How to convert Cross Country Ski Poles into Nordic Walking Poles

Caveat: I do 95% of my Nordic Walking on dirt trails, so I have not extensively tested these modified poles on paved streets. What I have found it the little rubber feet do slip off on occasion when walking on paved roads, but are still quite usable.

Given the current state of the US economy, it's pretty hard to justify spending $100+ on a pair of Nordic Walking poles. Cross Country ski poles are nearly the same thing, and they usually cost about half as much. Fortunately, with a hack saw and a little adhesive you can convert Cross Country ski poles into Nordic Walking ones pretty easily.

Step 1. Make sure you buy ski poles with the fingerless glove type straps. Many Cross Country ski poles come with a simple loop grip, which are not useful. Have a look at the picture on this page if you don't know the difference. Basically, the fingerless glove type straps let you relax your grip on the poles briefly, with is essential to getting the technique right.

Step 2. Remove the handles from the poles. I did this by jamming the pole handle inside an old filing cabinet handle while pulling on the pole. Use your imagination here - there has to be something around your home that can grip the handle while you separate out the pole. I have even been able to remove the handles with just my bare hands.

pole handle

Step 3. Cut off the excess length of the pole with a hacksaw. Since Cross Country ski poles are sized differently than the ones used for Nordic Walking, what you end up buying will inevitably need to be shortened. Remember the sizing formula for Nordic Walking:

your height in centimeters x .68 = the correct size pole

What I usually do is simply cut enough of the poles so that when I grip them in front of me my elbow makes a 90 degree angle. Have a look at the woman on this page holding her Nordic Walking Poles for an example.

Step 4 (optional) Hack saw off the snow baskets. I don't see any harm in leaving on the snow baskets, I just think they look kind of dopey when you are polling along a dry road. Just be sure to not cut into the plastic casing that holds that little steel spike in place at the end of the pole - you will need that!

Step 5. Glue the handles back on.

Step 6. Add rubber feet for paved roads. The only place I found that sells rubber Nordic Walking pole tips is ebay. I pay about $3 a pair. These work great for me so long as I really jam them onto the poles.

nordic walking pole tips
A pair of feet I purchased on ebay