Now it’s time to put the poles to the test. At my kids training camp in Trysil, we take the opportunity to test our new bamboo ski poles, not among the slalom gates in Høgegga though,* but on the rest of the mountain during our spare time. Fortunately, our bamboo sticks live up to our expectations.
My old Soul Poles (Original soul model) weigh about 350 grams per pole, are 20 mm in diameter at the thick end and 18 mm down by the basket. Personally, I have always found them a bit bulky and heavy. My new self-made sticks weigh about 250 grams per pole and are, as I said, around 16 mm in diameter at the grip and 14—15 mm down by the basket. The weight is basically the same as my old aluminum poles and my wife’s carbon fiber sticks, both from Scott.
The bamboo poles feel light and flexible and are well balanced between rigidity and flexibility. All five in the family are happy with their new bamboo poles. My oldest son was really happy he could match his poles with his outfit.
* After all, slamming slalom gates with bamboo canes feels unnecessary, even with a punch guard fitted. The risk is that the bamboo cracks along the fibers because, despite being quite hard, several hundred gates are punched on each training.
Update: During the winter 2022/2023 we tested hitting slalom gates with bamboo ski poles, with punch guards. It works perfectly fine with the right bamboo variety. Check it out here: Slalom racing with bamboo ski poles