Brought to you by SCARPA Backcountry Week
The past few winters, I’ve spent a lot of time with a few guys who never wear pole straps. They have their reasons, and I always assumed I understood them. During a conversation, my buddy Patrick said he had a skier’s thumb, and he was accused of wearing pole straps.
“You know what would fix that skier thumb? Stop wearing pole straps!” – Nick
“Nick, I haven’t skied with pole straps for 14 years.” – Patrick
Right then, I realized how serious these guys were about not wearing pole straps, so I stopped their conversations and asked them individually why they don’t wear pole straps. Here are their answers:
“Why Don’t You Wear Ski Pole Straps”
Mattias: “Because I’m a snowboarder.”
Patrick: “Because of tree branches. A tree branch can catch your pole basket as you are skiing by and easily dislocate your shoulder. I heli skied in Revelstoke a long time ago and they gave you poles that had no straps and taught you to use them. I’ve never gone back.”
Nick: “When hiking or skiing my poles will get caught in holes or branches under the snow. With no strap, it’s no problem. WIth a strap, you can get hung up or throw off balance leading to a bad fall in a bad place.”
Lee: “Avalanches. If I get in an avalanche, I want to be able to get rid of everything I can and I want to be able to swim and fight to stay on top and easily pull my avalanche airbag handle without being impeded by a pole pulling my hand wherever it wants. It’s also great when hiking because you can move your hand up and down the pole with ease.Even if you aren’t wearing the straps, they get in the way when changing your hand position on your pole and can even cause you to slip off if you accidentally grab the strap.”
Zach: “For photos [Zach’s a photographer]. It’s great to not have straps when I’m shooting because I can stick my pole in the snow and let go and that’s it. It’s one less step which gets me in position to take a photo that much quicker.”
There you have it. Good reasons not to wear ski pole straps include snowboarding, tree branches (avoid dislocating shoulder), getting poles caught in holes and the like, avalanches (allows you to ditch your poles, swim, pull airbag handle), photos (allows you to get the shot quicker).
How about you guys? Pole straps or no pole straps?