Of all the equipment skiers use, ski poles may be the most unchanging. Poles are usually straight, thin, lightweight pieces of metal with a basket on one end and a grip on the other. Changes over time have been incremental and for the general skiing public, it has been safe to mostly assume that a pole, is a pole, is a pole.
At least it’s just a pole, until it carries your skis. Then a pole is a convenience, and for families lugging lots of gear, it just might be a life-saver.
This season, Quickpoles introduced a ski pole that does double-duty and can carry your skis. A specially designed grip fits into the heel piece of most bindings, while an adjustable clamp on the pole fits into the toe piece. Click the pole into place, where your boot would usually be, and your pole has just become a sturdy handle.
Quickpoles are the brainchild of Stuart Starry, a skier who in 2008 realized there had to be a better way to carry skis and poles. Starry, and his business partner Blake Pratz, spent three years developing the patent-pending Quickpoles mechanism.
I recently received a set of Quickpoles to review. Here’s my take on what Quickpoles calls their “rEvolution” ski poles.
The Good Stuff
1. No straps, no gadgets, nothing to lose or forget. To snap your Quickpoles onto your skis, all you need are your poles and your skis. Nothing else.
2. Easy to adjust. Quickpoles require 10 minutes of first-time set up using their easy to follow, illustrated instructions, skis, poles and a screwdriver. That’s all. Nothing else.
3. Easy to use. Once the poles are fit to the bindings, the poles snap in easily and securely. Here’s how to do it. A) Remove boots from skis. B) Unsnap the clip on the pole. C) Place the handle tightly against the heel piece. D) Click the clip into the toe piece. E) Stand up, pick up the skis and walk away.
To release the poles from the skis is even easier. A) Place the thumb on the clip. B) Pull the release trigger. C) Snap the clip back onto the pole. One minute, or less, and you’re ready to click in your boots and ski.
The Tricky Stuff
1. Carrying everything with one hand can be tricky. Quickpoles recommends that users carry one pole/ski per hand. To carry both skis and poles in one hand, Quickpoles suggests staggering the skis to keep the toe pieces from bumping each other and tilting the outside ski up as you grip the two handles. If you don’t like the idea of banging your edges, don’t try this. But if you have to carry a lot of gear, or hold a small child’s hand, you can do it.
2. Too long for tight spaces? No matter how you carry your skis, you have to be careful carrying your equipment horizontally. Walking with the tips forward and pointed down (as suggested by Quickpoles) allowed me to keep an eye on the entire assembly and avoid bumping into people. But if you’re in a busy, crowded place, you’ll need to be careful.
The Upshot: Great Idea, Great Design, Solid Pole
Checking out my new Quickpoles, my usually skeptical husband was impressed. “Someone really put a lot of thought into this design. It’s good,” he told me. I have to agree. The pole mechanism is easy to use. Moving parts are kept to a minimum, and constructed of industrial nylon, so there isn’t much chance of breakage or failure.
In addition, the standard ski pole features on Quickpoles are solid. The lightweight shafts are available in graphite or aircraft grade aluminum. The handle strap is padded and has a velcro adjustment, while the pole is tipped with a stainless steel concave ice tip and a 6 cm all-mountain basket. While the graphite poles cost $139.95, the aluminum poles have a mid-range price of $89.95. Not bad for a well-made pole that can do double-duty and carry your skis.
Coming Soon: Poles for the Entire Family
Of course, as a ski mom, I am intrigued by anything that will make it easier for kids to carry their gear. I’ve seen too many frustrated children (including my own) dropping skis, tripping on poles and ending up in tears trying to walk just a short distance on short legs. Quickpoles is currently designing children’s poles and updating their aluminum poles — all with an eye toward helping the entire family carry their ski gear safely and comfortably. The updated adult and new children’s poles will be available for next season.
Ready to try Quickpoles? Win a pair of aluminum Quickpoles in either black or white, by leaving a comment here. For an extra entry show Quickpoles some love on Facebook or Twitter (and let me know that you did). One winner will be chosen in a random drawing on March 27th.
To facilitate this review, I received a pair of white aluminum Quickpoles. As always, my opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Sondra!
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