A New and Better Ski Pole Strap
After some 55 years of various kinds of skiing, I recently realized what a nuisance the pole straps or clasps have been for all that time — to me, and no doubt, to everyone else who skis (with poles). Time to see what might be done about that!: I watched other skiers on trails and ski hills, and sure enough, most people routinely struggle to get their gloves and mitts in or out of loop straps, and even clasp handles. I myself tried some clasp handles for downhill skiing, and still found them a bit tight for mitts or thick gloves, though my hands are quite big.
But the handle clasp gave me an idea about the common loop straps on poles: the strap doesn’t need to form a loop from the top of the handle. I took the screw out of the top of the handle on a pole and pulled out the strap loop — it was a continuous strap, folded inside the handle so that the loose ends went to a buckle for adjustment. So I cut the loop at the fold, seared the ends, and put one strap back in the handle slot. The other strap I sewed in a tight loop around the shaft, just below the grip. Now the strap forms a wide arc from the top to the bottom of the handle: no problem getting any glove or mitt through that now! And a normal-length strap leaves enough slack for the hand to grip the upper part of the loop under either your thumb or your hand, depending on which way the hand is first put through.
See the picture below: the left pole has the standard loop arrangement, the middle pole has a clasp hand grip that inspired this modification, and the right one shows the complete strap in the new arrangement. I’ve tried it a few times already, and it works great. But if not for you, it could easily be reverted in minutes, to the original loop attached at the top of the handle.
UPDATE: With support from a few correspondents, here are some small changes that MAY be helpful, in your own use:
1. I immediately sewed a button on the tip of each adjustable strap to maximize the available length without worrying about it pulling out.
Extra strap length is nice sometimes, especially for big mitts, so
2. you may make the shaft loop out of separate material, and sew or rivet the bottom strap between its ends to save all of the original length, or
3. replace the whole bottom strap with a longer one, and sew it around the shaft.
4. taping, gluing, or screwing the shaft loop in place keeps it from moving down the shaft or rotating on the shaft and tangling the loop (usually in transport or on the lift).
5. You can put your hand through the loop ‘outward’ or ‘inward’: if you put it in from the outside toward yourself, you can grip the upper strap under your hand instead of around your thumb — that usually works and feels best.
Orvel Original Concept Improved Version