Just like everything else, skis are not immune to the wear and tear that comes with use over time. The side of the skis can chip, and the lamination on top of the skis can also chip off or bubble, exposing your skis to the risk more damage. So is there anything you can do?
Skis do chip over time, especially with frequent use. However, this does not mean that they need to be replaced, and there are measures you can take to both reduce the amount of chipping as well as to fix the chips. Epoxy and superglue can be effective at repairing chips on your skis.
Breathe a sigh of relief. There are ways to fix your skis that do not cost as much as replacing them and can be an effective way to prevent further damage. In addition, with some adjustments to your behavior and ski care, we’ll show you just how to make your skis last longer.
By the way, as an Amazon Associate, I earn when buying qualified products through links on my site.
Why Do Your Skis Chip And What Can You Do?
The three primary ways of skis chipping are caused:
- Skis in the pair chipping away at each other
- Snow parks
- Skiing over rocks or exposed gravel or hard ground
Skis are not generally an impulse buy. Whether they’re your first or twentieth pair, you’re likely to have done some research, read reviews, tried them out, or at the very least you already have a fairly good idea of what you’re buying before you make the investment.
The process of buying skis is necessary because everyone has a unique style of skiing and needs skis that will work for them and their needs, skis aren’t that cheap (even cheap skis aren’t that cheap), and they also aren’t a piece of equipment that you replace every year. You want your skis to last, and for this, like anything else, you need to take good care of them.
I want to be clear that some chipping is completely normal. In fact, many skiers report that the top sheet can get damaged within a few hours of skiing. It’s a bit disheartening, but it’s just part of the fun.
While some of the factors that cause skis to chip are outside of our control, many are not.
Make sure to read this section for crucial tips on how to prevent your skis from getting damaged
If your style of skiing is with your skis very close together, then you are at higher risk of your skis clashing together and getting chipped. The motion of bumping together repeatedly causes friction, usually in the same spots on the skis, and will gradually cause the skis to chip away in those places.
Snow Terrain Parks
If you often ski in snow parks, there is also a higher likelihood of your skis chipping. Your skis will likely be hitting and grinding against very durable surfaces such as rails, tubes, and other playground toys, resulting in much faster wear and tear.
If this is you, and you enjoy skiing like this, there’s little you can do. It’s a part of the snow park experience that you will need to replace your skis more often. However, good and regular maintenance will still help to prolong the life of your skis.
Rocks, Exposed Gravel, and Hard Ground
Running over the occasional rock is unavoidable. You’re on a mountain, after all. However, you have to weigh the trade-off of going to the slopes when there is 0 to little powder and the potential damage to your skis.
You know that terrible sound when you get to the lifts–that scraping sound where the ground has completely frozen and everyone is skiing on ice. If you are concerned about the health of your skis, days like these may not be the best days to go skiing.
How To Fix A Ski Chip
Regardless of how they got to be chipped, the fact is, they now are. And you need to do something about it before more damage is caused.
You can always take it to a ski shop to get it repaired. But there are also ways of fixing it yourself.
Two of the best and most accessible options for doing it yourself include using superglue or epoxy.
- Make sure the ski is dry
- Fill the chip with glue
- Flatten out the glue so it doesn’t goop out–you want to reduce as much future friction as possible.
- Leave your skis to dry for at least a day
Superglue is a quick fix, but ideally, get something that contains glue and a hardener.
Sometimes fixing a chip is purely aesthetic. Other times, it can prevent moisture from getting into your skis and causing damage (depending on the material your skis are made from), or it can prevent snags when you’re skiing, which has the potential for you to lose balance or fall, causing an accident at the worst, or the snag can cause more damage in the future.
Just like chips in your car windshield, it’s better to address chips sooner rather than later to prevent more damage.
How Do You Keep Your Skis In Good Condition?
So now that you know how to fix them, maybe it’s time to learn what you can do so that you don’t need to fix them in the first place! With some skiing styles and locations (ski parks), it’s very difficult to minimize the damage to your skis. For everyone else, there’s hope! Here are some tips for preventing your skis from chipping:
Ski With Your Skis Slightly Wider Apart
Though skiing with your skis close together is generally a sign of a more advanced skier, having them so close that they’re bumping into one another throughout the day is problematic for the life expectancy of your equipment! Try to make a minor adjustment to your stance and move your skis slightly further apart.
Don’t Release Your Bindings With Your Skis
Look, I get it. Even though lifting a leg and using your skis to release your bindings is more convenient than the alternatives, using your skis is not great for their wear and tear and increases the chance of a chip forming, particularly as you tend to use the same place on your skis, and it happens multiple times a day!
Instead, do the less convenient but better options:
- Find the pressure point with your pole and then applying enough force with enough precision to the correct spot
- Bend down to use a gloved hand to release the binding
Take Extra Care Sidestepping (Stepping Uphill)
Be careful when sidestepping or stepping uphill. Often when we’re sidestepping up or down a hill, it’s hard work, and we get tired! Hopefully, we’re not doing this for extended periods, but it’s important to still try to keep a space or some distance between your skis and not to let them cross or touch. Preventing this friction can help to prevent them from chipping.
Set Boundaries From Other Skiers On the Lift
This is less avoidable, but when in lift queues, Make sure ski tramplers know (kindly) that they are damaging other people’s equipment! People behind or next to you in the crowd of queuers can ride over your skis, crossing them or knocking them side-on.
This is usually an accident, but by raising the general awareness of when people do this, individuals become more careful.
How Do You Know When It’s Time To Replace Your Skis?
I asked a community of skiers and the consensus is that skis last up to two-three seasons–around 100-130 with many getting use up to even 200 days. Additionally, some skiers have 18 year old skis that they take care of and regularly use. Of course, it depends on how often your skis are used as well as HOW you use them.
There are also certain signs to look out for that will indicate that you’re ready for a new pair of skis. These include obvious damage (broken or deformed edges), a chipped, peeling, or delaminated top sheet, a thin or holey base (when the repair patch will no longer stick to it), and when the camber has flattened. (source)
How long your skis will last depends on a number of factors. Amongst others, these include:
1. The terrain you ski on
2. The maintenance you give them from day one
3. Individual style of skiing
4. Your weight
How Should I Store My Skis?
When you store your skis, there are a lot of things to look out for:
- The most important thing you can do is to make sure that they have been properly dried! Moisture can further erode chipped skis and cause delamination.
- They should not be in a place where they can be bumped or are scraping against items, though whether they are vertical or horizontal does not matter.
- Keeping them in or on top of the car overnight is also not ideal – mostly because they are exposed to moisture and won’t have the opportunity to dry out properly. So as tempting as it may be, in the long run, it’s worth a quick-dry and keeping them warm for the night!
Skis are just like anything else and need a little maintenance in order to prevent damage and make them last longer. When you see them chipping, it’s easy to just fix them yourself, but more important than doing this when you notice it is looking at what’s causing them to chip and what you can do about that. Don’t give up hope when they do start to chip – no matter what condition they’re in, a little TLC goes a long way!