Features In the backcountry, choose telescoping models that let you adjust the length for traversing hills (tip: shorten the uphill pole) and collapse for easy packing. Skiers who head into avalanche territory can save weight with poles that convert to probes. Small snow baskets are best for skiing flat, groomed trails; get bigger ones for better purchase on off-trail terrain.
Length Nordic poles should reach your armpits (about 80 percent of your height). To size an AT or tele pole, grab the shaft just above the basket and turn it upside-down so that the grip is on the floor. Your elbow should be bent at 90 degrees.