HISTORY OF SKI POLES
10,000 years ago
Earliest known stick (of wood, probably a ski stick with a shovel-type top) found from Star Carin Yorkshire, England.
6000 years ago
Representations of a skier with a stick in a cave painting in Bola, Norway and ~ 5700 years ago, a ski stick found in Sweden.
Up to the 1900’s
Most skiers used a single stick of hardwood, f. ex. hazelnut or bamboo,1.8-2.5 m long, usually with a steel tip and without a grip;
no basket but often what was called a “braking disk”, latter of full wood, metal or hard rubber. Some sticks had on top decorations
such as a spoon, a spear head, a shovel, an ice axe, etc. The sticks served for balancing, braking and turning. However, there is
already an illustration of two poles in the “English Atlas of Moses Pitt 1680-83” and in 1843 a young Finn won a cross-country ski
race in Norway most likely as he used two sticks.
One or two poles (in the UK called sticks), 120-150 cm long, of hazelnut, hickory, bamboo, cane or Tonkin (latter two are kinds of
bamboo, Tonkin being strongest), with or without grips, with or without grips nor narrow rawhide or larger leather straps; with or
without baskets (located about 10 cm above the tips), 15-20 cm diameter; basket rings of one or double rattan or metal, attached
to leather or leather straps hold to stick. Also rawhide basket (made of untanned cattle hide).
Two matching poles made of hazelnut, bamboo or Tonkin, 120-150 cm long, with leather grip and strap; metal ferrule from tip to
above basket, latter of 15-20 cm diameter with one or double rattan rings attached to 4 leather straps, occasionally with 4 extra
leather lacing. Some poles featured easy dismantling of the baskets for adapting the size of latter to the snow condition.
Bamboo, cane or Tonkin shafts, reinforced with linen or tape; also with celluloid coating.
Poles by Russer of Switzerland (patent CH150336): Baskets without requiring a hole in the shaft besides easily exchangeable grips.
Poles by Reuge of Switzerland (patent CH165184): Adjustable shafts in lengths. Poles by Amstutz (patent CH164871): Linen reinforced
and adjustable grips.
John B. Dickson patented shafts of steel
Shafts of aluminum alloy such as Duralumin, cylindrical, extruded; baskets 15-20 cm diameter of rattan reinforced by a metal
ring attached to 4 leather straps.
Poles by Müro of Switzerland: adjustable shafts in length. Shafts of hickory wood with hexagonal cross-section.
Shafts of conical steel.
White Steel shafts (for military).
Poles by Kandahar of Switzerland: Shafts adjustable in length.
Poles by Labor of Switzerland: Baskets equipped with springs (instead of leather straps) so that baskets are automatically relocated in
the horizontal position.
Tapered aluminum shafts (Scott)
Poles by Borda of Switzerland: Could be used as avalanche probe after one grip and the baskets were removed and both shafts joined
together. Colored shafts, later with inscriptions; basket of hard rubber or plastic with or without outer of aluminum-ring.
Glass fiber shafts for cross country
Round double molded plastic nylon baskets: Ring in one material and the cross in another (by Liljedahl). Grips and baskets
(without ring) made of plastic or hard rubber; strap of leather or fabric; first curved shafts (for downhill racing)
Tele pole: Variable tips for different type of snow
Triangular nylon baskets (for cross country by Liljedahl). Bent tip below baskets for easier removal out of snow (for cross
country by Liljedahl)
Shafts of Zicral (zinc aluminum alloy); spherical "basket" (for downhill racing)
Plastic grips with hand protection (for slalom) Shafts of carbon fiber (lighter and stronger than steel) were patented by Exel
Composites Co. and initially used by cross-county ski racers
Basket made of plastic or rubber, round or star-shaped of approx. 3” diameter; cone shaped "basket" (for downhill racing)
Carbon boron shafts (for cross country by Swix)
T shaped double molded grips for cross-country (by Swix - used in biathlon with German Sven Fischer)
X-Light carbon shafts (by Komperdell)
Bent poles (reducing drag at high speed) with IPM technology (Internal Pressure Molding) – downhill gold medal Olympics 1994
with Lasse Kjus
Carbon shafts with grip integrated in carbon (for cross country by Force Swix)
Carbon shafts with triangular section (for cross country - by Triac Swix) Interchangeable basket system (for cross-country without
use of glue - by Triac Swix)
Poles for “4-seaons”, very easily and quickly adjustable via a button on the grip (best new gear award of the year – “Stiletto”