High-tech ski pole can track skiers' power and efficiency

Coaches and athletes at the Haywood Ski Nationals in Whitehorse this week are jumping on board to try out a new high-tech ski pole, designed by a Yukon-based company.

'There is nothing comparable in the world right now,' says national ski team coach

Yukon-based startup company Proskida has designed cross country ski pole grips with embedded technology that can track an athlete's power and efficiency. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

A Whitehorse-based startup company hopes to make a mark in the competitive cross-country ski world with new technology that measures a skier's power and efficiency. 

The company — Proskida — has created ski pole grips with embedded electronic gear. Computer chips in the upper part of the poles record data, focusing on upper body strength and technique.

Yukon elite skier Colin Abbott tests Proskida's new technology. "You notice when you first put them on, they're a little wider than conventional grips but they feel great once you start skiing," he tells Cross Country Canada's Stephane Barrette in Whitehorse. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

"There is nothing comparable in the world right now," said Stephane Barrette, director of coaching and athletes at Cross Country Canada. He met with Proskida designers this week during the Haywood Ski Nationals in Whitehorse, and agreed Canada's national skiers will help test the new product. 

A competitive edge

Barrette hopes collecting data from elite skiers will help give the national team a competitive edge by allowing it to analyze things such as poling technique, and muscle strength. 

"We hope we can have them tell us what they need out of the tool, and we can modify and make it work for them, " says entrepreneur Alastair Smith, one of the founders of Proskida. 

Alastair Smith, left, and Hans Fisher, right, are two of the founders of Proskida. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

"The primary market is going to be racers" said Smith, noting similar technology is used to measure efficiency in other sports, such as cycling. 

Proskida has already filed for a patent on its product and has gone through a couple of prototypes since design work began last fall.  

Smith believes there is a ready market in North America, but he hopes to also have the product selling internationally within a year. 

"Definitely getting it into Scandinavia — Finland, Norway, Sweden — it would definitely be a goal for us to have it used globally," he said. 

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