Review: G3 “Via” ski poles
Tree skiing requires a very deft set of skills. Quick reactions are one of them, especially as the trees get tighter. And specialised gear is also called for. Shin and knee pads jump to mind, but we never really ski with those. However I learnt that when skiing trees, poles with breakaway straps are worth their weight in gold. Hook a pole basket in the crook of a tree, with a solid strap anchored to your wrist, and feel the your arm wrenched back, body flung sideways, skis fly above the head….. And so I have formed the healthy habit of always buying poles with breakaway straps. Now in New Zealand we don’t have much in the way of tree skiing; we are skiing in the Alpine. But habits die hard, and I still require breakaways straps. And rarely, but sometimes, my poles still get hooked on some ice, a corner of rock, some cheeky tussock or something. And I swear I have been saved by the reassuring release of the strap.
So the G3 Via has releasable/breakaway straps. And for that reason I am happy to ski with them.
Now looking at the individual parts:
Releasable strap. Yes. Does snow get stuck in the clip so it is hard to reclip in. Yes. But then again all releasable straps have this issue.
Soft, comfortable grip, ergonomic design and right size. Yes. G3 have gone further and added a kind of hook at the top of the grip. This is very handy for lifting touring risers on bindings etc and works well. The disadvantage here is that when I am backcountry ski touring I use the top of my pole to frequently probe the snow, feel the snowpack layers and assess conditions. Having the lip on top of the pole’s grip precludes this, even when the straps are released (another great reason to have releasable straps!).
There’s a little grip to rest on whilst touring…mmm…unnecessary. Balance on the skis and a gentle grip on the pole should suffice.
Length adjustment mechanism. Yes. Beautifully made, anodised alloy, functional and holds remarkably well. Easily adjusted with gloves.
Baskets. The powder basket works well and holds perfectly in the snow.
Strength Yes. Durability Yes. Quality Yes. Weight, well, its heavy. And all adjustable poles are. I know most split boarders go for poles with double adjustment so that they can pack them away to a small length. The Via only folds half way. I guess that is to save the weight of another mechanism. And the weight affects the performance. For a ski pole it doesn’t swing as nicely as a pole which is not adjustable. And no adjustable pole ever will. But it seems that every backcountry ski tourer uses adjustable poles, and so it is the rigueur du jour. Except for me, I still use a regular, non adjustable pole. But you can be sure it has breakaway straps…