“So what is the deal with these crazy looking poles I have been seeing around lately?” I am sure that is what you have been asking yourself. Well for the people who don’t know yet there is a new ski pole company in town. Panda Poles launched on 1-11-11 and it 100% a local Snowbird homegrown company. The two main players are Tanner Rosenthal and Oakley White-Allen. These two top notch shredders came up with an idea for a sustainable ski pole with a wicked cool basket and they made it happen.
Aside from the fact that they are made of bamboo the basket is the next most noticeable feature. The guys at Panda call it a Zero Drag Powder Basket and it is designed to never get snagged in a tree, on a rock, or when you are crushing deep pow. I have been rocking Panda Poles for just one short week and I really like them.
Here are my observations so far. First they are a little heavy which I really like. I hate light whippy poles that are always bouncing all over the place. These poles will not bend and rebound like a carbon pole and that is awesome in my book. Second I really dig the grip. Since it is way longer that a traditional grip you can adjust where you grab it depending on what you are doing: skiing pow, hiking, poling along… Third, the basket has not snagged on anything so far, so I think it works the way it is supposed to. One thing to add on the basket note, since the cone changes how deep the point of the pole goes into the snow the poles ski a little longer than a traditional pole of the same length. I rock a 45″ pole and got a Panda in the same 45″ length, but I think I am going to take 1.5″ or so off to compensate. Lastly , and by far most importantly, they make you look cool and people will want to ask you all about them.
If you are concerned with durability don’t be. Tanner has run some pretty scientifically solid tests including the video below and has found Panda Poles to be as strong or stronger that the competition.
Tanner’s Durability Test.
Check out another fun video from the Panda Poles Blog with Oakley shredding around Snowbird switch.
Oakley’s Shredding Test.