Hey Jim! Good to hear from you!
1) Carbon is a very, very good insulator (far better than aluminum, which is a good conductor) and thus tends to stay at a more neutral temperature than most metals.
2) The choke grip is definitely effective, but only if your gloves are grippy, or you grab tight, or if you just don't pole plant terribly hard (maybe just choke up on side-hills rather than during aggressive descents if you're worried about it). Better yet, do all three! If you have wet, slippery gloves and don't grab onto the pole tight when you're choked up, you'll likely slip. I wish there was more of a grip there, but I think it has more to do with the gloves than the pole itself in this case.
3/4) The arms on the baskets are incredibly stiff and the lugs are designed so you can manipulate risers and toe levers instead of using the grip.
5) Carbon fiber is really good for a lot of things, but sharp/focused impacts are not its strong suit. I'd definitely advise against knocking snow off of your skis with any carbon pole. We haven't ever seen any broken Helio poles for what it's worth, but the vast majority of warranties we file for carbon poles are from user error. You get to the top of the climb, knock snow off of your skis and boots by whacking them with the lower third of your carbon poles, transition, start to head down, put your weight on it for the first pole plant of the descent and bam, the pole fails in the same place that you hit your ski with. Happens all the time. Carbon poles are awesome for just about every single other situation you could put a pole in except for a focused impact and rarely, if ever, do we see them fail because of a manufacturing defect. Because they're so light (less kinetic energy) you'd either have to hit a tree branch really, really hard or hit something sharper (like a ski edge) just right. But yeah, like I said earlier, maybe they nailed it with the Helio construction because we just haven't seen any of them break which is awesome and confidence inspiring.