Matt Hundhammer from Soul Poles had some free time in between driving the Soul Poles mobile build a pole van around from ski area to ski area to give me the dope on what to expect from the most eco friendly ski pole manufacturing firm on the planet. Talk about being the man, Matt is driving the Soul Poles mobile van, handling the social media exposure and building the custom ski poles in each of the destinations.
Do you partner with any ski companies?
Matt: Sure do, we have a great partnership with Tecnica/Blizzard.
Lane: That is great as I’ve been in Tecnica boots for about 10 years now and have also skied and reviewed the Blizzard Cochise’s & Bonafide’s. Fantastic skis & boots!
What’s new for 2014-15?
Matt: The Soul Lite is due for release any day now. The concept is new pole tips created with an injection mold and asymmetrical basket. This new lite ski pole is sustainable, fully made in USA with renewable resource and get this, it is still custom! All with an $89 price point.
How did Soul Poles figure out the right bamboo, since there probably a lot of bamboo species to choose from, correct?
Absolutely. There are over 2,000 different species of bamboo, so it did take a while for us to narrow it down and find the right species we thought would work the best. The bamboo that we use in our pole manufacturing is similar to the bamboo used in many of the fly rods that are used for fishing.
Can you give me a quick step-by-step of the process from the bamboo growth to your ski pole shop in Park City?
Matt: Sure, we cut the bamboo at a 6 foot stake. Then we bore & hollow it, followed by a trip into the kiln for some heat treatment. After that, each pole gets a mineral oil treatment which provides strength & also keeps the soon to be ski pole from drying out. We then place the pole in a storage room for 30 days and just let it sit and stabilize. After that, we shape it.
Matt: Ahh, what a blast. I am meeting a lot of people and spreading the word on Soul Poles. We’ve been going all season, starting in November.
How do you compare Soul Poles to normal ski poles?
Matt: Very favorably actually. Soul Poles can do everything that aluminum or similar poles can do. The only thing is we do not recommend them for ski racing.
Do most peeps choose the same colors for each pole? Or do they have a left & right color?
Matt: I have seen it all in terms of coloring and there really doesn’t seem to be a distinct pattern. The customers can express themselves in so many ways and I think that is what they like the most about Soul Poles.
Since the bamboo poles aren’t completely straight, do peeps gotta get used to them?
Matt: No, not really. Customers have been very positive and like the non-straight aspect as having a unique character.
Matt: Definitely, we work with the local hotels to accommodate the customers and bring them over to the shop. They love customizing their poles, skiing with them and then taking them home with them. The customers seem to enjoy both buying a new piece of ski equipment and also getting a memento of Park City at the same time.
How do you choose the colors available for customizing the ski poles?
Matt: We change-up the available colors each year depending on what other groups, organization or foundations we are working with. For instance, this season we are working with SheJumps so we included fuchsia and the Ski Patrol, we have classic red for them.
Anything to talk about that you want your followers to know about?
Matt: The mobile van has just returned to Park City, but will be in Whistler this week then Salt Lake City, Park City and Jackson Hole to round out the season. We are helping to create a more sustainable ski industry, are also advancing the ski pole industry and it is not too late to act on global warming.