Individual Review Grass Sticks: Cool, Retro, and Highly Functional

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
Pugski Ski Tester
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Nov 8, 2015
Posts
6,704
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Steamboat Springs, Co
Grass Sticks, out of my home town, Steamboat Springs, is making some very cool and highly functional bamboo ski poles. These poles are not just fun, with the big basket, matching handle color, burnished brown shaft, and retro vibe; they are really good -- I mean, they are really good -- poles! I have a bunch o' days with these and just really love them. Yes, they are fun and you will get a lot of people asking about them but every person who tries them comments on how great the grip feels, the sweet swing weight, and the subtle flex of the pole. I like them better than my carbon poles.

grasssticks2.jpg

click for larger size


Shaft: The ski poles are top quality using a special variety of bamboo. The pole flexes pretty much like a carbon pole, stiff with just a touch of flex. It has an incredible swing and feel, easy and smooth. The hand-selected sealed bamboo has a really nice burnished color and has proven to be quite durable, with lots of character.

Grips: Grass Sticks offers seven colors and two types of grip: cork and a rubber that has a nice tacky feel to it. The shape of the grip is very comfortable and there is a nice ledge at the bottom of the grip that provides a good leverage point when poling. The strap is made of hemp with the logo on it.

Baskets: The baskets come in eight colors and three sizes: large powder, mid-size, and disc. The first two sizes are a unique snowflake design. The plastic is flexible, conforming to the pitch you are planting on (this is important). The tip is made of carbide and is slip-resistant.

Custom colors and length: You can order the grips and baskets in a myriad of different colors; best of all, because these are custom made, you can order the exact length you want.

http://www.grasssticks.com/
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
10,093
Location
Colorado
I like mine a lot. The first couple of days I had them, there was a definite eau de varnish emanating from them, but now they smell fine. It's just going to be really hard finding mine in the ski rack with so many other Mutts (I'm going with Mutts for now) owning them as well. (Of course, they had them first, so I can't really complain too hard.)
 

dean_spirito

Freestyle Ski Coach
Skier
Joined
Nov 10, 2015
Posts
628
Location
Breckenridge, CO
This past year I was very fortunate to connect with a Colorado based ski pole company called Grass Sticks. Located in Steamboat, Grass Sticks specializes in handmade ski poles made of bamboo, which can be customized with a variety of colored grips and baskets. New for the 15/16 season, the company has introduced an interchangeable basket system that allows you to effortlessly swap out 3 different sized baskets to match the day's conditions. I've personally been using these poles for the last 6 months and below are a few things I've observed.

Functionality - These poles are light and have an excellent swing weight. I never paid much attention to my poles until I got my hands on this product, but Grass Sticks definitely have an exceptional feel. The grips have excellent ergonomics and fit my hand very well. Finally, the interchangeable baskets allow you to modify your poles for any of the conditions you may face, from hardpack to waist-deep powder.

Style - Let's be honest, if we have to have all of this equipment, it might as well look cool! Grass Sticks combine the vintage look of old bamboo poles with modern grips and baskets. These poles definitely have a cross-generational appeal; old timers who are nostalgic for bamboo poles as well as kids who are drawn to the brightly colored grips and baskets. With Grass Sticks in hand, you will definitely stand out amid a sea of aluminum and composite poles.

Sustainability - Bamboo is a great material that is extremely strong and grows very fast. The same can be said for hemp, which is the material used to make all of the pole straps that come with Grass Sticks. As winter sports enthusiasts we all have a responsibility to protect our winters and reduce our carbon footprint. Do your part by purchasing a product that promotes sustainability in the ski industry.

Customer Service - Grass Sticks are handmade in Steamboat, CO. Every pair of poles is made exactly to your specifications. Do you need a pole that is exactly 113cm? Grass Sticks will make them for you. Not a fan of pole straps? Grass Sticks will make them for you! Poles broke? All Grass Sticks come with a no-questions-asked, 18 month warranty. Just contact the company directly and they will work with you to get your poles replaced.

If you have any questions about this product, feel free to PM me or post in this thread. I'd also be happy to extend a discount code to all Pugski members. Just give me a shout!
 

Gerry Rhoades

mtcyclist rippin' again
Industry Insider
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Nov 9, 2015
Posts
563
Location
Billings, MT
Ron, what is the diameter at the base of the grip and at the top of the basket. In photos these look thinner than Soul Poles and therefore lighter.
 

Drahtguy Kevin

Après aficionado
Pugski Ski Tester
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Nov 9, 2015
Posts
1,235
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Northern Colorado
Grass Sticks are way, way lighter with a much better swing weight. The eyeball test tells me they are smaller diameter as well, IIRC.
 

ErikL

AKA Bro12
Skier
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Posts
214
Location
Reno, NV
I ordered a set of Grass Sticks based on someone's post on Epic. I didn't really need them, but I figured I might as well buy new poles at least once. Just popping in here to say what a great product and company they are. The baskets are threaded onto the pole, which makes it super easy to replace them. However, it also makes it easy to lose a basket if you don't notice that it's unthreading itself over the course of the day. And that's exactly what happened to me -- I lost a basket sometime towards the end of the other day. So I popped on over to their shop page to order a new set of baskets, and I noticed that the instructions for changing a basket didn't really apply to the baskets and design that I had. I emailed them, asking if they had updated their design or forgotten to update the page or whatever -- mostly just wondering what was up. Andrew, the owner, replied within a few hours, saying that they had updated the design to include a set screw so the baskets don't unthread themselves. He had also already looked up my shipping info from my previous order, and sent me a new basket and some screws so I wouldn't lose any more baskets, all under warranty.

I was skiing with my buddy who's opposed to using poles. He's a great skier without them, but he just doesn't see the need for them. He still doesn't want or see the need to ski with poles, but he couldn't help but check out my poles while we were on the lift. :eek: :D
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
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Nov 12, 2015
Posts
10,093
Location
Colorado
They (he?) sent me a locker thingie proactively.

I love my GrassSticks, and they are tied with my Astis mittens for comments on the mountain. My only quibble, which I think is unavoidable with this sort of product, is that some of the varnish is coming off - my habit of clacking poles in crowded areas no doubt being a major culprit. I might shoot them a note at the end of the season asking what product to use to touch it up.
 
Thread Starter
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Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
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You could lightly sand the area, then apply a non-tinted poly urethane. Pretty sure that's a high gloss finish. Use a Exterior product. I like Minwax but there are others. I like my scars!
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
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Nov 12, 2015
Posts
10,093
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Colorado
You could lightly sand the area, then apply a non-tinted poly urethane. Pretty sure that's a high gloss finish. Use a Exterior product. I like Minwax but there are others. I like my scars!
I don't mind them visually, but I worry that it will cause damage, like water seeping in? Not an issue?
 
Thread Starter
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Ron

Ron

Seeking the next best ski
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I don't mind them visually, but I worry that it will cause damage, like water seeping in? Not an issue?
Unless there's a lot of water I doubt there's an issue. Its probably better to seal it up. @Grass Sticks advice? (I will email Andrew)
 

Monique

bounceswoosh
Skier
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
10,093
Location
Colorado
Unless there's a lot of water I doubt there's an issue. Its probably better to seal it up. @Grass Sticks advice? (I will email Andrew)
Yeah, I don't make a habit of submerging my poles in pools of water. I just want to make sure they stay in good repair.
 

Grass Sticks

Booting up
Skier
Joined
Nov 30, 2015
Posts
3
@Monique
Bamboo (unlike wood) is not very porous- so unless your poles are soaking in a pool of water for a long time nothing is going to seep in. We apply the clear coat to seal in moisture (not keep it out) and for looks, so scratches will not be an issue. If you'd like (for looks), you can hand sand the the scratches with 60 grit, then the entire pole with a 120grit. Wipe the dust away with a damp rag, and apply at least two coats of polyurethane. We use a gloss marine spar for its greater flexibility and weather resistance.

@Gerry Rhoades
Our bamboo is 14mm at the tips, and 19+/-1mm at the grip. I really like the way our thinner cut of bamboo flexes and is still very strong and durable. They do not bend when using to skate and push your self, have a great whippy feel in your pole swing, and will flex (in most cases to 90deg) when you crash, rather than snap. As far as I know, Soul Poles are 18mm at both ends, they use a different species of bamboo (tonkin) that does not taper much. Panda Poles uses a similar species to Grass Sticks (calcutta) and (to my knowledge) are 16mm at the tip and about 21mm at the grip. From my experience and hearing from other users, Grass Sticks are lighter then both soulpoles and panda poles because of our smaller diameter bamboo and lightweight components, however each company makes a great bamboo ski pole which just makes more sense then aluminum, composite, or carbon fiber! I recommend checking them out, we all have our own style.
 
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