100% Made in USA

Reshoring and Restoring American Jobs

US Ski Pole Company Blog

  • Meet Our Team!

    Many hours of preparation and teamwork goes into making every pair of ski poles. Here at USSPC, we have a specialized team of workers for every step of the process.

    First off, we have Andy Liebner. Andy is owner and founder of the United States Ski Pole Company. It is because of his vision and determination that this company even exists. Andy has put countless hours into every aspect of his company. From hand-building custom machinery, sewing the first prototype straps, handling finances and loads of paperwork, getting sales by driving around the country, inventing new quick-release systems, to working with raw carbon fiber and making ski poles himself. Andy can do it all, and above all of that: Andy is a great leader.

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    Next, I would like to introduce Roger Liebner. Roger is Andy’s father, and has also played a large role in the establishment of USSPC. Roger has done the main sourcing for straps and refined all quality textiles, ensuring that they are made in the USA, maintained email contact with shops, set up sales routes, assisted in the setting up of the machinery and shop, phone calls galore, and so much more that its too much to list!

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    Now that you know who’s running the behind the scenes business work, it’s time to meet the staff who does all the volumes of manufacturing work. Meet David Weiss; David is our production manager and lead carbon fiber materials specialist. David maintains our inventory of both raw and finished products, he’s our production finalization specialist cutting, sanding and assembling all the ski poles. He manages sales orders, prepares shipping and handling, and also operates the ski pole manufacturing machines.

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    Lastly, doing all of our graphic design and office duties, we have Heather Faith. Heather has designed our pole graphics, helped create the logos and company branding, handles all computer documents, CADD drawings, maintains ski club contacts in both the US and Canada, was on the development team for our quick-release parts, and does anything else that requires design creativity or computer work. Heather has been the prime media interface and first contact point with customers. USSPC is pleased to have an in-house designer who can multi-task and manage multiple department needs.

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    We might not have the largest staff, but we have all played a very important part in the development of the United States Ski Pole Company. As USSPC continues to grow and develop, we will hire more staff to our team and expand as needed.

  • How-To Use Our Components - With Videos!

    This post is about how to use our components!

    In case you need a little extra help figuring out our straps or grip systems, we've filmed a few short videos explaining how to use our components. Enjoy!

    How to use our straps:

    How to use our wedge clamp:

    How to use our grips:

    Thanks for watching! Make sure you "subscribe" to our Youtube Channel for future video updates!

  • Filling a Custom Order

    Here at the United States Ski Pole Company, we understand that everyone has different needs and desires with their skiing equipment. That’s why, when we get a special request, we do our very best to accommodate ones requests. When Andy met Alan, he learned that Alan had some very special requests that he’s been searching to fix for decades! We are pleased to have filled his request, and would love to share his story:

    I had skis strapped to my feet when I barely knew how to walk. I learned to ski in the backcountry behind my house and hit the groomed trails at the age of six, only to win my first race. That was the beginning of a childhood with the Copper Country Ski Tigers of Michigan’s U.P. I grew up on the trails and came to love Nordic skiing. I am now the president of the University of Minnesota Duluth Nordic Ski Club and share my passion for the sport with our skiers.

    When I say I grew up on the trails, I mean I really grew up. I am now 5 feet 19 inches tall and have size 50 ski boots, which luckily Salomon makes. But, even the best Nordic companies only make an 180cm pole, which comes to about the middle of my neck. I met Andy at the USSPC demo at the SISU Ski fest in Ironwood, MI. I tired some poles and we got to talking about length. I ended up placing an order for a pair of extra-long and stiff XC Signature skate poles.

    Two weeks later, I picked up a pair of custom designed 184cm, extra stiff poles. Oh yeah, and they were painted gold! I was shocked by their length, and had a difficult time skiing with them at first. It took me a week or so to break the bad habits I developed over years of skiing with short poles. I am still not completely used to my new poles, but I love them. The straps are better than any I’ve had before; it is really nice to easily adjust my straps for lobster mitts and race groves. I am still amazed to have a pole that reaches my upper lip and amused to have poles taller than most the athletes I encounter. The stiff shafts are great, I can feel that I am transferring more power to the snow and less into the flex of my poles. I am no longer afraid of breaking my pole when I throw my weight into a powerful V2 stroke. I have to say that I love the gold as well! It really catches the eye and I receive many comments on both their length and design. I think these poles are worthy of a new name; Thundersticks perhaps?

    The guys at USSPC do great work and I am glad to give them my business. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity to have a quality pole custom-designed to suit my height, and for a great price too!

    -Alan Toczydlowski

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    Here is Alan with his custom poles!

    If you have any special requests, don't hesitate to give us a call!

  • Running A Slit Line

    About every 3-4 months, we need to slit carbon fiber in order to make our ski poles. This is an exciting process, as we get to use one of our most specialized pieces of machinery. We call this machine Murphy B, after the city in which it was purchased (Murfreesboro, TN). Murphy B is a custom-built slitter that has interchangeable blade systems to cut our carbon fiber at very specific widths. Here you can see some photos and descriptions of our slitting process. This is one of the very first steps in making ski poles.

    Empty reels prepped, assembled onto Murphy B, and ready for carbon.

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    Our team making sure the carbon is thawed out (it is kept frozen!) and getting ready to load onto the machine.

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    Andy and David loading the carbon reel into the slitter.

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    Andy making sure that the carbon is properly aligned and air bags are full. The air bags help the carbon stay in place and the slitter is being ran.

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    Some of the empty reels that we load the carbon onto after being slit.

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    Andy and David feeding the carbon through by hand before turning the machine on.

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    Bill, a civilian who was job shadowing us this day, helping us cut the tape that will secure the carbon onto the reel. 
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    This is Honey Bee, our mascot. He was keeping a close eye on us as we slit the carbon :).

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    Close up of the machine as Andy is tweaking the settings.

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    David preparing the reels.

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    Bill, David and Heather are securing the carbon onto the reels.

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    Carbon fiber is secured onto the reels, and Andy is getting ready to push the big green start button!

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    Murphy B is ready to roll!

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    Action shot of Murphy B slitting carbon.

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    Top view of the slitter in action. Here you can see the full sized carbon entering on the right hand side, being slit in the middle, and then exiting on the left and rolling onto our reels.

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    So, there you have it! That is how we load and run our slitter. After the entire roll is slit, we taped the ends down, bagged the reels up into special moisture-proof bags, and we popped them back into the freezer, where they await to be used on ski poles!

  • Hockey Stick Repair

    A Hockey Stick Repair- With Photos!

    Working in a carbon fiber factory opens up a whole different realm of opportunities within a small community. It brings to the table a whole new set of skills needed from workers, goods being imported and exported, and also increasing the amount of machinery and skilled trades in an area. With all those added together, our team of workers has devised a plan of what other ways we can bring work in from the community. Being in northern Michigan, most cities have an ice rink, and hockey is a very popular sport. Hockey sticks are typically made from a composite mixture, meaning they were crafted with carbon fiber, fiberglass, or some other combination. With all that said, we have decided we are going to see how our carbon fiber technologies work with fixing broken hockey sticks.

    When a hockey stick breaks, it leaves behind a very splintered edge or fracture, which can easily be fixed with an application of carbon fiber acting as a “band-aid” around the break. Below you’re going to see a step-by-step process of how we’re fixing hockey sticks here at USSPC. Please note that we are still in a trial-and-error period, testing different methods until we figure out what works best. For the process you’re about to read, we had two completely broken shafts to repair.

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    First, we need to prep the stick by sanding off some paint. We sand the paint off to expose some of the composite materials for the carbon for bonding. We used a wet belt sanding machine, which has a sandpaper belt using a continuous flow of water to mitigate dust.  If inhaled, carbon dust can cause permanent damage to your body. I also took a metal file and scored the fibers on the outside a bit, leaving them roughed-up to grab the new materials more easily.

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    Next, I placed the sticks in our warming oven to dry them out and heat up. It’s ideal to work with the hockey stick at a hot temperature so the carbon fiber has better adhesion.

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    While the sticks were warming up in the oven, I prepared the carbon fiber strips to fix the sticks. I cut two unilateral pieces that were 9”x5” and two longer strips that were 24”x2” for each stick.

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    After about 20 minutes in the oven, we take the sticks out and apply some Loctite 401 (fancy super glue) to all the broken fibers, get them aligned properly, and allow that to cure flat. We like to do this so that the stick is easier to work with wrapping the carbon fiber, and it stays straight more easily during the final curing process.

    Next, I stuck one stick back in the oven to warm back up (they cool off quickly) and we began to fix the other. I first laid on one uni. layer with the blade facing up. Next, I wrapped one long piece up the shaft diagonally, then the second 24” piece down the shaft at the opposite angle. I finished the band-aid job by one last application of a uni. layer with the blade facing down. I make sure when I do something to one side of the repair, I do the same to the other, ensuring that they are equal in strength. I repeated this same process on the other stick.
    The next step is to wrap a cellophane tape around the band-aid very tightly. This makes the carbon fiber tighter against the shaft, which will help it cure more easily. I also attached a wooden board to the stick to make sure it stays straight when curing in the oven.

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    The stick goes into the oven at 245* for one and a half hours. After it comes out, we removed the brace and cellophane tape, and viola! We have two fixed hockey sticks. The whole process took less than two hours from start to finish, and its helping people save money and time. When you buy a very expensive hockey stick, and it breaks after your warranty is up, the last thing you want to do it throw it away. Taking it to a pro hockey shop can take weeks to eventually get fixed, but here we almost always have the ovens on, and already have the resources on-hand to repair them.IMG_9457

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    Thanks for reading this post. If you’re in need of a hockey stick repair or have another idea we can add to our capabilities, feel free to leave a comment below.

  • How Our Ski Poles Got Their Names!

    Opening a company that sells a product is a very exciting venture. There are many creative aspects to starting a business; naming it, designing a product, logos and branding, and even naming your products. In the ski pole business, you have to keep your product names catchy, yet sporty and coincide with level quality of pole it is.

    For our most superior quality pole, the highest-end model we offer, we wanted to go with something pro-American, classy and rolls easily off the tongue. We came up with Freedom Gold. Freedom is a word associated with the USA, and gold is the highest level of medal one could receive at a competition.

    The Alaska 49 is another one of our high quality poles, weighing in at almost 49 grams per meter. Alaska was the 49th state added to the USA, and is also the home state of the company owner, Andy Liebner. All this lead to the naming of this pole.

    We wanted our next pole model to be named something more skiing-related, because it is our most popular, affordable model for a wide range of skiers. We had a few names we were bouncing around, including words like “classic, XC, signature,” and landed on the name Signature XC, which eventually got flipped and formed the XC Signature ski pole. This is our stiffest and strongest pole.

    Lastly, we have our entry level model, the Northern Lite, whose name is a play on words. We wanted to name this pole something outdoorsy, Native American or pro-Michigan (where our poles are made). Heather, our design engineer, was exploring outdoor words and Native terms, when she came across a photo of the aurora borealis. It is common in the sports world to have a “lite” model, so she took that inspiring photo and came up with the name Northern Lite.

    We have two additional pole models that are currently in the design process; the Warrior, and Junior Dreamer. The Warrior pole was named to have a strong, fighter name to encourage competitive skiers to fight until the end of the race. While the Junior Dreamer is specially geared towards kids and encourages them to dream about winning that gold medal, dare to dream and work towards those goals.

    Each pole model has a fun little story behind how it was named, and has unique graphics to go along with it. It is nice to have a product with such flexibility to naming and designing it to really reach out to that end user. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading how our poles were named. If you have a really catchy ski pole model name, send us a message and maybe we’ll use it in the future!

  • Welcome to the New Blog Homepage of USSPC!

    New Blog Homepage!

    Welcome to the new online home of United States Ski Pole Company. What you're looking at now is our newly redesigned, full-featured and responsive e-commerce site. We're proud to now offer the full line of Rundleski rollerski products along with our Made In Michigan high performance carbon fiber nordic ski poles.

    The New USSPC Website

    Check back frequently for new blog posts on a variety of cross country skiing topics. While you're here be sure to check out our product line and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.

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