Delaminating skis is one of the worst things that can happen to a pair of skis. Essentially it is the separation of the layers of material on skis. If you have recently had a pair of skis delaminate, we’ll tell you why it may have happened, if you can fix it and how to prevent delamination in the future.
Why do Skis Delaminate?
Delamination occurs when water enters skis through the base, causing the layers of the ski to separate. You might question, water? But that is surely everywhere on the slopes right?
You’d be right that skis face water every day but if there is a crack then it can lead to delamination. This can be caused by damage to the base of the ski, which allows moisture to get to the core of the ski.
Once the core gets wet, it expands and causes the layers of the ski to separate. Before you know it, you’ll be able to visibly see the delamination beginning to occur.
In skiing, delamination can also occur when the binding is not properly attached to the ski, when the ski hits a hard object, or when the ski experiences excessive stress. That being said, you would think more terrain park skis delaminate than all mountain skis but we don’t have any data to back that up.
How to Prevent Skis From Delaminating?
Skis are built with layers of different materials that are glued together. Over time, the glue can break down and the layers can start to come apart.
To prevent your skis from delaminating, you should inspect them regularly for any damage. Flip them over and give them a visual inspection every couple of times you ride. If you see any cracks or chips in the surface of the ski, you should get them repaired as soon as possible by a shop unless you know what you are doing.
For those of you who have a tune and wax kit at home, you will be more than likely able to fix it yourself if the crack isn’t too big, using P-tex.
You should also clean your skis after every day of skiing. This will help remove any dirt or debris that could potentially cause damage to the ski’s surface. It may not seem like much dirt gets on them but you’d be surprised.
I know some of you right now are thinking – clean daily after skiing, that’s nuts. The truth is that is really best practice but even I get it, we all don’t do it.
Finally, take care of your skis by storing them in a cool, dry place when you’re not using them. Put up some wall racks by your front door or in the garage. This will allow them to dry off properly as well.
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How to Make Your Skis Last Longer
To make your skis last as long as possible, it is important to wax them regularly. You should also repair them as soon as you notice any damage. While it’s not going to help if you bang into a rail or box in the terrain park, it should suffice for rock chips or wear and tear.
If you take good care of your skis, they will last for many years. Without it, they will come to a quicker end, just like not changing the oil in a car.
Ski Delamination: Can it Be Fixed?
Ski delamination is a common problem for skiers, but it can be fixed if you catch it early. Most professional repair shops locally or at a resort use epoxy to glue the layers of your ski back together. Then they clamp it down and let it dry. It is usually capped off with P-tex and some minor buffing.
That is if the skis can be fixed. If the delamination is bad, it is quite possible the skis can’t be fixed. You need to inspect those skis and catch it early to have a chance.
Are Delaminated Skis Worth Fixing?
Delamination is a serious issue for skis and can render them useless if not fixed. The cost of the repair depends on the size of the delamination, the type of ski, and the age of the ski. The cost of the repair may be more than the cost of the ski itself, making it not worth fixing.
However, if the skis are new or relatively new, it may be worth fixing them to prolong their life. When I say relatively new, I specifically mean just over warranty and you are having issues with them. If the skis are still under warranty then email the company and see if they can’t sort you out.
What is the Cost to Fix Them?
For minor problems, you might only need to spend $50-$150. But for major problems, the cost could be much higher and that is even if the skis are fixable. Large delamination damage can be the end of your favorite pair of skis. If the damage is still fixable, I almost always recommend spending what it takes to get them fixed.
No matter how small the delamination is, it’s always important to get it fixed as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more you are risking your skis.
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When Should You Buy New Skis Instead?
If your skis are old and delaminated badly, it might be time for new skis. When you are not sure when to buy new skis, here are a few things to consider.
How old are your skis? If they’re more than five years old, they might be past their prime. Skis can last longer if they’ve been well-maintained, but age is still a factor as technology changes over time.
What condition are your skis in? If they’re delaminated or have major damage, it’s probably time for new ones. But even if they’re in good condition, you might want to upgrade if you’re not happy with your skiing performance. Again that’s when we look at the five-year guideline.
Personally, I like to switch up pairs before that if possible so I can try new models.
Keeping Your Skis New and Preventing Delamination
So what have you hopefully learned about delaminating skis? It is important to take good care of your skis in order to prevent delamination. You should clean them off and maintain them often. At first sight of a crack or damage, repair it! By doing so, you will make your skis last their longest life.
Alec Wilson writes for Proper Peaks and lives near Claremont, VT. He hardly misses a weekend on the ski slopes in the winter. If there is snow, Alec’s skis are on for a go. Look out for his stickered-up helmet and you might just meet him on the trails.