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How to Choose the Right Length Ski Poles & Ski Pole Size Chart

Wondering what size ski poles do I need? Or if there are any other important considerations when it comes to choosing ski poles? If so, you've come to the right place. This guide will walk you through how to choose the right ski pole length so you can be on your way to skiing like a pro. Check out our ski pole size chart and read on below!

Ski poles serve two main purposes - aiding balance and mobility. Sometimes gravity isn’t enough to get you where you need to go on skis, from flat lift lines to mellow-pitched catwalks so you need the extra push. Ski poles also help you to balance while you’re skiing. This is why pole planting has evolved as a key piece of skiing technique, helping skiers to set up their turns and stay in rhythm. We all know we need them, but how long should your ski poles be?

How to Choose the Right Length Ski Poles?

Picking out the right ski pole length is pretty simple. For most scenarios, the right angle rule will serve you well. Grab a ski pole, flip it upside down, and grab it right under the basket. If the poles are the correct size, your elbow will sit comfortably by your hip and your arms will be bent at about a 90 degree angle. 

If you don’t have poles handy, you can grab a tape measure. With your elbow bent at about 90 degrees, measure the distance between your hand and the ground. From there, add about two inches to account for the portion of the pole that sticks into the snow. 

If you’re planning to ride primarily in the park, the purpose of your poles is a little different. On jumps and rails, your poles are used more for balance and can be shorter to ensure they’re out of the way while skiing switch and doing tricks. Many park riders ditch their poles all together to avoid getting tangled up.

Taking a look at our ski poles size chart below can also be a great way to figure out the right length for you.

Ski Pole Size Chart

Click your pole length to shop


Skier Height

Pole Length (in)

Pole Length (cm)

6'7" +56140
6'4" - 6'6"54135
6'1" - 6'3"52130
5'10" - 6'0"50125
5'7" - 5'9"48120
5'4" - 5'6"46115
5'1" - 5'3"44110
4'9" - 5'0"42105
4'5" - 4'8"40100
4'1" - 4'4"3895
3'9" - 4'0"3690
3'5" - 3'8"3485
< 3'4"32 and below80 and below

Adjustable Ski Poles 

Adjustable ski poles can be dynamically changed to different lengths. These types of poles are most commonly used for backcountry skiing and splitboarding since they can be extended to give you more pushing leverage while ascending or traversing and then shortened again for the descent. Some backcountry ski poles are specialized with features like a removable steel ice pick and high-tech adjustability features that you can rely on.

Other adjustable poles are much more streamlined and a great option if you’re shopping for young kids who grow like weeds. Considering kid's adjustable poles will greatly help you keep pace with their height.

Ski Pole Grips and Straps 

The grip is the part of the pole that you hold onto. There are a variety of different grip shapes, styles, and materials, so it's best to find a shape that is easy and comfortable for you to hold.

Many poles have a grip that is wider at the top and bottom to keep your hand in position, while some are smaller and don't have any set grooves. A small, rubber grip is easier to hold in small hands than a hard, plastic one with molded grooves that is ideal for larger hands. The ski pole straps are for when you fall or lose your grip. The loop straps keep your ski poles close by and ensure you won't have to hike uphill or go looking for them in powder if you take a tumble. When deciding on what poles you like, be sure to wear your gloves while trying out the poles to ensure they are a good fit. The length of your straps can also be adjusted to your preferred size. Many skiers like to go without straps too, so whatever you prefer is a-okay.

Shaft Materials 

Most ski poles are made of aluminum, carbon fiber, composite, or bamboo.

Aluminum ski poles are durable and the most economical material but weigh in on the heavier side compared to the rest. These are a great option for frequent use in the resort as they can handle some gnarly wear and tear over time. 

Carbon ski poles offer improved durability, a high strength-to-weight ratio, and are ultra light for long-distance travel in the backcountry when you’d like to avoid carrying any extra weight. 

Composite ski poles are made from a combination of materials to draw the benefits from each and are commonly used in hardpack snow or backcountry terrain as they are flexible, shock absorbent, and quite durable. 

Bamboo ski poles provide a nice balance of rigidity and flexibility, so they won't bend or snap like aluminum or carbon fiber poles occasionally do. While they aren't a very common type of pole to see on the slopes, they are the most eco-friendly and overall a great choice.

Basket Types 

Ski pole baskets keep the poles from sinking too far into the snow much like a snowshoe. A standard basket is about 5 centimeters across and is the most common style to see on the mountain. Larger ski pole baskets can be up to 10 centimeters across and are ideal for deep powder conditions. Baskets are occasionally interchangeable or replaceable if you happen to break one, lose one, or if you're looking to change the type of basket for different kinds of skiing.

Still have questions?

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