How to Determine the Ideal Pole Length for Cross Country Skiing
If you want to get the most out of cross-country skiing, make sure you're using the correct length of ski poles. If your cross-country poles are too short, power is wasted. If they are too long, the poles can be a nuisance. Here is a guide on what pole length is ideal for both classic and skate cross-country skiing techniques.
Cross-Country Ski Poles: Ideal Pole Length for Classic Skiing
If the tops of the poles reach the top of the shoulder while wearing cross-country ski boots, then the cross-country ski poles have the perfect length for the classic style. The height of the shoulder should not be exceeded, especially for beginners. Only with increased training can the poles be a few centimeters higher, so more thrust can be created with less force. In international competitions, however, the maximum pole length is stipulated in the rules.
In the classic style, double pole thrusting is a popular technique that puts the most strain on the arms and poles. The technique can be exhausting - especially for beginners - which is why you should ensure that the poles are the right length and that your skiing technique is executed correctly from the start.
The Ideal Pole Length for Skate Skiing
A longer pole length is recommended for cross-country skiers who use the skating technique. The pole height can be approximately 10cm above the shoulder, but the exact length ultimately depends on individual preference.
The optimum length of cross-country poles is required to execute the correct arm swing technique. This allows skiers to maintain their speed and maximize power output.
For the next generation: Combining skating and classic - which pole should you buy?
If your kids want to be flexible with their style and sometimes prefer one technique and then the other, then you're probably wondering whether it makes sense to buy adjustable (vario) poles specifically made for kids.
For adults, vario poles are only used while skiing off-track, as they would otherwise be too heavy for cross-country skiing on groomed trails.
>> Expert tip: Cross-country poles can be rented in many cross-country skiing areas. Depending on the desired technique, you can change the length of the poles for a small fee or try them out before buying.
Classic and Skating Ski Poles: How to Calculate length
The following formula can be used to calculate the perfect length for the cross-country poles:
- Classic style: height in cm x 0.84 = recommended pole length
- Skating: height in cm x 0.89 = recommended pole length
Your result will usually not be accurate to the centimeter, so beginners and amateur athletes should round down, while competitive athletes and professionals are welcome to round up.
Special regulations apply for all those who want to take part in official competitions or train like the pros. The poles may be a maximum of 83% of body height, which is measured while wearing cross-country skiing boots. In this case, the above formula would therefore recommend cross-country poles that are too long. Professionals also use particularly light poles with enhanced grip on the tips and handles - this enables excellent power transmission.
Test the Correct Length of Cross-Country Ski Poles Yourself
Here is a way to test the perfect length for cross-country poles yourself. While the formulas mentioned above are based on body height, individual and very specific body characteristics, such as the length of the torso or leg length, are not taken into account.
Length of Classic Cross-Country Poles for Beginners
Stand on a flat surface with your cross-country boots on and position the pole in front of you with the end of the pole on the ground. The grip should now stop at about the same height as your shoulder. If you are a beginner, make sure that the pole is not higher than your shoulder.
Length of Cross-Country Poles for Advanced Skiers:
For advanced classic skiers, an additional 3-4 centimeters can be added. If you use the poles exclusively for skating, then the poles may even exceed the shoulder by 10 centimeters - this makes pushing even more powerful!
Cross-Country Poles for Children
The question of which cross-country ski poles to choose for children comes up more frequently as children will usually get taller throughout the season, and poles from the previous season are already too short for the next winter. Adjustable cross-country ski poles with a stable shaft can be used over a longer period of time without any problems.
Conclusion: When buying cross-country skiing equipment, it is not only the right length of cross-country skis that is important but also the length of the poles. Adapted to your own technique preference, a well-chosen length of cross-country poles can make cross-country skiing even more fun and make energy-sapping technique mistakes a thing of the past.