How to Hold Ski Poles

The best way to hold your ski poles is to stick your hand entirely through the pole straps and then grab ahold of the grip section of the pole with the strap in the palm of your hand. This will prevent injuries and keep you from losing your pole if you fall. 

I’ve been skiing for decades, and I’ve used poles the entire time. I learned how to hold ski poles properly early on, which has helped me become a better skier and not lose my poles when I wipe out. 

This post will show you how to hold ski poles properly. I’ll tell you why it’s important to hold them correctly and what can happen if you don’t. 

Keep reading to find out more.

Why Holding Ski Poles Correctly is Important

Holding ski poles correctly is vital for two main reasons. 

Using the pole strap will help keep your poles attached to your arms if you take a bad fall. 

This means your poles won’t go flying down the mountain, and you won’t risk losing them. 

The other reason is that the straps can cause wrist or thumb injuries if you don’t hold your poles correctly. 

Nobody wants to get hurt skiing, and hand injuries are avoidable if you use the pole straps in the right way. 

How to Hold Ski Poles

Holding ski poles might seem pretty straightforward, and it is. But holding them the proper way will ensure they don’t slip off or cause you injury. 

Start by placing your entire gloved hand through the loop of the pole. 

Once your hand is through the loop, grab ahold of the grip while keeping the straps in the palm of your hand. The loop material should sit comfortably between the pole and the palm of your glove. 

You don’t want the strap to get twisted or be too tight because you need enough room to grab ahold of the pole. If necessary, you can adjust the loop length to ensure you have enough room to get a secure grip. 

This works for every type of ski pole you might use, including cross country skis. With cross country skis poles, it’s even more important to use the straps because they help you generate power to push you through the snow. 


Getting the proper size ski pole length is very important for performance on the slopes. For alpine skiers, you want your hands to make a 90-degree angle when you hold the poles upside down just underneath the baskets. 

You should take your pole straps off before you get on the chair lift, so they don’t get in the way when sitting down or riding it to the top. Be sure to put your poles on correctly after getting off the lift.   


Here are a few quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about holding ski poles. 

How do you hold classic ski poles? 

Classic cross country ski poles should be held the same way as other types of ski poles. Place your hands entirely through the strap loop, and then grab ahold of the grip with the strap in your palm. 

How do ski pole straps work? 

Ski pole straps work by keeping your poles from getting lost if you take a fall or accidentally let go of your poles while skiing. They wrap around your hands and wrists while staying attached to your poles. Straps also help you push and get power into your poles. 

Do you need straps on ski poles? 

Technically you don’t need straps on ski poles, but I would not recommend using poles without straps. It’s too easy to lose your poles if they don’t have straps. Some skiers don’t put their hands through the straps, which isn’t recommended either. 


Knowing how to hold your ski poles correctly will prevent injuries and keep you from losing them if you take a gnarly wipeout. 

Simply put your hands through the ski pole loops and then grab ahold of the grip with the strap material in between your palm and the pole grip. 

And remember that even though there are no rules requiring you to wear pole straps, it’s the best way to hold onto them!

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