January 3, 2022

Ski and Snowboard Base Repair

by Roger

Table of Contents

What is the Purpose of Ski and Snowboard Base Repair?

On ski slopes, you’ll suffer a lot of dents and scratches from stones, bushes, rails, and other obstructions. Destruction to your base impacts how the skis glide through the snow. Greater damage equals less gliding, leading to decreased travel speed. Furthermore, as the laminate covering on the board dries up, the glue holding the lamination in place may lose stickiness. 

There is a possibility that the lamination may lift, causing a bulge, or that it may come free from one edge and peel away completely. Because there is no way to completely prevent damage from scratches or dents on the base or the laminate peeling off, we must learn how to patch the holes as soon as they appear.

What are the Tools and Materials Needed for Ski and Snowboard Base Repair?

You will need brake retainers, a vise, a true bar, and a base flattener for flattening the bases of the skis. You will also need a P-tex repair solid, a Surform, and a razor scraper. Also, waxing may come in handy, hence the need for a wax iron, wax, and wax brushes.

Related Article: What Is the Relationship between Rappelling and Snowboarding?

How Long Does It Take to Complete a Ski and Snowboard Base Repair?

The length of time it takes to repair the board depends on the extent of the damage. Sufficed to say, a shallow gouge of up to 2 mm depth may take up to 5 minutes when hot waxing the damaged area and removing the damaged parts with a razor. However, if the gouges are plentiful, you may need a stone grinder from a skilled shop. On the other hand, deeper gouges and core shots nearing the fiberglass will take hours of applying P-tex.

What Should You Look for When Inspecting Your Ski and Snowboard Bases?

Peeled off laminations 

That vinyl covering skis and snowboards is extremely vulnerable to wear and tear. Going directly into rough places or other skiers might cause the fitted sheet to flake or detach. Slight deformation is easy to spread, so make certain you regulate the affected area as quickly as possible.

Corners that are cracked or bent

With skis or snowboards, a fractured or distorted edge needs rapid care. This destruction can also be caused by your stuff falling off a ski lodge or bumping against containers or railings.

Shots from the Core

Core shots are holes on the base that make the wood or fiberglass visible. The main cause of abrasion is riding along rough and rocky paths.

How Do You Know if You Need to Do a Ski or Snowboard Base Repair?

There is always a vulnerable point for damage, which, if left unattended, will always result in greater deterioration. Below are some of them and the possible remedies for each.

Evidence of shallow gouges

Shallow gouges are, at times, hard to notice. Even so, they are still hard to fix, and should they be let loose. The less than 2 mm depth will increase, causing burrows on the base. However, you can use text. If not, you can remove the damaged parts by scraping them with a razor. Also, hot wax suffices for the task, and you won’t notice any deformity. Lastly, if there are more shallow gauges, you may need a stone grinder.

Visibility of medium-depth gouges

It’s somewhat easy to spot deep gauges of about 3 mm or even more. In most cases, they result from minor shallows that were left unattended. If the gauges haven’t penetrated through the laminate to the board, they can be filled evenly with a stick of burning P-tex.

Evidence of core shots and deep gouges

Most damage goes through the laminate on the ski and reaches the bottom layer of the fiberglass. In this case, the core needs to be attended to before the base is refilled. You can spot this type of damage by examining the laminate and seeing the extent of the abrasion.

It’s critical to seal the interior of a snowboard to avoid additional structural failure, particularly against leakage of water into a wooden core. Repair the cores directly using a strong marine-grade watertight glue or an epoxy composite solution like JB Weld; if needed, cut through the base to undertake this operation. Give sufficient time for the adhesive to set thoroughly before proceeding.

After you have handled the core and the laminate, you can fix P-Tex. When working with big base areas exceeding 1 square inch, it’s somewhat easier to cut shapes from the gouges of your bases and correspond them to the P-Tex pieces. Standardized P-Tex forms, often in an ellipsoid, are plentiful, or you may construct one out of dense plywood-just use templates to ensure that the form you remove matches the form you replace.

Instead of melting, this component is again bonded into position with an adhesive. A flat metal sheet or a woodblock is fastened to the base to disperse the pressure until the filling sets uniformly.

Take away 

While applying the patch, ensure the rougher side points downwards and allow the epoxy to dry fully. A delayed-curing impermeable epoxy is typically preferable to the five-minute furniture store kind. Following the removal of the clamps, the patched area can be prepared and waxed. Sanding and scrubbing may need to be done to bring the mended area to a flat position. 

Skis that have been tuned several times will have thinned base materials that may require stone grinding to be completely smooth. This is certainly relevant to skis that have been turned several times, as the ski base materials become thinner without the P-Tex layer. Relatively narrow core holes should be repaired with a core gun or core repair equipment and a metal scrubber after the core is closed.

Damage on the edges

There is generally some edge deterioration when there is sufficient base destruction to justify repair. Sides fractured by rock collision are “hammer hardened,” rendering them tough to level with a file. It’s preferable to start by eliminating the burrs using a rough diamond file, shape the edges, and then eliminate the scuff marks with standard files.

Diamond files are typically plastic blocks with industry-quality diamonds embedded in the sharp rim. Though not cheap, they’re incredibly good at reducing scuffs and are lightweight and tiny enough to fit in pockets. On the other hand, a Panzer file and a file guide are the best tools for removing deep scratches on the edge after burrs have been removed. A shop may be able to repair your skis or board at a more cost-effective price by grinding the edges instead of hand-repairing, which takes hours. 

Maintain the edge profile after you have worked on them and ensure the base is level. Edges that are twisted or absent might be rather problematic, yet they are frequently repairable. You can fix bent edges by applying light pressure and heating, or simply by using a hammer, chisel, or screwdriver to make holes, then putting epoxy inside the cracks and clamping.

An absent edge generally necessitates cutting and deleting a portion of the old edge and substituting it with a screwed-on piece of new edge trimmed to fit. A qualified repairman can hardly perceptible edge repair that will endure for seasons. On the occasion that the edge is less cracked but still intact, you should file the sharp points to avoid extended damage.

Is It Possible to Use a Ski and Snowboard Base Repair Kit without a Heated Base Plate?

The purpose of a heated base plate is to disperse heat but in an indirect manner. If you are dealing with shallow gauges that need waxing, you will need the heated base plate. The same applies to core shots and deep gauges. So, it’s not just possible to forgo the heated base plate unless you will only use a file entirely.

What are the Best Ways to Prevent Ski and Snowboard Base Damage?

Wax the snowboard regularly

This should be done after every three trips to ensure the intactness of the board laminate. You have to clean and store your board properly. If the board has been gouged, you have to scrape off the wax, clean the area, and file it. As with storage, it should not be kept on cement but a wall fitted with supports.

Sharpen your board

Skis or snowboards need to be sharpened by a machine or a whetstone. You have to eliminate scratches and snags and use a flat file for the job. The sharpening frequency will depend on the softness of the snow used.

Avoid rocky terrain

A hole exposing the core or abrasions on the laminate results from rocky terrain. You have to study the oath you will use and avoid the rocky passages whenever possible. Boards used on rocky terrain tend to last only a season instead of other routes where a board may last for seasons.

What are the Most Common Causes of Ski and Snowboard Base Damage?

  • If you are skiing on rocky terrain, your board has almost a 90% vulnerability to damage.
  • Again, as the laminate covering on the board gets exposed to cold eyes and dries up, the glue holding the lamination in place may lose stickiness. There is a possibility that the lamination may lift, causing a bulge, or that it may come free from one edge and peel away completely. Also, during the drying period, there is an uneven expansion that, though long-term, always results in rapturing of the laminate.
  • Poor maintenance, such as a bad storage location, may compromise the boards’ edges and lack filing and waxing.

Ski and snowboard base repair is an important maintenance activity alongside tunning your snowboard.

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About the author 


Roger was born into a family of climbers. As the youngest of his siblings, he was also the most ardent climber of them. Small and agile, he practiced climbing all day. Today, Roger teaches children how to climb the large rock walls safely.

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