How To Make Collapsible Ski Poles

When you travel with roller skis, ski poles are rather awkward to transport. While the roller skis are short and fit into a handy bag, the ski poles are quite long (~1.5 m) and do not fit into the same bag. It would be nice to have collapsible ski poles that fit into the same bag as the roller skis!

While I haven’t found any collapsible ski poles commercially available, I realized an interesting fact: On the one hand, many (most?) roller and cross-country ski poles have a diameter of 16mm. On the other hand, there is a kind of common plastic tube in Sweden called VP tube (Sw. VP-rör), which also has a diameter of 16 mm. Theses tubes are very common and are used to contain electrical wiring inside walls. For joining VP tubes, there is a contraption known as a joint sleeve (Sw. skarvmuff).

The obvious experiment is to use such a joint sleeve to join the halves of a divided ski pole. To try this out, I found myself a pair of Swix Alu Light roller ski poles.

I sawed them in half,

and ground down the edges.

If you cut carbon fibre or composite poles, I would suggest applying nail polish to the cut end instead of grinding to prevent fraying and unraveling of the fibres. Beware of the saw dust which is a health hazard!

I bought a set of dirt cheap joint sleeves from the Beijer local building supplies store, and a bag of winged hose clamps from Amazon.

I reconnected the ski poles using the joint sleeves.

And voilà!

I also tried joining the poles using a 16 mm-diameter, 100 mm-long aluminum pipe split in half, but the joining procedure became more difficult this way. This latter approach could possibly be useful for ski poles having a non-circular cross section.

I tested my new collapsible poles roller skiing a 6 km asphalt track, and the poles worked remarkably well! Admittedly, they add 33 gram to the weight of each pole (meaning 15-20%), and of course, they affect the balance and pendulum properties of the pole. A more advanced skier than me may be dissatisfied, especially under racing conditions, but for me, they seem quite acceptable for fitness training. And they fit perfectly well into my handy roller ski bag!

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