Poles 2003

Gear
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Gear
Gift Guide 1202

For the Racer in You

This pole should come with a helmet as an accessory. Goode, the world's largest producer of composite poles, designed this new model with performance speed skiers in mind. The 9303 World Cup DH ($150), with its stiff but lightweight carbon shaft, is built to react as quickly as a racer's razor-sharp reflexes. goode.com



Total Control
You'll be hard pressed to find a lighter pole. The Swix Viper CT3 ($110-$120) is an ultralight graphite-composite, tapered-shaft pole wrapped internally with a woven fabric for added strength. A smartly designed tab to keep your gloved hand in place and an updated dual-density grip provide extraordinary control. It's a stiff pole designed for racing, but its quick-flick personality is ideal for freeskiers and recreationalists, too. swixsport.com



Best of Both Worlds
Leki's Vision Viper ($100) has an aluminum-alloy upper shaft for strength and durability and a lightweight carbon-composite lower shaft for quick handling. A bend below the grip provides a Positive Angle shaft, which helps with forward pole plants. A new easy-to-grasp contoured grip, interchangeable baskets and Leki's Trigger strap-retention system also add to the mix. leki.com



Keep Your Options Open
The Life-Link Variant Carbon Fiber ($140) is nothing if not versatile. Its carbon-fiber lower-shaft construction makes it light enough for cruising groomers; the 10 inches of adjustment mean it's suitable for alpine touring; and the removable baskets allow for quick conversion into a probe. The innovative design includes an oval aluminum upper, which prevents the locking mechanism from spinning, and a tacky grip on the lower shaft for easy adjustments in cold, wet conditions. life-link.com



Grip It and Rip It
Scott's Contour Grip System highlights the aircraft-grade aluminum-alloy Firewall ($85). Its anatomically designed grip system fits the curve of the hand and separates the index finger for better control by creating more swing leverage at the top of the pole. It's durable, functional, fairly lightweight and inexpensive. scottusa.com



Premium on Pride
The ski slopes are a great place to show your true colors, as long as you do it subtly. That's why Tomic designed this American Flag aluminum-alloy pole ($38). It's a basic pole without any bells and whistles, except, of course, for Old Glory's red, white and blue. A portion of the proceeds of the pole will be donated to the United Way of New York City's September 11th fund. tomicmfg.com