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Racers average 30-45 pole plants per minute. Over the course of the 52km American Birkebeiner the winner may lift his poles more than 5,000 times. A skier completing the race in 3hrs. could have poled 7,000 times and a 4hr. skier might have lifted their poles 10,000 times.

Extra weight is not fun! If you and a friend ski a 3-hour Birkie and the friend uses Swix's ultra-light Triac pole while you use the heavier CT4 "Comp" pole, you will be lifting an additional 3oz. every time you pole.  Every.  Single.  Stroke.  If each stroke moves your pole 5ft., this equates to curling a gallon of milk in each hand 375 times during the race. Will you still beat that friend?

The most important shaft properties are overall weight, swing weight, stiffness, and strength. Swing weight refers to the pendulum motion of a pole plant and how more weight near the pole tip requires more energy from the skier. The stiffer the pole the more energy goes into forward movement. Strength refers to the durability of the pole.

We generally use the following formulas to determine the pole length you require.  Of course, there is some variation, and as you ski more you may devlop a personal preference for a slightly longer or shorter pole, but we've found these give a consistently good starting point.

Skate Pole Length = (Height - 20cm)
Classic Pole Length = (Height - 30cm)

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1786 W Wayzata Blvd
Long Lake, MN 55356

Phone: 952-473-0377
Mail Order: 877-473-4327


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Wisdom, Value, Selection. These three ideals are the core of Gear West. We bring you the best products for your sport, style, and skill at the best prices and back them with unparalleled knowledge and support.

North America's largest cross country ski retailer and one of Minnesota's premier independent specialty sports stores, Gear West provides top level gear for nordic, running, alpine, soccer, lacrosse, and boardsports athletes across the midwest and the United States. We provide equipment for athletes of every level, from first-timers and newcomers to professionals and Olympians.

We carry only the highest quality equipment, accessories, and apparel from the most respected companies in the world. These include brands such as adidas, Arc'teryx, Atomic, Asics, Bjorn Daehlie, Bliz Active Eyewear, Brine, Brooks, Capita, Craft, Debeer, Elan, Fast Wax, Fischer, Gait Lacrosse, HEAD, Inov-8, Madshus, New Balance, Newton, Nike, One Way Sport, Pearl Izumi, Rex Wax, Rode Wax, Rossignol, Rottefella, Salice, Salomon, Skadi, Smartwool, Star Wax, Start Wax, STX, Swenor, Swix, Tecnica, Toko, V2, Vibram, Volkl, Warrior, Yoko, and many, many more.

Despite this vast selection, the products we carry are ones that we believe in, stand behind, and use every day. We pride ourselves on providing the kind of service that you tell your friends about. If you have any questions, feel free to call us toll free at 1-877-473-4327 or email us.

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