With the winter season approaching, now is a great time to check your snow sports gear for possible condition issues, damage, and repair needs. While basic yearly tuning is crucial to keeping your equipment performing at it’s best, often conditions arise which require a bit more attention. Below, I’ll walk you through some very common issues our repair shop sees on a regular basis. Most problems are easily repaired for not a lot of money, and if done in a timely manner, will ensure years of worry-free enjoyment from your gear.
Hands down, the most common issue we encounter with downhill skis, snowboards, and cross country equipment relates to the condition of the base (the side that meets the snow). Without regular waxing, bases will dry out. Not only does this result in poor ski / board performance, it could lead to irreparable damage to the base itself. How can you tell if your base needs wax? Easy. Look at the picture below.
When bases begin to dry out, they turn a lighter gray shade and will often have a slight fuzzy feel. Sometimes, you can scrape your fingernail across the bottom and actually scrape off a thin film. Sound familiar? Don’t worry – 9 times of out 10, a simple tune is all it takes to get your skis or board running like new. And to help prevent this, a yearly tune involving a stone grind, wax, and edge sharpen will keep your equipment performing at it’s best.
Another common problem our ski tech sees is base damage – scratches, gouges, deep cuts. Luckily, these are easy to spot as shown here:
Most of the time, these happen through no fault of the user. Rocks are hit, skis bang into each other during a fall, or kids try to ski across the driveway in June. But like dried out bases, most base damage can be repaired for a relatively small fee. Not only does this repair help the performance of your gear, it prevents any damage to the core of the ski or board by sealing out moisture. If you discover any base damage, it’s best to get in into our shop as soon as possible.
While not as common, damage can occur to the edges of your gear. This too happens from inadvertently running over debris, other skis, etc, and is often a fairly simply fix. If the damage is too severe, as in the example below, the ski or board may not be 100% fixable. Still, our repair shop will inspect and fix the issue to the best of our ability to ensure safety and performance standards.
Top sheet Damage
Don’t forget about the top of your skis or board. Like the bases, top sheets are easily damaged and can lead to permanent damage if not promptly repaired. While these issues are fairly easy to spot as shown below, regular inspection of your gear is highly recommended.
We see de-lamination with skis and boards that frequent the parks, and it’s often a result of blunt force to the tip / tail of the equipment. While this damage often means the end of your ski or board, catching the problem early might save the day. If not severe, our shop tech is able to repair this damage and hopefully extend the life of your gear.
Boots and Bindings
Just like your favorite sneakers, with time, ski / snowboard boots simply wear out. While they may still fit like a dream, continued use on worn out gear is not only risky, it’s downright unsafe. Here’s what to look for:
1. Worn or damaged ski boot bases. This either occurs from years of clipping in and out of bindings, as well as years of walking through parking lots, around ski resorts, and through the snack bar. When the tip and tail of your bases become worn and rounded, your bindings are unable to securely hold your boots in place while skiing. This can result in untimely and surely unwanted releases from your binding while skiing, and can also result in injury.
2. Broken buckles. It just happens. The good news is we are usually able to fix snowboard bindings in store while you wait. The not so good news is that downhill boots are often a bit more difficult to repair. Still, if you find yourself with a broken boot, bring it in for us to have a look. We’ll do our best to get your gear fixed up and back on the slopes as fast as possible.
3. Damaged or bent bindings. By comparing your left binding to the right and vice versa, you should be able to spot any damaged or bent parts. Further, if one binding is behaving differently then the other (engaging with less or more force, releasing early, or not holding the boot firmly), it’s time to have us take a look. Remember that we are only legally allowed to work on bindings that are of a certain age or newer, so if you purchased your skis and bindings when Abba’s “Dancing Queen” was topping the Top 40 charts, it might be time for an upgrade.
If you do discover any problems and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us (715-845-5432) or bring your gear in. We offer free shop estimates / inspections, and will do our best to get your gear returned to you as fast as possible. Also, be sure to ask one of our team members about preventative maintenance as well – often, most of the conditions mentioned above can be easily avoided with minimal yearly maintenance.