The Bottom Line: The G3 Via is a great feature pole. If you’re looking for a dedicated ski touring or snowshoeing pole, this is one of the most comfortable and functional models out there. You may want to add some grip tape if you often find yourself in steep terrain.
The powder baskets are surprisingly well designed and provide the desired stability, but they don't cantilever. They also are stiff enough to pop your heel risers.
The adjustability is easy even with heavy gloves or mitts. Like any good system, it is adjustable with simple tools. With one adjustment point, and therefore a long minimum length, skiers can quickly transition to different lengths.
For snowshoers, on the other hand, the poles are too long to hike with. While this hasn’t been an issue when I’ve strapped the poles to my pack for bootpacking, they aren’t convenient. A three-section pole like the Black Diamond Expedition might be a better buy.
The shaped handle is of comfortable rubber, a little skinnier than what you find on the Black Diamond Traverse. The well-designed shape is much more particular than you see in comparable models for the price. The rubber is good quality, and it doesn’t have that cheap plastic feel of some other poles. It also means it’s a poor conductor of heat and doesn’t get cold.
There are two further excellent innovations. The tip of the pole is hooked, so it gives excellent purchase when you flip your heel risers on your bindings. The wrist straps are clipped into the handle with a Fastex buckle, which means that it pops loose with enough force—such as if you get caught in an unexpected avalanche. It also means you can unclip the strap to get the lowest friction when plunging your pole into the snow for rapid layer assessments or using it inverse for extra security.
One issue: the pole lacks a grip pad lower down the shaft. There is a small collar that provides some extra grip, but it’s cold and not very solid. Touring in spring with bare hands, or even in the deep cold with gloves, this is annoying. When on steep terrain, I find a solid lower grip is essential for your uphill hand, and the aluminum shaft isn't a solid handhold. You can of course wrap the shaft with something like Magic Grip Tape to create a homemade grip, but otherwise this is the one aspect the Via lacks.