Ski sticks, also known as poles, are important equipment for alpine and racing skiing. Traditional ski sticks are made of wood, but other materials including carbon fiber and aluminum are also used. Today's ski sticks are designed with improved performance in mind. Sticks are usually attached to the skis by a series of bindings called ski bindings.
Ski sticks have been developed to be flexible, lightweight and strong, making them ideal for alpine, freestyle, and cross country skiing. Many sticks today have a double-sided tapered shape, increasing the amount of rubber built into them. Flexibility is important in a stick, because it allows the skier to control the speed at which he or she moves. A heavy stick that is rigid will not provide the control needed for the sport.
The type of snow that is found on any ski slope also affects the type of stick that is best for that specific ski slope. For instance, soft snow requires a light-weight flexible stick, because too much flex can cause the stick to snap under high pressure. On the other hand, solid snow requires a heavier, stiffer stick so that it does not snap when going over moguls or chutes. Another factor affecting sticks is the texture of the snow. Powder skis tend to have more flexible sticks because of the increased moisture; however, they also tend to have less of a stability than standard alpine skis.
In addition to the types of snow, the location of the skier, and his or her skill level, determine which kind of ski stick is best for him or her. Some of the more popular sticks include: parabolic, flex-feed, pop-up, flex-cut, traditional, adjustable, and quick release. Of these, the flex-feed is the most popular. Flex-feed sticks allow the skier to flex their wrist in order to change the direction of the ball and come into contact with the center of the stick for optimal launch.
Another thing to consider is whether the skier wants to be sitting deeper in the snow, or closer to the surface. Usually, the deeper the ski, the stiffer the shaft needs to be. However, there are also more responsive skis that allow a skier to sit closer to the snow, with some flexible shafts. Lastly, some skis (especially mogul) have more flex in the tips of the ski, which allow the skier more control.
Ski sticks are one of the most important pieces of alpine equipment. Without them, it would be impossible to ski consistently, as they are the one piece of equipment that holds the skis together when the entire body is suspended mid-air. This makes it very important for the owner of this equipment to choose the right style of stick. They can be found in a wide range of prices, so finding a quality set at a reasonable price is usually not hard.