Cross country skiing is a great sport that offers the chance to experience the joys of winter while paying homage to the roots of skiing. It is also an amazing form of exercise that can get you in great shape in no time at all.
If you’re familiar with cross country skiing, you know how wonderful of an activity it can be. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s worth the trip.
There are many crucial pieces of gear needed for cross country skiing, but poles are some of the most important. Without poles, you’ll struggle to move when Nordic skiing.
This article will take a look at some of the best cross country ski poles on the market to help you become a much better skier.
Let’s get started.
- Who Should Get This
- Top Cross Country Ski Poles Reviewed
- How to Choose Cross Country Ski Poles
- Useful Tips and Resources
- Final Thoughts
Who Should Get This
If you’re a cross country skier who wants to get set up with your own ski gear, you’re going to need poles. Cross country skiing without poles is like driving without tires. You can turn the engine on and maybe get a few inches, but you make it very far.
Even if you already have ski poles for alpine and downhill skiing, you’ll need specific poles for cross country adventures. That is because they need to be longer in order to generate more push to propel you along the snow. If you only plan on doing alpine skiing, you won’t need to get cross country ski poles.
Top Cross Country Ski Poles Reviewed
Below is a list of top recommendations along with a quick review of each ski pole. The goal is to help you get to know the pros and cons of each product so you can an informed purchase decision.
1. Best Overall: LEKI CC 300
The LEKI CC 300 is a great all-around cross country ski pole. The Trigger S 2.0 Shark design makes it super comfortable and easy to handle.
They are also very affordable and available in multiple sizes to match different heights and styles. Well designed straps and a cork grip make them comfortable to wear. A great choice out on the Nordic trails.
- Multiple lengths available
- Nice grips and straps
- None – this is a solid choice for cross country pursuits
2. Best All Around: Whitewoods Cross Trail Nordic Ski Poles
The Whitewoods Cross Trail Nordic Ski is another good pole for any cross country skier. These have all of the elements that a Nordic skier needs, including both adjustable hand straps and a lightweight design. Sturdy and strong, they will help you out during any day on the snow. They are affordable as well.
- Adjustable hand straps
- Sturdy and strong
- Comfortable Grips
- Baskets can be hard to attach when new
3. Best Lightweight: Salomon Escape XC
If you’re a cross country ski racer who takes the sport seriously, you need a lightweight pole. The Salomon Escape XC is one of the lightest options on the market, making it perfect for any skate skiers, athletes, or anyone who wants to shave a few precious ounces off of their cross country setup.
With a great design and sturdy build, this lightweight option holds up under the rigors of the sport.
- Extremely lightweight
- Excellent design
- Comfortable cork grip
- Strap can run small
4. Best for Backcountry Touring: Rossignol FT 500
The Rossignol FT 500 is another great cross country ski pole. This model has a classic design that makes it incredibly reliable. Not only are these poles sturdy, they are also great for beginners. These feel great as well, which is always a nice bonus to have for long treks through the backcountry.
- Classic look and feel
- Sturdy design
- On the heavy side
How to Choose Cross Country Ski Poles
Not sure how to narrow down the choices from the crowd? Take the factors below into account during your research journey.
Style of Skiing
There are two basic styles of cross country skiing: classic and skate. They are different in both form and function, and you need to match your equipment to each. That’s important because the proper gear will enable you to effectively ski in whatever style you choose.
Classic skiing, also known as cross country touring, involves moving your skis in a straight back-and-forth fashion that’s similar to walking on the snow with skis on. Classic skis have what look like scales on the bottom that grip the snow while moving up and slide while moving back.
Skate skiing is what you see in the Olympics when cross country skiers speed across the Nordic track, pushing heavily and skating on their skis in the same way ice skaters move on their skates.
You need to know what type of cross country skiing you want to pursue because it factors into what ski pole length you’ll need. In general, cross country ski poles need to be longer than alpine or downhill ski poles.
A general rule is that your ski poles for Nordic styles should reach up to your armpits. Cross country poles lengths are generally measured in centimeters.
If you’re a classic skater, you want poles that come up to your armpits or your shoulders. If you are a skate skier, you want poles that are a bit longer and maybe rise to your nose or lips. Skate skiers need extra push. Longer poles provide that.
Most cross country ski poles out there today have lightweight materials such as carbon fiber. That’s ideal because cross country skiing takes a lot of effort. Heavy poles can make that much more difficult. It’s important to get lightweight cross country poles. That goes double if you are a racer.
Useful Tips and Resources
We’ve already touched on the importance of the size and length of cross country ski poles. If you want to explore that further, here is a little more information on the proper size and fit of your poles.
It’s always important to get the best size for your style and abilities, as that helps you become a better skier. Remember that cross country ski poles need to be longer than your alpine and downhill poles. You always want a separate set for Nordic skiing.
Check out this video if you want to learn how to correctly put on poles during cross country skiing.
Ski poles are a key part of cross country skiing. While you might be able to get away without poles in some alpine skiing situations, it’s nearly impossible to do so in Nordic styles. All of the options here make for great choices, and they will help you become a better cross country skier. They also allow you to ski to the best of your abilities.
Do you have a favorite place to go cross country skiing? Let us know in the comments below!