Also known as the Gara Aero World Cup poles, these Ski Trab sticks are designed for race abuse. Made with Ergal aluminum, the poles have a bending resistance of 60kg / mmq, meaning they are more resilient than a typical carbon fiber pole. While not the lightest, they make up for it in price and durability. The race baskets are a new design from Trab, with equal parts powder push and firm snow leverage. The tips are capped with a sharp race pick so you won’t have any slippage. The handles are a lightweight cork supported by ample adjustable straps, great for adding that extra push to your stride. The Piuma race poles come in sizes ranging from 110cm - 145cm and should last you a few seasons.
16mm thick Ergal aluminum shafts are strong yet lighter than most.
Comfortable support straps help you get leverage from your arms.
Gara (race) baskets cup soft snow and don’t pry the tips out.
Update 2019/20: These poles have been replaced by a new Quick Change version.
What does the SkimoCo crew think about pole sizing for rando racing and touring? I'm 6'3" aka 190cm or so, have traditionally raced with 160cm nordic poles and toured with 145cm fully expanded BD poles. It doesn't look like Trab et al. even make race poles longer than 150cm, and based on what I've read it sounds like I should probably size down to 140-145cm for steeper race courses.... thoughts?
Hey TSB! Dang, I like skiing with long poles, but man 150cm poles seems huge even for a relatively tall dude with a nordic background! I would tend to agree, I think 140-145 is probably more of what you should be looking for. I am 5' 9" (175cm) and ski with 125cm poles for everyday touring (could definitely go shorter though, I have gotten bucked into the backseat during jump turns because of the pole length) but will be getting a longer pair (130-135cm) for racing. Short poles definitely have their place and steep courses are where they shine. Better arm positioning on the way up for optimal power, better control on the steep descents, and it also keeps your entire arm from kicking way up above your head during a sidehill or steep booter, which helps keep your heart rate lower during a race or tour. Don't tell the other nordic racers that secret though, we need all the help we can get when trying to keep up with you folks that were born with triple digit VO2 maxes.
Ha! Thanks Trace...awesome. Gonna go with the 140cm length for these and see how they feel. I took a look at some Euro-TV clips of World Cup races and there's no obvious consensus on the racer's pole-length choices. Some of the sprint/vertical racers seem to go for crazy-long (almost chin height, which would be 165-70 for me) whereas it looks like the Italian team that destroyed everyone last year (Lenzi-Eydalin I think?) were going for below-the-shoulder (=135-40 for me). There's definitely something of a familiarity advantage for me with the longer poles but a close look at the WC racers makes it clear that their poling technique has little in common with traditional classic skiing.
These poles are half the cost of their Trab elite counterpart poles but they are still exceptionally light and the tip poles and baskets do a great job of planting in the firmest of conditions and propelling a skier forward. The cork grips are really comfortable and so far seemingly durable and the wrist harnesses are easily removable with a well thought out / designed quick release button on the top of the pole. The grips are easily removable to cut down the pole shaft with the help of a heat gun. I've put these poles through a number of compromising situations with heinous ski conditions and they've bent and snapped back into place. Like all Ski Trab products they're well thought out with impeccable attention to detail.
Comment on this review:
Are the grips on these poles removable (i.e. like XC ski's?)
I don't see why not. The grips are made of cork and some really hard plastic that's textured for extra grip. They are glued on but you could probably just heat them up like a normal grip and they'd slide right off. What will you be replacing them with? -Trace