your balance off. This is what makes finding the right size so crucial.
For more details on all of the specifics of and different types of ski poles, take a look at our Ski Pole Buying Guide. If you are looking for new (and better-fitting) ski poles, we’ve got a huge selection of them on the Ski Poles section of our site.