I've gotten to know the guys at United States Ski Pole Company over the years and they're doing some pretty cool stuff that deserves a bit of recognition. Andy Liebner is the majority owner of the company, and he's the author of a really good cross-country skiing book called Wild Shot. Andy was also the coach of Roberto Carcelen, Peru's first winter Olympian, at the Sochi Olympics. I know Roberto pretty well because I've done the Inca trail with him a few times.
|With Roberto Carcelen at Machu Picchu|
I've been skiing on some USSPC poles this season and I'm pretty excited about them. It's nice to see even more good quality ski products which are made in the USA. The pole I've been using is the XC Signature and I find it to be extremely light and stiff with a comfortable strap. I haven't race tested the pole yet (Roberto used one of the higher models at Sochi), but I plan on using them up at Sisu this weekend.
One of the things I really like about the poles is that they have a highly adjustable strap. They don't sell XL, L, M, S straps, but instead have one strap that can be adjusted. This makes sense especially in Wisconsin where you sometimes have to ski with bulky gloves and it's nice to have the option to widen up your strap. A lot of race poles out there come with straps that are only designed to accommodate light weight race gloves, so the USSPC grips are a nice innovation.
The other thing I like about USSPC is that they allow you to buy a single pole shaft in case you break one. This isn't common within the skiing industry and it's great to see competition producing a better overall product for consumers (hey...it's United States Ski Pole Company after all, this is essentially the essence of the free market right?).
It's going to be fun to watch USSPC grow, from my vantage point it appears that they're a good, young company making some really good decisions.
If you're curious about them, check out their web page. If you want to handle the poles, we have a couple sets at Cyclova. Also, Andy just sent me this video which tells you more about them. Nice work Andy!