REVIEWS AND TESTS
Ski Tests & Reviews
24 Year Leki Worldcup Ski Pole Test
Sometimes you get what you pay for. We've never really seen a long-term ski pole test, and since we like the idea of finding ski products that last a REALLY long time without failure, we figured a pair of poles showing zero problems, breakage, bending, parts-loss or any failure whatsoever after 24 years of intense abuse and neglect across two continents of summer and winter usage was worth a few words.
New (2018) and 24 year-old (1994) Leki Worldcup pole carbide tip assemblies
Full-dislosure: Leki supported our ExoticSkis.com ski testing program by donating test poles for our Leki Vario Ski Pole test back in 2014, and provided ski poles for our test crew in 2018. We believe in honest, detailed reporting of ski gear, and disclosure of product donation or pro-form discounts is part of that reporting. We report our real experiences with gear we review, and if we like it, we say so. If we don't like it, we say so. We don't like ski gear that falls short of performance or durability expectations, so we wouldn't use anything that makes us unhappy. Leki poles have been making us happy with flawless performance and durability for years, so we continue to use them and wanted to let you know how they have held up under constant abuse.
One of my best ski buddies who worked in a ski shop hooked me up with a pair of Leki Worldcup poles in the winter of 1994-1995. Since that time, I've been abusing this pair of poles with countless ski days in:
These poles saw:
The Leki Worldcup poles have featured high-quality aluminum alloy shafts, carbide tips and durable grips for decades, and this pair of 1994-vintage poles have demonstrated what you get when you build a product with top-shelf materials and assemble them with careful craftsmanship and vigilant quality control. A couple of things stand out when you spend the money on a high-end ski pole:
Don't Do This To Your Poles:
My old Leki Worldcup poles began to shed their paintjob after a few seasons as soon as the surface was scarred by ski edges or rocks on the slopes, or by miscellaneous junk they shared space with in the ski pod year after year. I tend to abuse my poles by tossing them into a ski box first, then piling tons of skis on top of them, cramming and jamming the gear in, hoping to "...get just one more pair of skis into the box and get it to close...". This is straight-up gear abuse. Don't do it. I should repent and renounce my evil ways...but old habits die hard... Great poles don't deserve to be tossed into the bottom of a box of heavy, sharp-edged skis bouncing around on the pothole-riddled, rut-infested dirt roads like a 12mm wrench in a junky toolbox full of hammers, clamps, screwdrivers and other hardware.
Bottom line: These Leki Worldcup poles have survived what we think is pretty typical abuse for 24 years, and they still work as flawlessly as the day they were torn from their shrink-wrap, and that's really cool. The high-end race pole costs more than a mid-range pole, but I have no doubt I would have needed at least 5 pairs of cheaper poles during that same time period, and been frustrated along they way as they either bent, broke or fell apart on a day out on the slopes, perhaps putting a harsh bummer on what would have been a really fun day in the snow. Our advice: buy a high-end pole, swap in your favorite baskets as-needed for the conditions (I like a fat basket on a race pole for all-terrain fun and games) and never worry about your poles again. Kudos to companies like Leki who build top-shelf poles with great materials and craftsmanship so skiers can enjoy decades of worry-free, reliable performance from their ski poles when they're outside having fun.
Pictures speak 1,000 words:
Leki Worldcup pole carbide tip assemlies 2018 (left - 1 season of usage) and 1994 (right 24 years of use)
24-year old Leki Worldcup pole shafts showing paint loss
New, 2018 pole (left) and 24 year-old Leki Worldcup pole (right)
Note the straightness of the 24 year old shaft (yes, the offset top section is intentional)
New 2018 (left) and 24 year-old (right) Leki Worldcup poles
(yes, the offset top section is intentional)
1994 (24 year-old) Leki Worldcup pole grip...
slightly worn, but still super tacky with strap in great condition.
Several companies provide discounts or donations to support our ski testing program.
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