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If you have read any of my boot reviews you may have seen me holding a black G3 pole in most of my photos. Those poles are the G3 Via carbon and they have fast become my favorite pair of poles ever.
Many people think a pole is a pole and I admit I used to think the same but getting these adjustable poles from G3 has been awesome.
I will admit if I only rode the park these would not be my pole of choice but for the type of skiing I do, which could be anything from touring to park these give me a great amount of freedom.
The Via Carbon as the name suggests is a carbon pole and it is G3's lightest adjustable pole weighing only 280g in the larger size.
The top uses a 18mm carbon shaft and the bottom a 16mm shaft so the pole is good and rigid top to bottom even when used in the longer lengths.
One thing I really like is the fact you can easily (and fairly cheaply) replace just the lower shaft. The lower section is more often the one that gets broken so not having to replace the whole pole if this happens is nice.
The adjustment mechanism is a simple lever which you flip open and push or pull the lower shaft to adjust the length. Close the lever and the pole is solid. Even leaning hard on the pole will not force it to give.
They are available in two sizes, small which has a range of 95cm to 125cm and the version I have, the large which goes from 115cm to 145cm. 145Cm may seem big but if your touring especially on a traverse having long poles can be really nice.
The handle is very different to the minimal designs you will often find on park poles. It looks more like the control stick from a fighter jet. It fits in the hand very nicely with or without gloves and the sturdy top is very useful when things get steep.
The large hooked end also has other benefits such as being designed to enable you to open and close boot buckles and flip risers on touring bindings. In practice I find it works well, but having to flip the pole round can be annoying so often I just use the basket.
The straps are well shaped to fit over the glove and allow the user to hold the top of the strap in the palm or have it rest on top of the hand. The straps also feature a quick release system similar to that found on Leki poles, however it is still advised to ski without the straps in avalanche terrain.
The baskets themselves are a larger powder style and the material used is fairly firm which does help when trying to move things like heel risers.
The tips are made from Carbide, Wikipedia says carbide is â€œa carbide is a compound composed of carbon and a less electronegative elementâ€ and G3 say they are designed to grip onto ice and rock. In use they do as G3 say they are sturdy and have not really dulled at all over the course of a season.
Composite poles I have used in the past often had quite a large amount of flex to them if you planted hard but these are rock solid. The first few times I almost thought they were too stiff but once I got used to them I began to love them.
There is no flex or give, if you get out of control you know you can plant and potentially recover.
The locking mechanism has never given any problems and it is very simple to use. It requires no real force to close but holds the pole very firmly.
While touring the handles are comfortable and grippy even without gloves and I do like that the carbon shaft does not get cold so is more comfortable to handle in bare hands.
I am fully confident in there strength and have been using them everywhere, even the park. Although they are a pricey pole for just the park they could certainly work but they are overkill, but anywhere else they are an excellent option.
Incredibly rigid and durable
Useful and comfortable handle
Good range of adjustment
Pricey, but there is the standard VIA which is only slightly heavier