Tips & Techniques - Using Poles
Why use poles while snowshoeing? Poles help stabilize the upper body, establishing a rhythm to your walk or hike and improving your balance and stability on difficult terrain. Using poles also reduces stress on your knees, ankles and feet, and gives a more full-body workout by including upper-body movement.
Snowshoe poles generally come with adjustable sections for easy carrying and quick adjustment to different terrain. To size your snowshoe poles, hold the pole upside-down (hand under the basket). Adjust the length of the pole so that the handle touches the ground with your elbow at a right angle.
For climbing, adjust your poles shorter to provide greater balance and support on steeper terrain in front of you. When descending, adjust your poles longer for balance and control in front of you. In traversing across a sidehill, it helps to have the downhill pole longer. As a time saver, you can also grab partway down the shaft of the uphill pole instead of shortening it.