By Don Jurries
Leki, one of the premier pole manufacturers for trekking, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, and Nordic walking, sadly lost its CEO, Klaus Lenhart, in a plane crash earlier this week. A German national aerobatics champion, Mr. Lenhart had worked at the company his father built, starting as an apprentice toolmaker before taking over management of the business with his siblings at the age of 19. As a tribute to a man considered a visionary and passionate advocate for the Outdoor Industry, we thought we’d share one of our latest reviews of Leki product to give you an indication of his legacy.
I spent part of this last winter in Germany, Leki’s home country, testing ski gear. I saw Leki product everywhere. One of the most innovative was a glove and pole combination that eliminates all the fumbling with pole straps as you head to the chair lift, or want quick access to your jacket, camera, water bottle, or phone. Called Trigger S for alpine skiing and Trigger Shark for both cross-country skiing and Nordic walking, your glove simply clicks in and out of the pole.
The technology is an upgrade on Leki’s previous Trigger models, which have been around for years, but were harder to operate when snow got into the clipping mechanism. For cross-country skiing and Nordic walking, the new Leki pole and glove system has the added advantage of a design that attempts to optimize the transmission of energy from the arm to the pole.
While the Leki pole system will work with any glove, the Trigger S and Trigger Shark work best with Leki gloves where the strap is either integrated with the glove or built into the fabric itself, creating an internal powerframe for added stability. The Leki gloves include a small ring-like opening between the thumb and forefinger made of Dyneema, a highly tear-resistant material used for parachutes and sails. The ring is clicked straight into the pole.
The release mechanism differs slightly by type of pole, but it’s basically as easy as the press of a button. Additional safety measures are built into the mechanism to automatically release when twisted or with enough pressure, such as in the case of an accident, reducing the chance of wrist or arm injury.
With non-Leki gloves, the Dyneema ring is integrated into a strap that slips over your glove and is tightened using Velcro. The downside of the extra strap is you’ll have to loosen it again to take off the gloves.
Leki’s Trigger series of pole and glove combinations are now being marketed in North America, with some big name athletes signed on, such as US Olympic Skier Lyndsey Vonn. Leki poles with Trigger S or Trigger Shark start at around $120 for fixed length carbon poles and come with the Velco strap for non-Leki gloves. Leki gloves start at an extra $50 and up.