Dynafit Speed Vario 2 Pole
Ski pole, schmee pole. Just go buy any adjustable pole that’s cheap and durable, and save your concern for the sexy gear…Right?
That’s what I thought, until I developed a bad case of briefcase hand, which is what my friend Diane, an instructor at Harb Ski Systems, calls the affliction where your uphill arm drops into man-bag carrying position. If your uphill arm and shoulder are in this position, it reduces your ability to counterrotate and counterbalance.
To resolve, Diane recommended a few drills, which did help, but she also recommended I try using a lighter ski pole with a lower swing weight to assist in maintaining a higher hand position. A light pole concerned me, as this often means carbon. I avoid using carbon poles in the backcountry because if the carbon splinters it is difficult, if not impossible, to repair in the field.
But I’m always open to experimenting, so I spent a few days rummaging through piles of ski poles at various backcountry shops. I came across the new Dynafit Speed Vario 2 Pole, which weighs in at only 208 grams—exceptionally light. It is made of carbon and it’s expensive ($150), but I figured it would be worth a shot to fix my bad habit. (If either of those aspects are a deal-breaker, Dynafit does offer the carbon and aluminum Tour Vario 2 Pole, which costs $120 and weighs 224 grams.)
In addition to being the lightest ski poles I’ve ever used and having an excellent swing weight, they’re strong. I sufficiently abused them (although I’m pretty careful with my gear), and they survived a 30-plus day season. The locking system works very well, and you can easily operate it while wearing gloves. The baskets are awesome, and the grip is comfortable enough (though I’ve used better). The minimalist strap is a bit odd to adjust, making it my only complaint. (I’d love to see them use a releasable strap, like the one on my K2 resort poles, but that probably violates some cool backcountry rule I’m not aware of.)
Most importantly, though, they fixed my briefcase hand. Which I feel is well worth the investment.
Regarding Powder Cloud Likes
We don’t take gear into the garage, dissect it, and provide in-depth gear reviews on Powder Cloud. (There are a plethora of detailed reviews already available on the web, and we don’t feel you need another one.) We simply want to share only the gear our team absolutely loves. Our criteria include that we have used it for an entire season, that we would purchase it without a pro deal, and we’d consider purchasing an additional one for fear the manufacturer might change it.
Through backcountry skiing, Paul Rogers has found incredible happiness, lasting friendships, and the opportunity to traverse the snowscape across Europe and North America. He founded Powder Cloud to help others safely find the same.