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Types of Cross Country Ski Poles
The three styles of cross country skiing are classic, skate and backcountry and there are some small differences in the poles for each discipline. From the construction point of view, the poles used in classic and skating are the exact same, but cross country skating requires a slightly longer pole length. It is easy to identify the last type, backcountry poles, as they have larger snow baskets that stop them from sinking into the soft snow that is often found in the backcountry.
How Long Should Ski Poles Be for Cross Country Skiing?
As already indicated above, the length of the cross country poles varies depending on the main purpose. Poles for classic cross country skiing should be around 30 cm shorter than your own height, whereas they should be around 20 cm shorter for cross country skating. Backcountry cross country ski poles should be close to 35 cm shorter than your own height.
What Are Cross Country Poles Made Of?
The shafts of cross country ski poles are primarily made of aluminum or carbon. Aluminum poles are a good choice for beginner skiers as they are very durable and inexpensive. More advanced poles are made with 50% carbon or 100% carbon. This is attractive to experienced skiers and racers, as the strong and lightweight carbon is much more energy-efficient.
Other features of the ski pole to consider are the grips and straps. Cork grips resist the cold better than their plastic counterparts. The straps can either be the loop style that balances the force from poling across your hands or the easy release system that is simple and convenient.