«

»

Feb 22 2015

Review: G3′s Via ski poles

When it comes to ski poles any pole will do, especially if you’ve just broken or lost yours. However, if you’re earning your turns, it is worth it to get yourself a pair with dedicated backcountry features. The most obvious would seem to be a pole with length adjustability, but that is only one of many features to consider, and length adjustment is used less often than you might think. More important are several other features that G3 has handily incorporated in every model of their VIA ski pole series.

G3's VIA - a backcountry ski pole worth a closer look.

G3′s VIA – a backcountry ski pole worth a closer look.


Adjustability

G3's adjustment clip uses an offset cam for better clamping power.

G3′s adjustment clip uses an offset cam for better clamping power.

Being able to adjust the length of my ski pole is not a feature I use much while skiing. Even though I don’t use it a lot, when I do it’s critical that the poles adjust easily, and they hold fast to the length adjusted to — random collapsing is grounds for termination. G3′s QuickLock clamp works reliably, and with little apparent clamping force. What I mean by that is the force required to close the clamp seems light for how well it holds without slipping. For comparison it’s about as easy to close as Leki’s system, with a slightly lighter touch than BD’s FlickLock, thanks in part to using a plastic sleeve with a large surface area to do the locking, not metal on metal.

The range of length adjustment is pretty large, 30cm. In my experience you can get 35cm of range out of ‘em, which lets me go down to 110cm for tele turns with the large poles, but up to 145cm when I’m skating across flats and want the extra momentum of pushing with poles. Those long poles can help with other duties, like working as a tent pole for the night.

Choke Point

In theory you might want a shorter pole on the uphill side of a traverse while skinning, but it is far easier to simply choke up on the pole with your uphill hand. G3 provides a stopper about 6 inches below the grip which is a pretty common choke-up position. If you need more, wrap a bungeed ski strap below the stopper wherever you deem appropriate.

Basket

Sic-fingered basket yields good flotation and utility.

Sic-fingered basket yields good flotation and utility.

G3 has an ingenious basket using six plastic leaves that alternate long and short. This has the benefit of providing a large surface area for flotation in fluff, and a short finger at the end of your pole for flipping up climbing posts with authority, not the common experience of trying to pull a stiff lever up with a limp limb. Those shorter fingers on the basket also come in handy when sidehilling firm snow and you want a smaller diameter basket. They take a bit of force to change, but the retaining ridges offer a thread pattern for putting a replacement basket back on more easily.

Grip

Comfortable grip with detachable straps, QuickFlick tip.

Comfortable grip with detachable straps, QuickFlick tip.

All those features are great, but for me the best part of G3′s Via is the grip. Like many other high quality grips, it has an anatomic shape that your hand wraps around naturally, flaring at the bottom for easy purchase. The strap is Y-shaped,with hook ‘n loop adjustment and it naturally, easily wraps around the back of your wrist. Ski mountaineers often prefer no straps and here G3 answers your wish with a clip attachment to the grip that is easily removed.

The top of the grip is wide enough for palming, with what is one of, if not the best “bird’s beak,” on a grip, or what G3 calls their QuickFlick tip. This is essential for being able to use your ski pole, especially when the basket isn’t rigid enough, to move a climbing wire, or unlock the front lever of your binding. Nestled behind the QuickFlick tip, a handy eyelet for running rope through, maybe as part of a drying line, or a guyline off a tent.

Summary

Look, it hooks!

Look, it hooks!

G3′s Via series, plain or carbon, offer some subtle but valuable improvements over other poles on the market. The locking adjustment clamp is at least on par with anything else. Length adjustment is a solid 30+cm. The basket is ingenious, but pales compared to how nice the grip is. If you’re in the market for new poles, be sure to give G3′s Via a look.

Genuine Guide Gear
Via Carbon
MSRP: $130
Weight (lg):
Length: Small (95-125cm), Large (115-145)

Via
MSRP: $100
Weight/pole (sm): 9.3 oz. (265 g)
Length: Small (95-125cm), Large (115-145)

© 2015
 

  • feonica kaihlan martinez

    Nice review for this G3 for skiing. Thanks for the info. Its help me a lot.

  • Mattias Lindh

    As you write long poles are very useful when e.g. skating across the flats, and the small is probably too short. Unfortunately G3 really hit the weakspot for me when it comes to lengths (I usually use 107cm poles when teleing), so the following question is a dealbreaker: do I interpret you correctly that the large size (115-145) actually is a 110-145?