What makes one ski pole better than another? The founders of Mad Owl think they know the answer to that and they’re putting their money where their mouth is. While riding through the park at Mt. Bachelor, founders Sterling West and Chris Lewis noticed that kids were hacking up their poles–cutting them down and putting different grips on them. They decided that if other pole manufacturers weren’t going to give the people what they wanted then they would.
After graduating from the business program at Oregon State Univeristy-Cascades in Bend, Oregon, they started doing their research. Nine months later, a business plan was born and the R&D continued. They managed to raise some capital and after more than a year and a half of designing their freestyle-oriented poles, the final draft was sent off to production. Careful consideration and an emphasis on quality led the duo to choose Austria as the origin for these angry birds. The poles are forged from aircraft-grade aluminum and adorned with eye-catching graphics before being shipped back to Oregon. Aside from the forging and printing process, the rest of the components are designed and produced locally.
The freestyle line is available in four different lengths–35”/37”/41”/43”–to accommodate what the owners see as a need for shorter poles that aren’t just cheap, kids sizes. The three models–Revolt, Parkore, and Coalition–weigh in at 24 ounces and come with powder and park baskets that are interchangeable. A quick-switch mechanism allows you to easily twist the basket and pop it on or off. The grip design blends that of a traditional ski pole with a BMX grip for an ultra-grippy, yet minimalist handle and they are available in blue and black as well as fluorescent green and pink for those with a flair for neon.
Also in the works is a backcountry line of poles from Mad Owl that should be available in the near future with more features and lengthier sizes. The features have not yet been released but a statement from the company says that they will “blow our competitors’ minds.” We look forward to seeing what that means, exactly.
To check out the poles, head on over to skimadowl.com where you can pick from one of the three available models for $84.95, shipping included.
Quality poles for those who like shorter sizes, quick-changing baskets, good grips.
Too short for some folks, a little pricey for aluminum poles.