Ski Pole Basket Types (Explained)

Ski Pole Basket Types

Ski Poles have a very straightforward design. You’ve got the straps that wrap around your wrists to make sure the poles don’t go flying out your hands. The grips that the said hands hold onto. The shaft which is the entire length of the pole. The tip which digs into soft surfaces.

And last but not least, the basket… What on earth is a ski pole basket?

In this post, I’ll discuss what these are, how to change them and give you a quick rundown of the different ski pole basket types. 

What Is A Ski Pole Basket?

A ski pole basket is a fundamental accessory which is attached nearing the tip of the ski pole. It is mainly used to prevent the ski pole from digging too deep into soft, powder-like surfaces such as snow, sand and mud.

Also read our awesome guide on the best ski poles.

But is it necessary? Well depending on the type of Skiing you do, it could be at times the most useless thing you could put on a ski pole or the most important. 

There are multiple ski pole basket types with different case uses, but there are 3 specific types that are a staple standard within a majority of the brands that produce ski pole baskets.

Let’s take a look at these.

The 3 Ski Pole Basket Types

The three main types of ski pole baskets are Freeride, Winter and Summer baskets. Here are each of them in more details:

Also read why ski poles are bent here.

Freeride Ski Pole Baskets 

These ski pole basket types are universal, meaning they can be used in all different types of powdery surfaces like snow and sand. There are multiple sizes for these, but the standard size for these types of Ski Pole Baskets are around 5cm.

Freeride Ski Pole Baskets 

The shapes are very varied for these types of baskets but a majority of them use a disk-shaped design and some even have large holes in them to ease the pressure formed when the snow/sand and basket come into contact.

Freeride ski pole baskets are mainly made of plastics, but can be made using metals as well. Read about freeride skiing here.

Winter/Racing Ski Pole Baskets 

These types of ski pole baskets are race oriented and mostly used in snowy terrain as these baskets are usually smaller in size when compared to Freeride ski pole baskets and have a very distinct design as well with most of them having a curved triangle on one side of the basket, that actually prevents the racer from digging into the snow too deep.

Racing Ski Pole Baskets

Winter Ski Pole Baskets are made using super lightweight metals like Carbon Fibre or Aluminum for better aerodynamics and weight distribution, plastic tends to crack in lower temperatures so they aren’t that commonly used for these types of baskets. 

Summer Ski Pole Baskets

These types of ski pole baskets are used in terrains such as sand and mud. Summer ski pole baskets have a similar size and shape to the standard Freeride baskets, being disk-shaped but with fewer holes and in some cases, a convex shape.

Summer Ski Pole Baskets are also made using the same materials as the standard Freeride Basket.

How To Change Ski Pole Baskets

Here’s a quick step by step guide for replacing ski pole baskets:

How To Change Ski Pole Baskets

Step 01: First up, you need to gather the supplies. You will need something to loosen the glue (hot water or blow dryer), a piece of cloth, glue stick and a lighter.

Step 02: Start off by either using the blow dryer on the basket, or by submerging the basket in hot water. The goal here is to melt / loosen the existing glue. Don’t use a blow dryer for more than 3 minutes or you might damage the pole.

Step 03: Next use the cloth to pull the heated basket out of the pole.

Step 04: Now you need to heat up the glue stick using the lighter and spread this melted glue around the pole where the previous basket used to be.

Step 05: Afterwards, immediately push your new basket into the pole and into the correct position.

Step 06: All you need to do now is to reheat it for about a minute using the dryer and let it cool off for about 15 minutes.

That’s it, you just did a ski pole basket replacement! In the meantime, check out our guide on trekking poles vs ski poles.


Are ski pole baskets universal?

Some ski pole baskets are universal but most are not. The size and shape of the baskets will vary depending on the type of skiing that’s been done and the manufacturer.

Where to buy ski pole baskets?

You can buy ski pole baskets at ski shops and ski resorts or you can order them online from retailers such as REI, Amazon and eBay if you know what basket type, shape or size to get.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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