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.
- For traversing across a side-hill, 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.