April 2, 2020

You know that feeling when you realize that some retail therapy would perk up your day – that you seriously need something new?  I woke up one morning mid-winter in Alta and had the serious realization that I needed new ski poles.

Ok, Ok, the definition of “need” when it comes to me and new ski gear is loose. Some would say very loose; very flexible. But look – my “old” ski poles were really beaten up. They had endured hundreds of days of skiing, been nicked many times by my ski edges, and bashed aside many tree limbs that otherwise would have bruised my aging body. And yes, sitting in the ski locker are poles I use for tele days (those rare days when I feel young and foolish) and the another set for the back-country. But if one uses these poles while in-bounds on normal skis folks think you are just trying to be cool, which is not cool.

So…enter my new Grass Sticks. I have actually been thinking of saving the world, and given the ability to do that and end up with new ski poles I couldn’t resist. Grass Sticks is a company based in Steamboat Springs that makes eco-friendly bamboo SUP/Canoe paddles and, more importantly, ski poles.  Grass Sticks  The poles are made to order for length, color of handles and baskets, basket size and with hand strap options.

To believe their ad material, bamboo is the superman of all materials – “tensile (not sure what that means but sounds cool) strength of steel and compression strength greater than concrete.” And they are quick to point out that growing bamboo places way less ‘burden’ on the environment than the production of carbon fiber and aluminum. No doubt true and they had me at “tensile.” I fell for one of their Instagram ads and ordered a pair with blue handles, green baskets and no straps.

Given the virus shortened 2020 season I was only able to test drive the poles for a month or so, but I love them. The bamboo has a slight flex to it but seems very strong and supportive. I have had no worries about them breaking or being less sturdy than metal poles and, given an unfortunately prolonged period of little new snow in Utah in late February, I was able to test the strength and flexibility of the poles and baskets in firm conditions. I doubt I will ever need to take advantage of their no questions asked life-time warranty. Grass Sticks highlights in their ad material that the poles are “lighter.” My beat up definitely needed replacing old metal poles were quite light so I can’t say I gained anything there but the bamboo poles are very light with a nice swing weight to them. Bottom line – great idea and execution.

Oh, and did I mention they look really cool!! (I know I said that isn’t cool but…)

conSKIerge co-founder

Kevin Dennis is a life long ski bum with a 34 year legal career on the side. Now retired, he skis 80+ days a year. While he lives in Alta UT in the winters, he has traveled extensively through skiing and has skied almost every major resort in North America (and many you have never heard of). He continues to hit the road often throughout the western United States and Canada and trips over the last several years have included ventures in British Columbia, Montana and Colorado. Whether you want to know about the behemoths like Aspen or Squaw or are interested in the road less travelled (Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Montana or Whitewater in BC anyone?), Kevin has been there, has an opinion and you will most likely have to tell him to shut up after a half hour!