Skip to content

Why are some ski poles curved? And should I have bent poles when skiing?

  • Filip 

Curved ski poles are used often in ski competitions. The curved pole goes around the skier, providing a more aerodynamic stance as well they protect the skier when racing around the ski gates on the track.

Downhill skiing is considered as an ice race where a lot of emphases is put on speed. It is regarded as one of the fastest racing games played over ice where the players can reach a whopping 130 km per hour speed in international competitions.

Bent ski poles when alpine sking

Downhill skiing is used as a synonym for alpine skating. The purpose of this racing game is to speed down the mountain while sliding down at greater speed to reach the finish line. Speed is the only factor that counts and creates records.

However, you may have noticed that many skiers tend to use a curve pole. Now, what’s the purpose behind using a bent pole? Should you use one while skiing? Continue reading the post to find out more about them.

Why are some ski poles curved?

Although downhill ski poles appear to be out of shape rather than the straight one, they have a purpose. If you are into alpine skiing, your attention may have been diverted by the funky looks of the athlete’s poles. Instead of the usual straight sticks, the downhill ski poles are bent sometimes.

However, the reason could be explained by science. When you think about the variations in motion that downhill skiers engage in, you may get some reasons. That’s when skiers tend to fold themselves so as to achieve greater speeds. This is when curved ski poles come to the scene.

When it is about curved poles, it is more about aerodynamics. Skiers tend to move faster as they possibly can during downhill events. Folded poles allow the skiers to blend their bodies into the shape of the poles. It doesn’t seem like a major difference because the poles are quite thin and skiers are traveling at greater speed.

But, winners in these kinds of races are determined by a fraction of a second. Also, the downhill ski event or giant salmon skiing is a part of the alpine skiing events at the Winter Olympics. It is one of the dangerous skiing events. During the event, players can reach up to a speed of 95 miles an hour.

These are the racing events where you need less contact with the ski poles with the snow. The poles are curved so that they can fit around the skier comfortably and protect the skier against crashing on the gates at higher speeds.

Downhill skiers tend to face heavy pressure while they are competing in these racing events, and they have to manage greater speed levels. The notion of sliding down the mountain at a speed of around 95 miles per hour gives rise to the dangers associated with such an activity.

When are curved poles used?

Ski poles are often regarded as accessories and chosen according to the specific needs of a skier. The right size and shape can help your mobility and allow you to remain balanced. This way, it helps in reducing any chances of accidents.

Downhill racing events involve sling down the mountain at maximum speeds. Curved ski poles are basically used in alpine downhill skiing. Also, the bent ski poles could be used in giant slalom skiing. These are the racing games where there is less contact of the ski poles with the ground.

Curved ski poles help the skiers to accelerate safely while moving downhill in the tuck position. The poles fit around the skier nicely and save the person from crashing against the gates. When the players tuck, the poles bent around the body to provide more aerodynamics.

When are straight ski poles used?

Straight ski poles are typically used to help you push along the flat areas of snow. For every day, regular public skiers, straight poles are used. On flat terrain, you can glide through the snow by pushing down on the poles with your arms.

While skating, the straight ski poles are there to help you to keep your balance and propelling forward. While descending, straight poles help you stay more firm on the ground. Planting the pole, you can pivot around the ground and curve in a natural way.

However, when there is a high level of competition like downhill races, straight poles aren’t recommended. Straight poles don’t have good aerodynamics to diminish air resistance when you are moving at higher speeds.

In the event of an accident, or when the skier tumbles down the hill, the person will have more impact if the ski pole is straight.

Do you really need curved ski poles?

It is clear that the primary reason for using a curved ski pole is to maintain aerodynamics, which is a must when you are traveling at greater speeds downhill. These poles help in reducing air resistance at high speeds as much as they can.

In a downhill ski event or giant slalom skiing, curved ski poles are generally used. The curved design of the poles helps the players to blend their body and allows protection against banging on the gates. However, if you don’t compete in slalom or downhill racing events, you won’t need to have curved poles.

On the other hand, if you think that bent ski poles look awesome and the mesmerizing appearance has got you, there is no good reason why you shouldn’t buy them. You can use the curved ski poles while skiing with your friends and family.

Although it is a matter of personal preference, every skier should try out a bent pole sometime. Even better, they can rent a set for an entire day only to find out if there is something exciting about them.

What is the right skiing technique?

Keeping the right body posture is the golden rule of skiing. This is an important aspect when maneuvering snowy slopes. The snow conditions on the slopes and the speed in which direction you are moving constantly changes during skiing. Hence, you need to maintain the right body posture to adapt to current conditions.

When it is about downhill skiing, speed is everything. And, if the majority of the skiers believe that curved ski poles can make a difference, it is good to follow their advice.

If you are new to alpine skiing you might also like our article How Log Does it Take to Learn Skiing.