Tag Archives: Ski & Snowboard Damage

Snowboard and Ski Warranty. How, Why, When.

What does and doesn’t qualify a Snowboard or Ski for warranty?  How, why, when?

First, thank you for shopping at Shepherd & Schaller.  Know that Ski and Snowboard manufacturers are diligent about their product design and construction, and it’s rare that the ski and snowboard equipment we sell suffers a defect, but when it does, our Warranty Manager will work with the manufacturer who will answer the question “Does this qualify for warranty coverage?” Then, following the manufacturer’s instruction, we will handle your warranty claim.  We are usually required to provide them with a photo of the gear in question and occasionally we are instructed to ship it back to the manufacturer for further inspection.  The manufacturer makes the decision.  We are the middle-man in the process, happy to help.

How will you know when a warranty is likely?  When is it worth pursuing?  We’re sharing a post from the fine folks at MichiganBoarder.com which colorfully provides some answers.  They speak the truth, which can be difficult to explain and sometimes hard to hear.  Their explanation for snowboards can generally be transferred to skis as well.

We’re grateful that you shopped at Shepherd & Schaller and we are here to assist you with the warranty process, so please notify us right away if your equipment seems unhealthy.

The following, which specifically addresses snowboard warranties, was posted by BennyWest on MichiganBoarder.com on March 4, 2016.  Stop here if you are sensitive to colorful language, including profanity.

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Look, a lot of us have been there, disappointed in the longevity of our new whip. Before I get into this article I just want to clarify this isn’t about anyone in particular. It has been an odd year at my store and the kids are really putting a beating on their decks. I’m not upset with any of my kids or the brands. I love you little monsters with all my heart. A big shout out to our brands too because they have gone above and beyond; another reason to shop at a store with doors. That online retailor isn’t going to do shit for you.

So you broke your board and you want it warrantied. Why did it break? Was it made poorly? Is it the brand’s fault you’re a grown ass man on a 149cm gapping to flat? Is it their fault that these kids have gotten so good that folded boards are becoming more and more common? It’s not.

See the whole warranty thing from most brands covers the board if there was a mishap in its original construction. By “mishap” I mean the glue didn’t cure and there is a delamination or the edge is coming out RANDOMLY, or the die cut graphics on the base are falling out, and sometimes, even when the board snaps in a weird spot because the wood inside was sub par. I mean shit like that, a MANUFACTURING problem. A warranty covers something going wrong with the board because somewhere down the line there was a faulty build material or a mistake in the build. That’s what is covered. No more, no less. The tech and build processes that go into snowboards have got so precise that a true warranty is getting extremely rare. The companies say their board will last X (usually 1 or 2) amount of years from normal snowboarding. What normal snowboarding entails is riding the fucker down the hill and not touching anything but snow. I cannot stress this enough, your board being damaged from any contact with a solid object is not a warranty. That’s right, any damage from riding rails, hitting a rock, and landing tail or nose heavy on your deck is NOT A WARRANTY.

NOT A WARRANTY

NOT A WARRANTY

Now, this is a conundrum because all these brands make boards specifically geared toward the specific misuse of said board and violation of said warranty. You know what I am saying? You buy your deck and that sticker on the back shows how great it is on rails or jumps or in the backcountry. How does that work? Well, I will come back to that.

I ‘ve concluded that there are four types of reasons your board is broke.

Somewhere along the build process a shitty material or a fuck up in the build caused your deck to break in one way or another. This is legit; your shop will dial you in. I do mean shop. *side note, if you buy your gear online you don’t care about snowboarding. I don’t care if it’s cheaper. Any shop will price match. Don’t come to us when the boots you bought online don’t fit and you’re heading up north tomorrow. Actually we will help you because we love you but we will talk shit about you when you leave.

You’re abusing your deck and being a slap dick with your friends being all “I don’t give a fuck” and intentionally beating your shit up only to turn around and show your boys how gnarly you were and your deck is broke. When you do this you’re giving a bad image to a normally very well respected brand. You’re hurting their reputation all to massage your ego.

You are snowboarding above your level. What this means is you’re good. So good it’s time for you to step up to bigger shit. When I made the comment above about brands making decks that are specifically designed to void the warranty; this is where that comment has weight. Dan Brisse can go huge and his board takes what he dishes out and then over time it’s had too much and finally dies. Pro boards actually go quite a long ways. I’m talking a majority of the season if not more. Now why is that? They are doing this super heavy shit, but their boards don’t break. It’s because they’re doing it cleaner and have the science of things locked up. If you are mounting your rail tricks right and stomping your jumps the board can actually deal with the abuse. If you’re not quite there and you’re dinging your lip slides and not going fast enough gapping out to stuff it will break.

Likely a warranty

Likely a warranty

You’re a monster. You are Frank April and you are doing stuff so big that the board can’t handle it. Congrats, but if you are that good you need to keep in mind that pros get free snowboards and you don’t. Does that mean dial it back? Absolutely not, what that means is it’s a cost of doing business. You want to go hard on shit you’re gonna break boards and you need to understand that you will have to pony up some coin.

There is not a lot board brands can do to beef up their boards beyond what they’ve done already. If you want a fun park board with a softer flex it’s not gonna be bullet proof. You want a bulletproof deck? Buy a Never Summer and ride that 2×8 down the hill cursing the board all the way to the ATM machine. It is what it is. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

The other thing is… don’t be a tough guy and “finish” your deck. If you have a legitimate odd ball break send the board back. Putting your foot in the crack and breaking it is just pretty much throwing you chance at a warranty right out the window. If you got a box in your Subaru full of freshies than by all means, but again you bring that in to a shop all decapitated and it’s over.

I can’t speak for other shops, but I can say the brands we carry go out of their way to make it right with the customer. Core shops have relationships with the reps and the brands and are usually able to do something for you. Shops like the ones I speak of carry boards from brands that are snowboarder owned and operated. They know what it’s like to be bummed on a deck and I promise they don’t want that for you. When you’re cursing whatever brand to your friends. Remember, you either ride a bulletproof plank that is the equivalent of riding a picnic table on it’s back down the hill or you ride that damn-nice very well built park deck. Also, I recommend stepping up from the four hundred dollar range; a lot of pro models have that extra tech in them that adds a few seasons to that life span. Or perhaps in your case it will get you through the season… ha ha! Come on guys give your local shop a break… whooo whah! Don’t judge me.

Time to check your gear!

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.

Base Condition

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.

De-lamination

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.