It is the downhill ski racing competition of the winter
Olympics. You watch a ski racer zoom down the slope manoeuvring
through the ski gates. However, you notice that something is
missing. The skier has on skis, boots, and a giant slalom skin
tight racing suit. You realize what’s missing when their arms
flail about causing them to lose their balance on a patch of
ice. They are missing their ski poles.
It is the cross country skiing competition of the winter
Olympics. You cheer from the crowd as the skiers fly down the
trail. Each skier pushes hard with their ski poles. However,
one skier is left far behind the pack because he does not have
any ski poles. His graceful cross country rhythm has been
interrupted due to a lack of balance.
In both cases, the skiers lost the race because they were
missing their ski poles. Ski poles are vital because they help
maintain balance, provide support, and relieve some of the
pressure off your body. If the use of a ski pole is so crucial,
then why is it that many hikers do not use a hiking pole during
You might not think of a hiking or trekking pole as a necessity
until you compare hiking to cross country skiing. In hiking you
traverse across a terrain of varying degrees and obstacles.
There is constant stress and strain on your muscles and joints
as you navigate through rocks, sandy areas, and elevated
terrain. Your knees and lower back are constantly adjusting to
the pressure placed on them. This can lead to soreness and
pain. This is comparable to the demands of cross country skiing.
Hiking pain can be reduced by investing in a hiking or trekking
pole. Hiking poles have a wide range of benefits including:
improved balance, endurance, and ward off knee injuries. Hiking
poles can enable you to successfully cross streams and work
through steeper terrain. A mental side effect is that they can
boost your confidence allowing you tackle the hiking trail with
There are different types of hiking and trekking poles
available. There are long wooden poles, shorter aluminum poles,
snow poles, and ice axes. Want to beef up your regular hiking
pole? Hiking poles have various accessories to choose from
including: hand grips, shock absorbers, and camera mounts. If
you are going on a winter hike you can add a basket to your
pole. Another important aspect of your hiking pole is its tip.
The common tip is made of carbide. However, rubber tips are
also available. Each tip has pros and cons which should be
considered when purchasing a pole. Consult a hiking
professional to assess which pole is best for you.
If you want more stability and less stress on your body consider
investing in a hiking or trekking pole. The ability to navigate
through difficult terrain will become a reality. Hiking poles
can cost money, but they are worth every penny.