Before you hit the slopes, check your gear. It might be time for new equipment if you see these signs.
Ski gear has different lifecycles depending on how often and in what conditions you ski in. Chet Champion is an assistant manager at SNÖBAHN, an indoor ski and snowboard center, and he said that gear usually lasts about five years.
Champion said three factors change the lifespan of the equipment: frequency, ski conditions and storage.
“Gear that sees the mountain maybe 10 days a year, is used by someone who likes to ride in calm and easy conditions and is well taken care of in between those uses — and, in the summer — can definitely last longer than five years,” said Champion. “All these factors play a role, and even gear that is well maintained in between every session may not make it quite that long for the avid rider who is getting 30, 50 or even 100-plus days in a season.”
The five-year mark is not a one-size-fits-all. There are certain signs and questions you can ask yourself to determine if you need new gear.
How long do skis last?
If you see certain signs like significant base damage, delamination (the top sheet of the skis separating from the base of the skis) and heavy rust or damage to the edges of the skis, it might be time to look for a new pair.
Ski bindings are a little different.
Ski binding manufacturers recommend settings and guidelines to ensure safety, called “indemnified.” This usually shows how long the bindings can last if they’re used properly.
A common industry standard is that ski binding indemnification typically lasts for five to 10 years after the bindings are first manufactured, said Champion.
When do you need new snow apparel?
As for jackets, snow pants and gloves, as long as they keep you warm and dry, they should be good for the upcoming season, according to Champion.
Another way to check if you need to repair or replace your apparel is if there’s damage like split seams and holes.
Signs you should change the rest of your ski gear
A helmet needs to be changed if you have any doubts about its condition, if it has been involved in a significant incident or if it no longer provides a proper fit, said Champion.
“If your helmet has been involved in a significant impact, it is essential to inspect the helmet’s condition for cracks, damage, dents, etc.,” said Champion. “Even without visible damage, the helmet’s protective capabilities may be compromised when involved in a significant accident, and it is recommended to replace the helmet, as it may no longer provide adequate protection in future accidents.”
Even without an accident, the average timeline is every five years, as the protective materials can be reduced over time.
Ski poles have more leniency. You most likely do not need to replace them unless they are damaged.
You can look for dents or cracks to reduce the chances of your poles completely breaking while on the mountain.
Maintenance and storage help gear last longer
Maintenance like full tuning, edge sharpening and waxing can increase the lifespan of skis. The best practice is to wax your skis every 10 days on the mountain and wax your skis after your last day on the mountain.
As for ski gear, if you reapply for waterproofing treatments, it can help your apparel last longer.
It’s also important to keep your equipment clean between mountain trips.
Make sure to dry out all your equipment before putting it away and put everything in a dry environment to avoid rust or mold.
These are just guidelines. If you have any doubts, take them to your local shop for a repair, a replacement or their professional opinion.