I’m really fussy about my ski poles and despite a collection of brand-new shiny ones in the garage, I tend to stick with my trusty old ones every single time. I’d never used the Leki trigger strap system before – where the strap fits around the glove and then you simply click into the pole grip. It’s a neat set-up, and once I attached the strap to my glove, I liked the fact it can just stay there and you hardly notice it on. The Bluebird Vario’s look great and feel nicely balanced – light, yet with just a bit of swing weight that gives them a solid feel. I tested them in deep powder snow (they come with Big Mountain baskets) and then on groomed slopes (changing the baskets to the standard issue touring size). I had quite a big fall off-piste with a tumble and the trigger system released immediately, which is a real bonus. What I struggle with a little is the fact I tend to grip ski poles with my thumb on top (perhaps unusual, but I know others who do too) and it doesn’t work with the trigger system because it constantly releases the strap. Size is easily adjustable between 110 and 140cm, making them ideal ski touring poles, which is what they are designed for.
► Verdict: Possibly the nicest looking ski touring poles you will ever use.
► Best for: Ski touring adventures, but not if you’re a ‘thumb on top’ kind of skier.
Review by Rob Stewart