Bamboo ski poles have taken the skiing world by storm in recent years. They’re lighter, stronger, better looking, and better for the environment than the average aluminum or carbon fiber pole. While there are a few companies in the U.S. making bamboo poles, a company out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado cleverly called Grass Sticks has quickly gained ground since their start in 2014.
So why the switch to bamboo?
First, bamboo has the tensile strength of steel and a compressive strength greater than concrete. This means the poles won’t snap or kink like aluminum. Bamboo is also environmentally friendly as it produces three times as much lumber as trees per acre harvested, absorbs more CO2, and produces more oxygen than any other plant. Grass Sticks poles also have a two year warranty so if they do break, you can get them replaced and they are compostable. Making bamboo poles eliminates the mining process that aluminum poles use and each pair is hand made in Steamboat Springs.
What’s it like to use these poles on a cold winter day?
I took the touring ‘sticks’ out for a few backcountry days before the season started and they quickly became my everyday pole. They are far lighter than my adjustable aluminum poles and the touring grip located about three inches down the pole shaft is perfect for when the skin track gets steep or follows a side hill. On the telemark-specific side of things, the tip of these ‘sticks’ easily pushes the 22 Designs Outlaw tour mode tab back and forth. And while the basket bends, it quickly shapes back into its form, which is not true for many other pole baskets. The sticky soft rubber of the grips allowed for backcountry runs free from the worry that the pole would wiggle out of a gloved hand, and when in bounds, the 100% recycled polyester strap secures the pole to your wrist.
Why Grass Sticks?
One of the newer bamboo companies in the industry, they are taking every step to make these poles affordable and sustainable. The color scheme of the ‘sticks’ is customizable; the skier chooses the grip color, basket color, even the basket size. Each set is then built by hand to the custom length specified in your order and finished with a UV/moisture/cold proof clear coat, giving the ‘sticks’ a glossy yet natural look.
Whether you are looking to get new poles for yourself this season or need a gift idea for your favorite skier, these sticks will be your new best friend. They’ll get you noticed in the lift lines and spark conversations on the chair. Look good, feel good, ski better.
For more information on Grass Sticks, visit their website here.
*Photos courtesy of Grass Sticks and Seth Langbauer Photography*
John D Vernazza
Interesting article confirming bamboos claim
I’d like to try these some day. But, the statement about their strength always seems weird to me. Tensile strength of steel is 36,000-80,000 psi. Comprehensive strength of concrete is 3,000-4,500 psi. I don’t think this accurate for bamboo and seems lopsided. Oh well, they are probably great poles and I shouldn’t over think it.
I love my Grass Sticks.