Maybe you’ve noticed them while out carving turns: bamboo ski poles. At first they seemed like a novelty, but more and more skiers are swearing by them. “More stability,” has been the general consensus, along with an improved aesthetic from an environmentally friendly material.
We set out to learn a few things about how bamboo is changing ski poles. We wanted to know why bamboo is a better choice, and the specifics about the models that are available.
Founded by former U.S. Ski Team racers, this Park City company realized the simple fact that if there’s “no snow,” there’s “no ski.” With an aim to curb global emissions and provide local job opportunities, Soul Poles
Theirs was a story that seemed ripped from the Garage Grown Gear pages. It started with a “wouldn’t be cool if…” and grew from there.
Erik Schlopy and Bryon Friedman had this thought in their minds when they sought to create a company that manufactured green ski equipment. With a goal to inspire awareness of the causes and effects of climate change, they sought to motivate their community to develop ways in which materials can be developed and reused into something useful — just like their bamboo ski poles.
And it’s worth mentioning that not only are these poles sustainably made, but they are 25 percent stronger than most aluminum models, as well as far lighter in weight.
What sets these poles apart is their unusual baskets. The makers of Panda Poles
sought to not only create a pole from renewable products, but also create a work of art. With a simple, pleasing aesthetic, these poles get you noticed on the hill.
“I get compliments all the time,” said one Panda Pole owner about her favorite ski accessory. “And they have a lighter swing weight, too.”
Handcrafted in the USA (Pocatello, Idaho), these poles not only feature bamboo as one of their sustainable features, but also hemp webbing and their signature “Zero Drag” baskets. With a panda stamp burned into the shaft, there’s no mistaking where these unique and inspired poles come from.
Handcrafted by Blake
Blake Andreassen was a fan of all things vintage, and sought to create a pair of bamboo poles to match his antique skis. Located in Squamish, BC, his prototypes quickly got noticed, and before long he was in business
, crafting his nostalgic ski accessory. Seeking to create a vintage looking pole, he found that he had stumbled upon something even better — a renewable product that performs better than aluminum.
Just one look at his “flex test” video, it’s easy to become a believer in the magic of bamboo. In the short clip, he flexes a bamboo pole, almost into a “C” shape, and without breaking it bounces back into its straight form. Attempting to do the same with an aluminum pole, it is broken almost immediately. See it for yourself!
Bonus: Sour Stix
While researching this story, we stumbled across Sour Stix, a bamboo pole brand totally new to the scene. They don't have a website up yet, but here's their Facebook page.
Do you use bamboo ski poles? If so we'd love to hear what you think about them. And, if not, do you want to try them out? Leave us a comment below.