An Expert Guide to Salomon Ski Poles

Published on 02/24/2024 · 8 min readEnhance your skiing experience with our expert guide to Salomon ski poles, chosen for their balance, durability, and innovative features that support every turn.
Elijah Rawls, Ski Expert
By Ski Expert Elijah Rawls

Photo courtesy of Salomon

Tl;dr: Salomon’s ski poles are divided into three main categories: on-piste, which includes racing poles; freeride poles, designed for powder and deep conditions; and touring poles, which can be adjusted depending on whether you’re ascending or descending.

While it might seem like all poles are created equal, they’re not. Each of Salomon’s three categories offers different advantages aimed at creating a truly tailored skiing experience. So, if you consider yourself a well-rounded skier, getting more than one type of pole might be a good idea.

Living in the Colorado Rockies, there are times when I find myself using more than one type of pole in a day. For instance, I may start my day with an uphill lap on Loveland Pass and finish with an afternoon of on-piste skiing at Arapahoe Basin. During days like this, I can get the most out of my skiing if I tailor my poles to my activity.

In this article, I’ll be discussing the different styles of Salomon poles and how you can elevate your skiing by choosing the right option for the right activity. However, if you’d like to talk to a Curated Expert about different Salomon pole options, please feel free to reach out!

What are Salomon Ski Poles?

Photo courtesy of Salomon

Ski poles are stability devices designed to give skiers more control and precision on the mountain. Ski poles are usually introduced to older children after they have learned to stop and turn properly without the aid of poles. While ski poles initially started with slight variation, today’s market is full of purpose-built options designed to give you an edge in any condition.

Founded in the French Alps in 1947, Salomon is one of the undeniable leaders in ski and snowboard gear. Located on the doorstep of the Alps in Annecy, France, the company is responsible for several gear innovations such as introducing the safety binding in 1957. They sell everything from skis to jackets and pants. Their ski poles are offered in three main categories: on-piste, freeride, and touring.

Now that you have a good foundation of who Salomon is, let’s dive into finding you the perfect pair of ski poles!

What to Consider When Buying Salomon Ski Poles

Where are you going to be skiing?

This is the most critical question when picking out new poles. Salomon’s three pole types are designed for different conditions and circumstances. For instance, if you’re a beginner and plan on primarily sticking to groomed conditions, you’ll want to opt for something from their on-piste collection.

On the other hand, if you plan on exploring freestyle terrain that tends to feature powder, drops, and varied terrain like logs and fallen trees, you should get something from their freeride category. Lastly, if you want to try uphill skiing, Salomon’s touring poles will give you the height customization needed for a successful day in the backcountry.

How tall are you?

Your recommended pole length is directly correlated to your height, so the easiest way is to locate your height on a size chart and find the associated pole length.

Chart courtesy of Salomon

When picking on-piste or racing poles, you’ll want to choose the recommended length according to the size chart; however, Salomon recommends going a little longer (5-10 cm) for freeride poles since off-piste terrain has more powder, which can cause your poles to sink.

You don’t need a size chart for touring poles because they are adjustable, depending on whether you’re ascending or descending. If you have any more questions about ski pole sizing, please feel free to reach out to one of our Curated Skiing Experts.

What Are The Different Types of Salomon Ski Poles?

Salomon categorizes its ski poles into three types: on-piste, freeride, and touring. Let’s dig into the advantages of each.

On-Piste

Photo courtesy of Salomon

These are the most common poles found at a resort and are typically recommended to beginners by ski shops. You can expect an all-mountain approach to this category. Featuring medium-sized baskets and lightweight designs, these are great at helping you without getting in the way.

Benefits:

  • Suitable for most groomed terrain at a resort
  • Medium-sized basket won’t get in the way

Be Aware:

  • Typically feature a narrower shaft, which can be susceptible to bend and breaking
  • Non-adjustable design means you need to pick the right size

Freeride

Photo courtesy of Salomon

Freeride terrain technically refers to anything off-piste, meaning non-groomed runs, so you’ll usually find deeper snow and unexpected obstacles such as downed trees, logs, and rocks here. However, this category of skiing is the best way to find some of the most hidden corners of the mountains. As a result, Salomon’s freeride poles are typically constructed with a wider shaft and more solid material to help avoid any broken poles when you venture into this type of terrain.

Benefits:

  • Broader and stronger shaft for protection against obstacles under the snow
  • Larger-sized basket to help keep your pole afloat in powder

Be Aware:

  • It can feel bulkier when used all day on-piste.

Touring

Photo courtesy of Salomon

Touring

Touring poles are, without a doubt, the most specialized category offered by Salomon. These light ski poles are always adjustable — giving you a longer reach for uphill travel and a shorter one for downhill. You can also expect an emphasis on weight rather than strength. Even saving around 50 grams on each pole can make a difference for an all-day ski tour.

Benefits:

  • Adjustable height system
  • Lighter-than-average poles

Be Aware:

  • Emphasizing weight can compromise strength

Features to Look Out For When Buying Salomon Ski Poles

When you’re in the market for new ski poles, having a quick refresher on the most popular features found on ski poles and what they’re called can be helpful.

Baskets

This is the hard plastic circle right above the tip of the pole. When pressed into the slope, it’s designed to give your pole more resistance against snow. On-piste poles will have a smaller basket since the snow is usually compact, and freeride poles will usually have a more comprehensive basket designed to keep your pole from sinking in powder. Touring poles typically have a customizable basket system for varied terrain, allowing you to interchange the basket.

Shaft

Most ski poles are made of aluminum, which is cheap and relatively strong. However, you’ll see higher-end models with a carbon construction for added strength. In addition to shaft material, the size and diameter of the shaft can play a part. On-piste poles will usually feature a narrower shaft for easier maneuverability. Salomon freeride poles tend to be more durable, giving you more protection against off-piste obstacles, such as logs and rocks under the snow.

Straps

Most skis feature some form of strap. Straps provide a failsafe if you drop a pole, giving you more leverage when you plant your poles. While they’re great for on-piste conditions, Salomon recommends avoiding straps off-piste so you can quickly drop a pole if it gets caught in an object under the snow. As a result, if you plan on freeride skiing, you can pay less attention to the strap system when looking for new poles.

How to Choose the Right Salomon Ski Poles for You

Since you now have a basic understanding of Salomon’s three main ski pole categories and their features, let’s examine a few fictional skier profiles to help clarify your decision.

Tim

Tim is a beginner-to-intermediate level skier and enjoys spending his ski days on-piste rather than off. He estimates that 80-90% of the snow he skis on is groomed, so thick Salomon freeride poles might be too bulky for him. He’s also complained about larger baskets getting in the way of his carving.

Features Tim should look for:

  • A pole shaft that’s rated for on-piste skiing rather than freeride
  • A smaller basket or an interchangeable basket system that allows him to tailor his poles
  • A safety strap system that reduces the chances of losing a pole

Pole examples: Salomon Arctic S3 Ski Poles, Salomon Arctic Ski Poles

Jonathan

Jonathan is happiest off-piste, looking for powder. He spends most of his ski days in trees, glades, and gullies. His last poles snapped after they got caught between rocks barely covered in snow, so Jonathan is looking for something a little more hardy. While he’s okay with an interchangeable basket system, he primarily wants a larger-than-normal basket.

Features Jonathan should look for:

  • A pole shaft that’s rated for off-piste freeride skiing
  • A larger basket or interchangeable basket system that allows him to tailor his poles

Pole examples: Salomon Hacker Ski Poles, Salomon X North Ski Poles

Marcus

Marcus just purchased his first pair of touring bindings, and now he’s looking to get some poles to match. He’s new to this type of skiing, so he wants his poles to be simple and adjustable. He wants to use his touring poles on-piste and hopes to find something with an interchangeable basket system.

Features Marcus should look for:

  • An adjustable pole to allow him to change the height on ascents and descents
  • An interchangeable basket system to give his poles a more streamlined profile on-piste
  • An option focused on saving weight

Pole example: Salomon MTN Alu S3 Ski Poles

Find the Best Salomon Ski Poles for You

While picking out new poles can seem complicated because of all the available options, it’s really more straightforward than it looks. The most important thing you can do is pick out the correct pole type from one of Salomon’s three categories and find the best option within your price point.

Our goal at Curated is to help you find the best gear possible, so if you still have any questions, please feel free to contact me personally at any time or any of our Curated Experts. I’m passionate about finding people the right gear, Salomon poles or otherwise.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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