What if the very thing you loved was harming you and everyone around you? Would you stop? We’re not talking about smoking, drinking or an addiction of any kind. It’s about being a professional athlete.

While on tour with the U.S. Ski Team, Bryon Friedman and Erik Schlopy came face-to-face with a staggering realization. The two pro athletes came to see first-hand the massive ecological footprint they were leaving behind in every place they traveled and the deep impact it was having on their playgrounds. Each year they noticed the glaciers they were returning to kept getting smaller and smaller.

And the skiers knew they weren’t the only ones who were living the wasteful lifestyle. There were tons of others just like them. Friedman and Schlopy realized if they didn’t do something and fast, they might not have that fresh powder they had taken for granted for much longer.

How it All Began

So, in 2010 the two skiers went into business together and founded Soul Poles with one simple thought in mind: If there is no snow, then there is no skiing. “Plant Your Soul” became their motto for making eco-friendly bamboo ski poles.

With global warming appearing to be a threat to Mother Nature, Friedman and Schlopy decided to create a product

using environmentally friendly materials including bamboo, recycled plastic and low VOC water-based paints. All poles are designed to be renewable, sustainable and made to last, coming with a five-year guarantee.

ski poles

Soul Poles only uses pesticide-free bamboo. Image by Jonas Jungblut.

According to Soul Poles’ press kit, they use bamboo because it is so quick-growing, absorbs significantly more carbon dioxide and produces more oxygen than any other plant, thus curbing the polluting greenhouse gases that are warming the planet and threatening the snow.

Good for the Earth & Good-looking

Although the team’s mission is to get people aware of the climate problem, they do it all very stylishly.


Soul Poles

By either reserving a private session or popping in for a drop-in workshop, you have the ability to design and create your very own custom pole from start to finish. With the help of the Soul Poles team, you get to design everything on your poles from different color grips, baskets, engraving options and even the color of the pole itself. From tip to grip, your pole is sure to be one of a kind.

Soul Poles has partnered with acclaimed contemporary artist and skier R. Nelson Parrish to create unique designs like the Limited Soul Pole. An annual limited release, the pole this year features a distinct striped paint job.


Nelson’s artwork on the Limited Soul Pole

Another popular ski pole is the Original Soul Protect Our Winters Pole. With its sleek, vintage-looking bamboo shaft and a pop of bright green color on the grips and baskets, this pole will catch everyone’s eye while shredding some powder.

“The poles are a climate change icon,” Matt Hundhammer, brand manager of Soul Poles, said. “They are all about creating awareness (of the climate problem) in the ski world.”

And it seems to be working. The company has partnered with many other organizations that are all about bringing good in some shape or form, including High Fives, She Jumps and Live It! Love It! The mission to do good just seems to be contagious.

To further make an impact on the environment, Soul Poles has partnered with Protect Our Winters (POW), an organization that is fighting climate change. POW leads the mission to preserve winter sports through education, advocacy and community-based projects. Both Soul Poles and POW are members of the 1% for the Planet, promising to donate one percent of their revenues for environmental groups around the world.

Friedman told The Daily Feed in an interview, “Our goal is to leave no footprint behind. Obviously, this is impossible, but we strive to keep lowering our footprint and do our best to offer a premium eco-friendly product.”


Skier using Soul Poles

So whenever you see someone with brightly painted bamboo ski poles shredding down the mountain and you ask where they got them from, that skier will probably reply, “Soul Poles.” And you’ll know that person has made a small difference by buying the poles.

So what are you waiting for? You not only get to design your very own ski poles, you have the opportunity to change the world. Check out Soul Poles’ website for more information about how you can help the environment while doing what you love.

By: Lauren Jacobsen