One area that we often over look is the integrity of our ferrule and grip glue.
During one of my daughter Cassidy’s best Super Tour Races she was duking it out in Wisconsin with a lead pack composed of US demo team members and racers from NMU. Feeling feisty she tried to pass several times only to get boxed out. When she finally decided to make her move and break from the pack with less than one K to go, she got her pole stomped on and off came the ferrule and basket. She limped into the stadium – trailing the lead pack. It would have been a heartbreak, but she was so happy to have skied with the lead pack for so many K, she didn’t mind limping in last out of that lead pack and 7th overall.
Lesson learned? Her JO coach told her immediately that she should always double check her ferrules and grips. Great suggestion and one that we ALL need to pay better attention to.
At more and more races I’m seeing fewer broken poles and more and more "glue related issues" – ferrules and/or grips detaching from the poles.
What is up with this "glue" issue? Most poles have their ferrules and grips attached with "heat glue" – allowing shops and trained individuals to remove ferrules and grips easily to shorten pole length with a pipe cutter. If you have stopped growing you may want to consider using epoxy and permanently attach your ferrules and grips.
If you are using heat glue because you or an athlete you are working with is growing or if your skate poles may end up getting cut down to classic length you may want to ensure that your "heat glue" has a secure bond. Summer storage in warm places and/or poles placed to close to a heater (at home, hotel or your car’s) can jeopardize the integrity of your pole glue.
When hosting waxing clinics I purposely get off topic and suggest to everyone in the audience that they should check their poles’ ferrules and grips.
After hosting a wax clinic recently at Brick Wheels I told the group about checking the integrity of their pole glue. A week later, one of the Brick Wheels wax clinic attendees told me that he had accidentally placed his poles near his car’s heater vent and he didn’t realize the mistake until his pole grip popped off in the middle of the North American VASA.
It is also important to know that poles arriving in the USA are shipped in large containers from around the world and these containers can have core temps that far exceed the recommendations of heat glue. My suggestion is to always double check the integrity of NEW poles too.
I hope this suggestion will prevent you from having to limp along the race course due to a ferrule or grip mishap.
Ski fast and have FUN!
For more ski pole and/or ski wax info please feel free to contact Pete Edwards, member of the Subaru/SWIX Technical Team:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org SWIX Racing: www.swixracing.us