It's the Little Things: Poles

It's the Little Things: Poles

Whether you're a powderhound, bump master or cruiser, poles can affect how well you ski-and with the latest sticks on the market, your performance should be better than ever. Gripshave been redesigned for comfort and improved attack angles. New shafts are lighter and more durable. Quick-change baskets help the poles easily adapt to conditions. And while eye-catching graphics won't help you ski better, at least you'll look cool.

When You Buy Speed-seekers should opt for thin shafts and bent shapes. If you favor a lighter swing-weight, consider a composite pole. For durability, go with aluminum.

Carbon-Z $150
The Carbon-Z may look like it's for racers, but its design makes it ideal for non-competitive types. The pole's bend encourages positive pole plants and absorbs shock without sacrificing stiffness.

Vision String Trigger $90
This pole is designed for a sweet swing. It combines a carbon lower shaft and an aluminum upper shaft, shifting the center of gravity to the top third of the pole so it swings more easily.

Meteor $45
The 7075 aluminum Meteor by Masters-a division of Alpina-comes with an ergonomically correct grip and an easy-to-adjust strap, as well as attractive graphics and a competitive price.

RS1 $95
The RS1 is light for an aluminum pole and offers a comfortable swing-weight. It uses Scott's LeverLock strap, which makes it easy to get your hand through, even with the bulkiest of gloves.

Graphite Composite $80
This composite pole offers a nice swing-weight at a reasonable price. The grip has a 6-degree corrective angle, and the pole telescopes, so its height can adjust to fit a variety of conditions.

Mamba $109
Kerma uses a technique called filament-wound construction to produce the durable carbon- graphite Mamba. It comes with interchangeable powder and racing baskets for versatile skiers.