How Long Do Skis Last? (Explained)
Skis are one of the priciest pieces of winter sports equipment that you can buy.
Because of that, it’s important to take care of them to ensure they last as long as possible.
If your skis are starting to fall apart, then you may wonder if they’re at the end of their lifespan or if you can still preserve them.
Here’s what you need to know about how long skis last.
How Long Do Skis Last?
On average, skis tend to last seven years if the skier takes good care of them.
Without maintenance, skis start to degrade after about 90 to 120 days of use.
Depending on how often you ski, your skis might degrade before the seven-year mark.
Most skiers typically choose to replace their skis every seven years, in general, though.
That’s because there are usually new advancements in ski technology that they want to take advantage of.
Your skis may even last you for a lifetime if you care for them correctly.
That doesn’t mean you should still use older skis, however.
If you want to get the best performance possible out of your skis, then you should look to replace them every seven years.
What Makes Skis Degrade Faster?
If your skis are starting to degrade and you haven’t reached the seven-year mark yet, then you may wonder what’s causing the degradation.
There are a few things that can make your skis fall apart faster.
Here are some of the things that make your skis degrade fast.
1. Frequent Use
One of the reasons your skis are degrading faster than they should is because you likely use them often.
The more that you use something, the faster it wears down.
Skis aren’t an exception.
While they’re built to last for a pretty long time, it all depends on how often you use them.
For example, if you happen to live in an area that has snow almost year-round, then you have more opportunities to ski.
You might ski every day.
You’re going to reach that 90-day of use benchmark faster than someone who only skis every few months will.
Once you reach that 90-day mark, there’s a chance that your skis aren’t going to perform as well.
It won’t happen overnight, but your skis will start to lose their edge.
The boot bindings may eventually begin to fall apart which means your boots won’t clip in as easily.
Even if you don’t ski year-round, if you ski as much as possible when it does snow, then you might also be pushing your skis to their breaking point faster.
For example, if you’re hitting the slopes every single day as soon as local ski resorts open, then you could end up with 60 to 90 days of use in a single year.
Since skis start to deteriorate between 90 and 120 days of use, you’re going to start noticing problems with them sooner than you might expect.
Skis deteriorate faster the more that you use them.
2. Ski Terrain
Another big factor that determines how long your skis last is the type of terrain that you normally ski on.
Skis are primarily built for use on powdered snow.
While they can work on icy and slushy snow, too, it isn’t ideal for them.
Icy snow, in particular, can cause a lot of damage.
The shards of ice start to rip apart the ski’s exterior.
As soon as the surface becomes damaged, the ice can dig deeper and further damage the ski.
Slushy snow causes problems, too.
Because it’s easy to dig your skis deep into the snow when it’s slushy, the top and boot bindings of your skis become exposed to wet snow.
The wetness can make them start to deteriorate faster if you don’t properly dry them afterward.
While wax and some cleaning can help restore your skis, ultimately, the best thing you can do is avoid skiing on icy and slushy snow.
When exposed to icy and slushy snow, your skis will deteriorate faster.
3. Rocks And Tree Branches
A common problem you’ll face if you do downhill skiing on mountains or off the beaten path is contact with rocks and tree branches.
At ski resorts, they work hard to remove any obstacles like rocks or tree branches that you might accidentally ski over.
When you ski in the wild, you don’t have that luxury.
As a result, you might end up running over rocks or tree branches with your skis.
This becomes a problem because the rocks and tree branches can start to tear up your skis.
Rocks, especially, are sometimes sharp enough to gouge deep.
You might find a gash in your skis that impedes your ability to skill well.
Thick tree branches can also scratch the edge of your skis.
You may even get dents.
This becomes a problem because it’s harder to turn when the edges of your skis are dulled or scratched up.
Skis are designed with a smooth and sharp edge to help you get the right grip on the snow as you’re turning.
With a marred edge, you won’t be able to turn as efficiently.
The problem with rocks and tree branches is that you don’t even know you’re skiing over them until it’s too late.
They might be buried deep in the snow.
It’s only when you run over them that you feel them drag against your skis.
Rocks and tree branches can cause some serious damage to your skis which can quicken how fast they deteriorate.
4. Lack Of Use
While using your skis often can hasten their degradation, not using them often can also make them deteriorate faster.
It all has to do with the epoxy that coats the skis’ exterior.
The epoxy allows the skis to glide smoothly along the surface of the snow.
It’s also responsible for protecting the surface of the skis.
For example, you can avoid some dings from rocks thanks to the protective barrier of the epoxy.
It also helps the skis stay a bit moist which keeps them from cracking or crumbling.
The problem with epoxy is that when skis aren’t being used in the snow, it starts to dry out.
When the epoxy dries out, it starts to crack.
This can then cause the rest of the ski to start to deteriorate since snow and rocks can get between those cracks.
Epoxy dries out when the skis aren’t in use and when skiers forget to wax their skis.
Not using your skis often means the epoxy doesn’t become moist through exposure to the snow.
Instead, they’re drying out in your garage or shed.
When you don’t use your skis often, it likely also means that you’re not giving them the regular maintenance that they need.
It’s a lot easier to keep to a maintenance schedule when you’re using the object often.
You’re able to perform the maintenance right before you store the skis, for example.
If you’re not using your skis often, then you might not be maintaining your skis often either.
That can also make them deteriorate faster.
Skis deteriorate faster when you don’t use them often.
5. Not Performing Regular Maintenance
Another reason many skis start to deteriorate faster than they should is that many skiers don’t perform regular maintenance on them.
There are a few things you should always do to your skis after skiing.
The edges and surfaces often need sharpening and smoothing, respectively.
The bindings also need adjusting so they can grip your boots well.
Most skis also benefit from a fresh coat of wax.
If you don’t have the proper tools or knowledge of how to perform maintenance on your skis, then you’re in luck.
Many ski shops also offer repair services.
They have the tools necessary to sharpen the edges of your skis.
This ensures you’re able to turn on a dime.
They can also smooth the surface of your skis for better grip on the snow.
This will give you as much control as possible.
They’ll also check the bindings and tighten or adjust them as needed.
This keeps your boots from loosening when attached to your skis.
If your boot comes loose, you could lose a ski right from under you.
Finally, they might apply wax to your skis to ensure the epoxy remains hydrated.
If some of the epoxy is missing, then they may even add a fresh coat.
By the time your skis leave the shop, they will look and handle like they are practically new.
You don’t need to take your skis to a ski shop every time you ski, but it is good practice to take them in at least a few times during the season.
At home, you can try to learn how to apply wax.
The wax keeps your epoxy hydrated and gives your skis the best glide along the snow.
It’s also worth understanding what type of wax you need.
For example, there’s wax for warm temperatures and cold temperatures.
Understanding what basic maintenance you should be doing and what maintenance you should be looking to get done by the professionals at ski shops can keep your skis in good condition for a long time.
Without regular maintenance, however, your skis will start to deteriorate fast.
Accidents are common in skiing.
Whether you fall down, run into something, or run into someone, there’s always a risk of being part of an accident.
This is especially true at a busy ski resort.
With so many people on the slopes, someone is inevitably going to run into someone else.
That’s especially true when you have a bunch of beginners together.
They don’t fully understand how to control their skis just yet.
As a result, you might have a beginner run into you and break your skis.
You might also run into something.
When you’re skiing off course, for example, you tend to find your path as you ski.
If you’re going too fast, then you might suddenly find yourself surrounded by trees.
You might hit one and fall, causing your ski to break or become damaged.
Falling is the other type of accident that can prematurely damage your ski.
When you’re first learning to ski, falling is common.
You have to learn how to balance, move, turn, and stop on skis.
Until you’ve mastered those skills, you’re prone to falling.
Sometimes falling can be harmless.
Other times, you might fall in such a way that breaks a ski.
It becomes even worse if you fall and find yourself rolling down a hill.
Your skis could end up hurting you as you roll out of control.
While most skis come off your boot when you start twisting out of control, there’s always a chance that they may remain locked to your boots and start to break.
Accidents and falling not only cause injuries; they might also cause your skis to deteriorate faster.
7. Type Of Core
A final factor that can determine how long your skis last is the type of core they have.
There are three primary materials that can make up your skis’ core.
Foam and plastic are typically the cheapest types of skis.
Foam is the most inexpensive.
However, both foam and plastic tend to degrade fast.
Foam has the shortest lifespan.
Plastic can last for a decently long time, but it doesn’t always feel stable under your feet.
As a result, you might end up falling and damaging your skis.
The best material for a core is wood.
Wooden cores are durable and offer excellent control.
Wooden skis are often made of multiple layers of wood pieces that are coated with epoxy to give them additional strength.
Since wood tends to be more expensive than foam and plastic, wooden core skis are also more expensive.
However, because wooden cores are also more durable, you can expect your skis to last a bit longer.
The type of core in your skis can also determine how fast they deteriorate.
How To Tell If Your Skis Need Replacing
At some point, your skis are going to reach the point where they’ve deteriorated enough that they need replacing.
If you’re a new skier, then you may not be sure when this has happened.
Here are a few signs that your skis need replacing.
1. Old Or Tearing Bindings
One of the first signs that it’s time to replace your skis is when the bindings start to tear.
Bindings are essential in keeping your boots attached to your skis.
However, over time, bindings start to pull away from the skis.
If you’re able to move your boots back and forth on your skis, then it’s clear that your bindings need replacing.
This is a great time to get a pair of new skis and boots, too.
While you can always just replace the bindings and keep your skis, most of the time, you’ll want to replace your skis as well.
That’s because if the bindings are loose, then there’s a good chance it’s because the contact point between the skis and the bindings is in disrepair.
The area could be torn and some parts of the skis might have started to rip away from the bindings.
If your bindings are old or loose, then it’s time to replace your skis.
Another sign that it’s time to replace your skis is when you notice peeling.
It’s always a good idea to check your skis before and after you use them.
While checking them over, ensure you look at the surface of your skis.
You may find that the surface is starting to peel.
This means that the epoxy is tearing off.
At that point, it’s time to replace your skis.
Once the epoxy peels off, there isn’t anything protecting the surface of the ski anymore.
3. Diminished Camber
The “camber” is that natural, built-in arch in the middle of traditional skis.
Over time, the arch starts to disappear.
This indicates that the core is starting to wear out.
If the core is wearing out, then it’s only a matter of time before it snaps.
You can tell if your camber is diminishing by looking at the arch of your skis.
You may also notice it while you’re skiing.
If the skis don’t flex or snap as well as they used to on the slope, then it could be because the core is starting to wear out.
Skis can last for a long time provided you care for them appropriately.
However, it’s usually a good idea to replace them every seven years to take advantage of new ski technology.
You can use the signs above to determine when it’s time to replace your skis.