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A primo ski pole is like a primo pair of underwear: You’ll never know you what you’re missing until you try it. So after years of using just any pole that would get him up and down the mountain, our Gear Editor was delighted with the performance of the new Via Carbon.
“Everything about this pole is engineered to facilitate your touring experience,” he says. “From the pole head to the grip to the shaft, it’s the complete package.” The hard plastic top has a chunky, hooked head that’s perfect for flipping heel risers and boot buckles or clearing snow off your skis. It’s more substantial than similar designs on other poles we’ve used, and makes those processes all the easier. (Bonus: The wrist straps are easily removable via a buckle, so you can take them off for backcountry days and easily reattach them to use the pole in the resort.)
With a two-section, all-carbon shaft, the Via Carbon is light, but it’s resilient. We jammed ours between rocks on boulder field approaches to Colorado couloirs, put our full weight on them during late-season stream crossings, and tossed them into our car without them sustaining more than cosmetic damage. The shaft also has clearly marked lines for every centimeter, making dialing in a precise length a cinch.
Finally, the Via Carbon has an exceedingly comfortable grip. It extends to the flip lock and has a knob in the middle to rest your hand for “normal” placement; the rest of its length allows for easy adjustments on the fly. Is this grip unique? On its own, no. But combined with the rest of the pole’s features and its gossamer weight, it’s part of the package that makes the Via Carbon the pole we’ll use on every backcountry day.
$145 per pair; 15.4 oz. (short); short (37-49 inches), long (45-57 inches)