When you’re out there on the slopes, the last thing you need is a pair of skis you can’t rely on. Good skis help with balance, speed, and cutting through that powder. Bad skis slow you down and feel limp under your feet. If you’re new to skiing, you may not know how to feel the difference yet. You will have to rely on means other than your intuition to figure out when it’s time for a new pair.
But how will you know when it’s time to get new skis? Skis are no small investment. You will want to get as much use as you can out of them and you might even hesitate to let them go. It’s hard to accept when good skis go bad, but it’s good to know the signs.
How Many Days Do Skis Last?
The simplest answer is 100-125 days. That’s 5 years if you ski 20 days a year. After that much use, the core of the ski starts to lose its natural integrity and energy. Basically, after about 5 years of regular usage, your skis will start feeling more and more dead under your feet.
That being said, the average skier changes their skis every 8 years. You may need to change your skis sooner or later, depending on a few key factors.
What causes wear and tear on skis?
Your style is a big contributor to wear and tear. If you like going off the beaten path and ski aggressively, your skis will wear out quicker than someone who likes going down beginner slopes all day. Packed, icy snow also takes from a ski’s life.
Your weight is also a factor. If you weigh more, your skis are under more stress and will wear out quicker. If you weigh less, your skis will last a little longer.
Maintenance is one way to increase the lifetime of a ski. Here are four great ways to keep your skis in great shape.
- Regular waxing every 5-10 ski sessions.
- Dry your skis after using them. Just brushing snow off isn’t enough, you must make sure your skis are dry after every use.
- Store your ski tips upright in a dry room between uses and in the off season.
- Regularly sharpen the edges of your skis. If you know what you’re doing, you might try sharpening your skis at home, but it’s best to leave this up to the ski shop. They’re professionals.
- For tips on home sharpening, see the following video
So now we know what causes skis to wear out and how to slow down the process. How then, will we know when it’s time to replace them?
How Often to Replace Skis?
Obvious reasons to get new skis are clear signs of damage like cracks and withering. These are things you can see with your naked eye and without any special expertise. You will also come to a point where you cannot sharpen your skis anymore. When these things happen, it’s time for a new pair.
You shouldn’t use the 100 day rule or the 8 year average as gospel. Whenever your skis become damaged, or when they just stop giving you that extra edge, it’s time for some new ones. Your skis should speed you up and help you along your way. They shouldn’t be dragging you down.
Another important consideration is that ski technology advances about every 5 years. You don’t want to be left in the stone age while little kids are zipping by you on state-of-the-art skis. New technology often improves ski flexibility, control, balance, speed, and more.
You also may want to change your skiing style. If you’re becoming more advanced in skill, you will want to buy new skis that can handle your more aggressive skiing. You might also come to find that your skis are hindering rather than helping you as you gain skill. Trade them in for a new pair, then!
Getting the Best Deal
So you’ve seen the cracks, have your eye on a cool new model, or maybe your skis just don’t have the oomph they used to. However, your wallet isn’t very fat and the design you’re lusting after is costly. There are ways to deal with this.
The first way, of course, is to be frugal. Subscribe to ski mailing lists that send out coupons, talk to your ski shop about deals, and shop around for the best prices. You can also buy used, but be careful.
Even well maintained used skis will have much less life in them than new ones. Not to mention, you usually have no way of knowing how old they actually are. Those skis could have only seen a few uses before someone got bored of their new hobby, or they could have already seen those 100 days of use!
One big way to save money on skis is to buy them at the end of the season. Ski shops have huge sales come spring and summer. They will be the skis that were popular that year, of course, not the newest or most fancy, but you will be able to score big savings if you strike when the weather starts heating up.
The Bottom Line
Unless you’re made of money, you probably won’t need to worry about new skis until your current ones are at least five years old. Five years is also how long it generally takes for advancement in ski technology, which you will eventually want to take advantage of.
However, if your ski style isn’t changing and you love those five year old skis, just take good care of them! During the season make sure to wax them, have them sharpened, and wipe water and snow off of them regularly. During the off season, wax them one more time and store them upright in a cool, dry place! Keep an eye on your beloved skis for wear and tear as they age, especially since the average skier switches pairs every 8 years.