Leki Pole Company Collapses—In a Good Way

Being an Eastern skier who frequently travels west by air to make turns, I usually take just my boots and grab a pair of high-end demo skis wherever I am headed. With $50+ extra bag charges the airline norm, it makes sense.

What throws a monkey wrench into this practice, is that I am often handed a pair of stock rental poles with my premium boards.  Poles that are decidedly designed for durability, not performance. Standard rental poles feel like you’re swinging a piece of rebar with every plant and can mess with your timing—and balance, crucial in performance skiing.  Once you use a high quality pole you can never go back.

That’s why I’ve been carrying Leki’s two-piece Vario collapsible poles on my air trips for years. While the lower half can fit inside a standard cargo bag, the uppers were just a bit too big to make it inside. I resorted to taping them to the outside of the bag handle and hoped for the best. Usually they arrived fine; once they didn’t. 

Now Leki has introduced the Micro Series, an ingenious three-piece pole that shrinks to 18”—small enough to fit inside a carry-on. Micro poles sections are permanently secured with an interior metal cable (sort of like a tent pole bungee) so you can’t misplace a section. They are continuously adjustable from 44” to 54”, serving skiers from diminutive to gigantic. Smartly engineered to minimize overall weight down, they have a great “hand” and well-balanced swing.  And, of course, Leki’s patented and ingenious Trigger S system, a releasable binding-like spring-loaded design that relegates pole straps to the ski museum alongside runaway safety straps.

There are two Micro models, the Tour Stick Vario Carbon ($199.95) and the Alpine Stick S ($169.95).  Both come with a screw-on/off interchangeable baskets and a stuff bag for easy carrying.  Yes, they are expensive. Very expensive.  And you best not leave them unattended in the ski rack.  But you don’t have to. When you head inside for lunch or après ski, break them down to travel size and take them with you.  And they are guaranteed for life. Safeguard them well and they will likely be the last pole you’ll ever buy. www.leki.com

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