One common question we hear at the Breckenridge ski rental shop all the time is: Are my skis still ok? Are they worn out?
Today’s modern materials and technologies help skis last longer than ever before. There are differences, though, in construction and materials that will make a difference in how long a ski will last. Wood cores are manufactured by cutting lumber and laminating thin strips together. These cores are extremely durable and have the longest life. They come in a variety of constructions and range from bamboo to poplar to paulownia. Each has their own characteristics for flex, weight and torsional stiffness.
Foam cores are known for their lightness and consistency. Unfortunately, foam core skis tend to lose ‘liveliness’ much more quickly than wood core skis as over time, the foam core will break down.
Bases and edges are in nearly constant contact with snow which, despite it simply being frozen water, is quite abrasive. Base material and the edges can also be damaged by rocks and other objects in the snow. Having your skis tuned can remove this damage and return a ski to ‘like new’ condition. A professional tune may also uncover less obvious defects and wear to the ski that may cause loss of performance.
Another aspect that affects the longevity of skis is whether they contain metal or not. Most race skis incorporate multiple layers of metal which provides a considerable amount of dampening; the ability of the ski to handle roughness in the snow surface and still grip. Metal also bends, so if you ski in the bumps a lot or are really hard on your skis you might want to avoid skis with excessive metal layers. One hard impact into a bump and you might end up with more rocker than you want.
Most skiers will keep the same bindings on their skis for the life of the ski. Bindings will eventually exhibit signs of wear such as the heel piece becoming worn which gives it less surface area to contact with the boot. The pivot points may also become loose resulting in a binding that lets the boot move around. This type of wear can make the binding less reliable. It is important to inspect the boot/binding interface periodically to ensure that it is solid and not worn or ‘wiggly’. Another area of the bindings that is prone to failure is the plastic itself. Over time, the plastic may deteriorate to the point where it will crack or –even worse–break. Regular inspection and testing of your bindings is important to your safety while skiing. Have your bindings tested at least once a year to be sure that they are performing as they were designed to.
If you are in doubt about how you skis are performing, or if you want to try a newer set of skis and bindings, you can always try renting skis when you visit Breckenridge, CO. Our ski rentals will give you a reference point to compare your equipment to well-tuned performance demo skis. Who knows…you may just find you want to upgrade after trying one of our demo skis.