Three years have passed since I built my first bamboo ski poles. During all this time, I have only promoted alpine ski poles on my website. Well, apart from a few cross-country poles in traditional 1920s style I made for the 100th edition of the Vasaloppet race. But that was an exception. Of all the poles I’ve built, actually every eighth pair has been ski touring poles. That is, long poles with a big baskets for backcountry skiing—the kind of poles you use when skiing peacefully in untracked terrain, with or without expedition pulks or hunting rifles. Several of my customers who ordered long backcountry sticks with big baskets have been hunters from northern Sweden.
A good architect draws the walkway where people walk. That makes the path useful. My alpine mindset has missed every eighth customer’s wish. So, now I have updated my site by adding backcountry options with a big 120 mm basket and lengths to make ski touring comfortable.
The touring basket is manufactured by the ski pole accessory company Tehnomat in Slovenia. The exact material it’s made of is a trade secret, as this material specifically is what makes the basket flexible even in very cold temperatures. This backcountry basket is therefore softer and does not break the snow as stiffer baskets of other materials tend to do. The aluminum ring also makes this basket quite similar to my great-grandfather’s inventions for the original Rimfors poles, which he patented in the 1930s.
But why do hunters and backcountry skiers prefer ski poles made of bamboo? Well, they want a durable and reliable pole that lasts and doesn’t break. It’s simply about safety. If bent with extreme pressure bamboo may off course crack, but it won’t break in two, leaving you stranded on the mountain or in the forest. And if it cracks, it does so along the fibers and does not break up in two pieces, and you can easily fix it with a round of tape around it, and it will do the job again.
It is this reliability that backcountry skiers and hunters appreciate and cherish. And they are absolutely right. Touring poles, or hunting poles if you prefer, will be this year’s “Christmas gift” for my customers. And forget five centimeter intervals! You can choose the exact length. If you want 143 cm or 157 cm, that’s what you get.
Thanks for the lovely photos Patric Henricson/Groundstone!