Overall: Five Stars for an innovative adjustable-length pole with weight and deflection that come closer to high-end nordic racing poles than to typical backcountry poles. So a great alternative for racing if you don’t want to ski down with really long fixed-length nordic poles. Only reservation would be for skiers who tend to break gear more often than others, as I have heard of durability concerns.
Background on product familiarity: I bought these over the summer, so only limited use thus far.
First, the first impressions out of the box: When I substituted some random disc-style baskets from my spare parts collection for the stock powder baskets, the weight per pole was less than an ounce heavier than some high-end ~135cm nordic racing poles. The deflection is more than a high-end nordic racing pole, but still far less than any other backcountry pole I’ve ever tried (whether carbon or aluminum). Once shortened down to my typical skiing length of about 122.5cm, the extremely low swing weight is almost disconcerting initially, as I thought maybe the lower section was gone.
The adjustment mechanism looks like the typical clamp at first, but instead relies on little notches/detents at 2.5cm increments. So you need to adjust the pole to the exact length, but once dialed in, the locking mechanism does not need to rely on high clamping tension. Although the pole can be shortened all the way down to 100cm for climbing (and grasped even shorter with the grippy zone beneath the pole grip), if you like to ski down with a length between 100cm and 115cm then look elsewhere, since the shaft lacks any notches in between those two lengths. For airing out any water after the tour, the sections do not come apart entirely, although almost the entire lower shaft is still exposed to dry out.
Second impressions, in use: These are the perfect poles for when I want the adjustability to dial in the ski length when coming down, yet still want to retain the light weight and low deflection of a nordic race pole for going up. Adjustment takes maybe a second or so longer than with a clamp-style adjustment mechanism, but even when doing some short 600-vertical laps it wasn’t a big deal.
The grip is more like a foam hiking/trekking pole, but still comfortable. The strap is easy to tighten up, and stays tight, although loosening it up is a bit trickier.
Third impressions, for long-term durability: The poles have a beautifully well-crafted look to them. Sure, they’re still just ski poles, but something about the fit and finish is striking. However, I have read about some catastrophic failures, and I can see how that might be possible with such a thin and stiff shaft. Also, the small notches for the adjustment mechanism seem like they could be a weak point? And if you’re used to a clamp-like adjustment mechanism, then you might overstress the flip-tab by mistake.
Overall, if you’re someone who often breaks poles (or the proverbial anvil in a padded room), then this isn’t the model for you, but otherwise durability might be no worse than average for a carbon fiber ski pole (and probably better than nordic racing poles that aren’t intended for contact with metal ski edges, crampons, etc.).
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