Can You Use Hiking Sticks For Skiing? (Explained)

Can You Use Hiking Sticks for Skiing

If you are the outdoor type and you love to hike or exercise, being the person you are, you might want to try skiing. Hence, you want to know what you need to go skiing successfully.

You know that skiers also use sticks when skiing, and you being a hiker, already have some hiking sticks you use when hiking.

You then wonder if you can use your hiking sticks when you go skiing. Would they work fine, or it’s impossible?

Yes, you can use hiking sticks for skiing. However, if you can buy a ski pole, use it rather than a hiking stick. Ski and hiking poles are different, as their manufacturers built them for different purposes. So, if you use hiking poles for skiing, they can damage much faster because the manufacturers didn’t build them to withstand the ski pressure.

In this article, I’ll explain the difference between hiking and skiing sticks and if you can use your hiking sticks for skiing. I’ll then further explain the poles you can use to ski.

By the end, you’ll understand which stick to use when skiing. So you know if you want to use your hiking stick or a ski pole.

Can Hiking Sticks Be Used for Skiing?

Can You Use Hiking Sticks for Skiing

Yes, you can use your hiking sticks to ski. They both have baskets, although the baskets in the ski poles tend to be bigger than the ones in hiking sticks. 

So if you are skiing on-piste, you can use your hiking stick without much problem, but off-piste might be a little tricky. First, you must get a bigger basket for your hiking stick.

Although you can use your hiking stick to ski, there is a possibility that you’ll damage your hiking stick. That’s because the hiking stick and ski poles serve different purposes.

Hiking sticks are lighter than ski poles and aren’t used to the pressure you use when skiing. So, it can get damaged if you use your hiking stick to ski.

Although hiking sticks aren’t the best, you can still use them for skiing. There are some advantages to using it for skiing as well as some disadvantages.

In the table below, I’ll show the pros and cons of using hiking sticks as ski poles.

The steep slope seems lower with hiking sticks.Playing a game in the snow with a hiking stick is challenging.
It is easier to maintain your balance on level ground.In deep snow, it will be challenging to use a hiking stick.
You can easily maintain your balance on uneven ground or slippery rock.You can’t relax when climbing downhill on a hiking stick.
Maintaining your balance is easier as you climb a slope.Hiking sticks can become stuck in the mud, which makes skiing uncomfortable.
Hiking sticks ease your knees’ pressure when climbing a hill.It is challenging to climb down a hill with a hiking stick.
Going a longer distance with your hiking stick in your bag is easier than a ski pole.

Are Ski Poles Different from Hiking Poles?

Yes, ski poles are different from hiking poles. Although you can use them interchangeably, their manufacturers designed them differently to serve different purposes.

Here are a few differences between ski poles and hiking poles;

  • Use
  • Basket. 
  • Design.
  • Handle Grip.
  • Cost.

#1. Use

Ski poles and hiking poles have different uses. For example, you use a ski pole to maintain balance and control your movement while skiing or snowboarding.

You use a hiking pole to reduce the pressure on your joints during a walk. These poles offer you stability on uneven grounds. They are popularly known as trekking poles.

You can use a hiking stick on any terrain; when climbing the mountain, ice, or rock. You can as well use it when fishing or hunting. You use this pole for a variety of activities.

#2. Basket

The basket in the ski and hiking poles is to protect your poles from damage. However, there is a difference in the baskets of these poles.

In a hiking and ski pole, there are different baskets you can attach to it depending on your trail and what you need them for.

Although these baskets have almost the same use, the basket of a hiking pole is smaller than that of a ski pole.

For example, in hiking poles, we have a mud basket and a snow basket when you use your hiking poles for skiing, etc.

We have different baskets in ski poles, like the racing basket, children’s basket, etc. So, different baskets with different sizes make your journey easier.

#3. Design

The way their manufacturers designed hiking poles and ski poles are different. Hiking poles are often in two or three sections which you can adjust or collapse for easy transport.

As for ski poles, only some are adjustable and have two sections. The adjustable ones are more expensive than the non-adjustable ones.

#4. Handle Grip

Due to the materials these poles manufacturers designed them with, there’s a difference in how you hold the handle to use the pole.

For hiking poles, you can hold the handle with your palm, but you use gloves or mittens to hold the ski pole handle.

#5. Cost

Ski poles are cheaper than hiking poles. However, you can use two hiking poles for more balance, making them more expensive than ski poles.

However, you can sometimes buy single hiking poles, which are still more costly than ski poles.

What Are the Poles for Skiing?

Poles for skiing help you make your skiing experience better. They help with your balance and how you glide on the slope. However, depending on the slope, you can select a pole to ski.

However, before deciding what pole to select, there are many things to consider, like the terrain, pole length, weight, experience, etc.

Here are the different poles you can use when skiing depending on your experience and the terrain you want to ski.

  • Alpine pole.
  • Nordic pole.
  • Freestyle pole.
  • Ski racing pole.
  • Powder ski pole.

#1. Alpine Pole

The alpine pole is the most common ski pole available. This kind of pole is best for skiing downhill across different terrain.

It is best for mountain skiing. The handles are easy to grip; this pole is excellent for on-piste and off-piste skiing because of its basket. In newer models of this pole, you can now find more baskets.

#2. Nordic Pole

You use the nordic or cross-country poles when you want to ski flat surfaces. For example, you can use this pole when hiking or snowshoeing.

The cross-country poles are light and help you move forward in the snow by gripping them with spiked tips and thin shafts.

#3. Freestyle Pole

These poles are known as park poles. They are great for skiing in a snow park and do not sink but float on the snow because they come with large snow baskets.

These poles are usually shorter than others so they can overcome the snow park obstacle. They also have a thin shaft.

#4. Ski Racing Pole

These poles are light, and the manufacturers of these ski poles designed them for racing, so they are fast.

In addition, they have high-tech features that make their performance high when skiing with them.

#5. Powder Ski Poles

The powder ski poles, or backcountry poles, are used when skiing in deep snow.

They have thicker shafts that help reduce the impact of skiing in deep snow. Their poles are adjustable to help you based on the terrain you’re skiing.

Why Do People Use Hiking Poles? 

There are several reasons people use hiking poles. I’ll be listing some of the reasons people use hiking poles below.

  • People use hiking poles to help reduce the weight of their backpacks on their feet, so they rest that weight on the hiking pole. Therefore, sharing the weight of the backpack.
  • To help them balance their movement when hiking on uneven or slippery grounds. 
  • To help them gain a steady footing when climbing up, i.e., dig the hiking pole to know where to step.
  • When people use hiking poles, they use their muscles, thereby burning calories and exercising.
  • To help them walk upright and breathe well because when hiking, it becomes difficult, but a hiking pole helps with that.
  • Hiking poles help people hike down a trail faster, i.e., increasing their speed when hiking down a slope.
  • Sometimes, people use hiking poles to check their hiking trail, if it’s muddy or deep, especially if their trail has a small river they must cross.
  • People also use hiking poles to move things like nettles and plants out of the way to continue their hike.

How Do You Convert Hiking Sticks for Skiing?

Converting your hiking stick for skiing is easy since you can use your hiking stick for skiing.

With as little as $7, you can upgrade your hiking stick into a skiing stick. In addition, with that money, you can buy a basket to attach to your hiking stick that you will use for skiing.

The basket you need to buy when doing this upgrade is the snow basket. This basket allows you to use your hiking stick for skiing.

First, you must remove the basket that came with your hiking stick, as it is smaller than what you need and not suited for skiing.

After removing your hiking stick basket, replace it with the snow basket. When buying the replacement, ensure you get a snow basket that your hiking pole brand can use.

Getting your brand’s snow basket is vital because of the attachment. You cannot attach the basket to your hiking pole if you get another brand’s snow basket.

Finally, you have your hiking stick set for skiing. Please don’t overdo it; you’ll have a skiing stick that will last a while.


In summary, your hiking stick can double as a ski pole. You only need to get a basket so it can last longer than it would in the snow.

Using a hiking stick to ski has its benefit and drawback. However, if you want to avoid buying a ski pole and want to ski, you can use your hiking pole.

Josh Matthews

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