G3 Via Carbon Review
Cons: Large packed size, marginally heavier than other options, secondary grip inferior to others
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Overall, this pole performs as well as almost any classic two-section telescoping ski poles. It is fully carbon, features a minimalist secondary grip, and has a classic handle design that is very ergonomic.
Ease of Use
The Via Carbon is simple and easy to use. It features an ergonomic grip with a small hook over the forefinger, helping the pole stay in your hand during wild ski descents. This hook also helps grab a tech toepiece and lock it into walk mode after stepping into a tech binding. The top of the pole is relatively comfortable to push down, but it isn't as wide as the handles on other poles in our test. The locking mechanisms are solid and lock into place with a satisfying snap. The secondary grip is a small rubber ring, which we found to be adequate, though we prefer a full rubber pad for this feature. The length is adjustable by 30 centimeters (12 inches), which is plenty. And finally, the pole straps are easily removable, which many backcountry skiers prefer. The only feature this pole lacks is a scraper tool.
The Via Carbon weighs 20 ounces on our scale, which is more than the average weight in our test, but not by much. Still, for a fully carbon two-section pole, we expected lighter. To some skiers, this isn't a big deal, and might even be related to its above-average durability for a carbon pole. The swing weight feels good, and we never got the feeling that the pole was sluggish to swing around when making tight turns in steep terrain.
During our testing period, the Via Carbon suffered no durability issues. Despite a full carbon construction, the shafts feel thicker and more solid than other carbon poles. Our testers felt confident when making high-impact pole plants and banging the snow off our skis. That said, carbon typically requires more careful use, and this pole would benefit from not being treated carelessly. All of the components seem burly, and the aluminum lever lock will last a long time.
The Via Carbon does not pack small, due to its two-section telescoping design and 12 inches of length adjustment. When fully collapsed, the pole is about a meter long. This is not small enough to use for splitboarding or trekking in the summer, where we often strap our poles onto our backpacks. This is surprising since G3 makes good gear for splitboarders, and we thought they'd make poles to accommodate them as well. Not this one.
The Via Carbon is a very comfortable pole to use. The grip has an excellent, ergonomic contour that fits most hand sizes well. Comfortable and wide, the strap is easily removable without leaving a trace for those who don't want to use pole straps. The handle features a large, overhanging hook above the forefinger that allows a lighter grip without fearing that you'll drop the pole. While comfortable to push down, we wish the top of the handle were a little wider. The secondary grip could be more robust and provide rubber for the whole hand, but the rubber ring for the thumb and forefinger is adequate. And finally, we liked the powder basket that features an asymmetrical design, which allows the pole tip to penetrate firm snow on traverses and sidehills.
The Via Carbon is a relatively expensive ski pole, costing about as much as the other top contenders in our test. For the price, you'll get a well-functioning ski pole with top-of-the-line features that is a pleasure to use. The pole's long-term durability is only questioned because of the full carbon construction, and we don't think this pole will last as long as aluminum poles. But with proper care, it will last a long time.
The G3 Via Carbon performs well across the board and nearly snags our Editors' Choice Award. It features a great handle, a secure locking mechanism, and a full carbon construction. It isn't the lightest or most packable pole, but while splitboarders will want to look elsewhere, most skiers won't care about that. Overall, this is a great ski pole that only lacks a scraper tool.
— Henry Feder