We started this series of articles with the WHY - what motivations get us outside touring…
On a hut trip in January, I got to take Black Crows’ Trios Freebird ski poles into the backcountry for the first time. Black Crows is a relatively new brand for Mountain Chalet, and one that fulfills all of our priorities as a backcountry-specific ski shop. It might seem strange to place such emphasis on the quality of a pair of poles. Often, they are a piece of gear that may seem nonessential, something you might forget to toss in the car on your way to the mountains. The Trios Freebird poles, however, prove why they are a piece of gear that deserve to be remembered and recognized for their importance in your ski kit.
The Trios Freebirds are sleek, light, and incredibly durable. On the skin track, it felt like there was nothing in my hand – so much that for the first mile or so, I kept dropping them! Their lightness is in large part due to the addition of 18mm of carbon fiber in the top tube and overall aluminum alloy construction. Two points of adjustability in this telescopic pole create many options to find just the right length as the terrain changes in your backcountry pursuits. The ease of adjusting these poles is heightened by the durable aluminum quick release tabs that tighten down securely and release with little effort. The long, cushioned hand grips on these poles are a true selling point for me. I love being able to adjust my hand position along the almost eighteen inches of foam to find the most comfortable approach to varying terrain. Additionally, as as someone whose hands are often cold, the insulating nature of these grips is a definite benefit.
My only hesistation about the poles was the lack of a wide hand grip and lack of a quick release pole strap. I tend to approach steep skin tracks with my hands resting on the top of my poles to give me extra stability. The Trios Freebirds do not have a widened head making this strategy uncomfortable. I found, however, that dropping my hands down the long hand grips on steep skin tracks was just as comfortable as my usual strategy. If you know you will be traveling through avalanche terrain, consider taking the poles straps off at your car – all you need is a Phillips head screwdriver.
The icing on the cake for me with these poles is the pivoting powder basket. This feature insures a stable pole plant no matter the angle of the slope or condition of snow. I loved knowing that each pole plant in deep powder would stay parallel to the slope ensuring maximum float and preventing me from taking any dives.
In toto, these poles are super cool, sleek, and intentionally designed – making them perfect for backcountry travel. While poles may be the piece of equipment in your kit that you forget about or assume has been as good as it will get. I think the Trios Freebirds could be a small addition that makes a big difference in your backcountry ski pursuits.