Swix poles will be using a new measuring system starting with the 2022/2023 winter season. It is certain to cause some confusion, but this guide should help to make it easier. The last several years have already been a bit confusing for customers buying Swix poles with the new TCS handle and strap system as those poles are actually physically shorter than the labeled length. Moving forward there will still be poles with and without TCS handles and straps. This results in 4 different physical lengths of poles with the same labeled length when looking at the old and new measuring systems and TCS and non TCS poles in each system.
First off we should address the confusion with TCS poles from the old measuring system. Swix and most other pole brands have historically measured pole length from tip to top of the handle. While there have been a few exceptions over the years, this has been pretty universal for all Nordic ski poles. The confusion with TCS poles comes from the fact that Swix essentially chopped the top of the handle off to save weight. The strap of a 155cm TCS pole exits the handle at the same height as the strap on a non TCS pole, but the actual physical length of that pole is 2.5cm shorter than the labeled length. We have had a good number of customers over the last few years that have been (understandably) confused by this. But the important thing is that the strap exits the handle at the same point and gives the skier the same effective length pole.
New for winter 2022/2023, Swix will be measuring pole length based on the top of where the strap exits the handle. TCS and non TCS poles will both be offered, so there will still be two poles labeled with the same length that have physically different lengths when measured from tip to top of handle. The idea with the new system is that we are changing what we think of as our reference point for measuring. The original reference point of the top of the handle on non TCS poles is 4cm above the top of where the strap exits the handle. This means that a new Swix pole will have an effective length that is 4cm longer than the same labeled length old pole. If you are buying a new pole and you want to match your old length, the closest length will be a pole that has a 5cm shorter labeled length. This will give you a pole with the strap exiting the handle 1cm below your old pole.
While this is probably a bit confusing and most likely a bit more frustrating, we believe it is the way that poles probably should have been measured to start with. We have seen a decent amount of length variation over the years as swix has used different wedges to hold the straps in, and a decent amount of variation between brands. The new system will consistently measure to the exact same reference point and will also be more useful for racers who need to conform to FIS length regulations.
If you are in the market for new poles, we suggest you reference our new pole sizing chart. We find many skiers are using the wrong length poles, or have swapped baskets, and handles which can actually alter the length of the pole. Different models and brands can actually add more or less length to the pole.