How to Size Cross-Country Ski Poles

Cross Country Skier

Staying active when there is snow on the ground can be difficult. An easy way to get some exercise while enjoying the winter weather is cross-country skiing, also known as nordic skiing. If you want to try cross-country skiing but don’t know how to choose the correct size of cross-country ski poles, our SCHEELS experts have the information you are looking for so you can get started!

Parts of a Ski Pole

parts of a ski pole

For beginners, it is important to understand the terminology used when discussing sizing cross-country ski poles. You can also check out our guide to Cross Country Skiing For Beginners for more information about what you need to know when you’re just starting out. The diagram below/above? will help you learn the main portions of a ski pole.

Comparing Classic Style Skiing and Skate Style Skiing

The two most popular styles of cross-country skiing are classic style skiing and skate style skiing. Poles used in classic skiing are shorter than poles used in skate skiing so this will factor into what ski poles you decide on. Once you understand each cross-country skiing technique, you’ll be able to narrow down what length is right for you.

Classic Cross-Country Ski Pole Sizing

Classic Style cross county skiing

The majority of skiers will start their introduction to cross-country skiing with the classic skiing style. With this technique, the skier leans forward and puts their weight on one ski, pushes off that ski, and then glides on the other ski in a straight forward line. The forward lean when performing the classic cross-country style is the reason for the shorter ski poles. Skiers use their ski poles to continue their momentum forward by planting their poles in between each step. For classic skiing, we recommend having a ski pole that measures up to your shoulder height.

Classic Cross-Country Ski Pole Sizing

Skate style cross country

A newer technique of cross-country skiing is the skate style. This style of cross-country skiing is done outside of the classic preset tracks. During skate skiing, the skier plants their skis laterally to propel themselves forward, resembling an ice skating motion. Similar to the classic style, skiers use their ski poles to continue their momentum forward by planting their poles in the ground in between each lateral push. The skate cross-country skiing style is performed in a slightly upright position. This is the reason why skate ski poles are longer. We recommend having a skate ski pole that measures up to your nose or ears.

How to Size Cross-Country Ski Pole Size Chart

Ideally, you will have access to cross-country ski poles in order to find out how they feel or measure up to your specific height. If you don't, then you can use this general chart to find your recommended cross-country ski pole length based on your height.

Skier Height Classic Style Length (CM)Skate Style Length (CM)
6'5" +170 180
6'5" - 6'3"165175
6'3" - 6'1"160170
6'1" - 5'11"155165
5'11" - 5'9"150160
5'9" - 5'7"145155
5'7" - 5'5"140150
5'5" - 5'3"135145
5'3" - 5'1"130140
5'1" - 4'11"125135
4'11" - 4'9"120130
4'9" - 4'7"115125
4'7" - 4'5"110120
4'5" - 4'3"105115
4'3" - 4'1"100110
3'11" - 4'1"9585
< 3'11"9080

Now that you know the parts of a ski pole and how to size a cross-country ski pole, it’s time to get a set of your own! If you have any questions about cross-country ski poles, stop by or call your local SCHEELS store to speak with an expert!