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Can a ski wear out?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

It seems like a dumb question, but let me tell you where it is coming from.  Five years ago, I bought a pair of Volant Silvers, and enjoyed skiing them  so much that when I found a pair of Volant Platinums at a great price, I jumped on them too.  When they were new, they felt very similar except that the Platinums were stiffer and felt a bit more comfortable.  So I used the Silvers ans my patrol skis, and my Platinums get used when I go elsewhere; my fun skis, so to speak.  

Today, for the first time this year, I used the Platinums, and holy crap, what a difference.  They are far FAR better than the Silvers, and I know that they were not that much better when the Silvers were new.  So now I have to ask.  Can a ski wear out, and how can you tell when a ski is finished?  Thanks for the input.



post #2 of 11

Quick answer, others can get much more indepth than I can, but Yes, as time goes on skis do being to lose their "Pop".  When and if this happens, it results from a number of factors.  Number of days, length of days, condition they are kept in, how hard you ski them.  Hope this helps a little and someone can add onto this basic answer.

post #3 of 11

Like any other product, skis will eventually wear out.  One of the ways is physical.  Skis have a limit to how many times it can be tuned.  Edges and bases can take only so much tuning.  Before that happens, the other way you can tell is that the skis won't feel like it has much life left.  They won't feel as springy or as grippy.


In my opinion, you will have to put a lot of ski days before any of that can happen.  When it does, you will know it.  Enjoy your skis.




Edit:  This is my 500th post! yahoo.gif

post #4 of 11

Can a ski wear out? Yes. As much has been said on this place.


Mrs5150's skis wore out last season. Lost their camber. phlat as a pancake. I insisted  she gets a new pair of skis. She gots a pair of Rossi s86w. She was thrilled and once again she beats me to the lift. Not by the usual one minute, but now two. nonono2.gif New skis do make a difference when one's old skis are wore out.


Aw well, if the wife is happy so is the husband. I'm the relative newbie. She's got 15 seasons on me.



post #5 of 11

Yes, skis wear out.frown.gif

Other than the obvious no edges nd no base left, they become noticeably more flexible in the longitudinal direction.  If you were overskied with at the start, this might not be all that bad.....for a while, until things get worse. 


If you can't feel the flex and performance, one way to tell is the tips take one more bounce/flop after after landing big air at high speeds. 


Like your car, iIf you are constantly on the same skis every day, it's hard to notice the gradual change from day to day, but like the OP, you will notice if you test drive  a new one.

post #6 of 11
Every time you make a turn your bending or flexing the ski. It's the same of you were to take a piece of wood or metal, flex it a bunch of times and eventually it won't have the same rebound.
post #7 of 11

Not any structural engineers here?


A ski can be used up by repeated tunings, this is normal and expected.


Composite structures lose their design parameters through overstress, low cycle fatigue, high cycle fatigue and material aging of components.

Overstress is a one off event usually due to an accident.  You can bend a ski.

Low cycle fatigue is repeated near overstress that causes structure failure usually because one of the component layers is repeatedly stressed to failure. (eg: some foam plastic cores).

High cycle fatigue is true wearing out.  It is due to the accumulation of microscopic damage to component layers or adhesive.  This shouldn't be an issue with most skis but is a big issue with things like aluminum airplane parts.

Aging of component layers and adhesives is mostly a design and build quality issue.  A well made ski with a high quality wood core that is stored properly shouldn't have issues with aging.  Some of my well made wood core skis that are 30 yo are still in good shape.


Most strong skiers want a ski that is pretty flexible for their weight/power.  They run their equipment pretty close to the overstress condition and will "wear out" a set of skis quite quickly where low cycle fatigue causes a change of structural shape.  Most of us know a beast that can destroy a set of off the shelf skis in a day or a run.  This is an issue of improper equipment and not wearing out.


A reasonably good skier who doesn't overstress their equipment and stores it properly can expect a very long life from high quality skis.

If they don't get it the skis were not designed or built correctly in the first place.

High level racing, bumps and big air require skis constructed to take this abuse.

Ski construction cost is limited and sometimes, if you want them bendy enough to work well, they will eventually fail.

Then there are some like the P40 Volkls with three sheets of titanal that could be used as bridge parts and will never fail when skied by mortals.

post #8 of 11

My friend who use to own a ski shop won't buy used demo skis because he says a skis best days are the first 20 days. Most skis ski quite differently after about 100 days. My old Volkl Snow Rangers had about 300 days before i retired them but they still skied pretty much the same as they did on day one, a trait shared by many Volkl skis from that era and a reason why people paid a premium for Volkls back in the day. They got retired because newer ski designs offer way easier turning without giving up stability.


Back in the 1970s there weren't too many powder skis and really very few ski choices when compared to what is available today. So the typical ski bum's powder ski was a worn out (read soft with no longer any edge hold) GS ski.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies.  

I guess I should have mentioned that I have been patrolling (volunteering) at least once a week during the season, and often more.  I have been using these skis since day one, four years ago.  They seem to have lost their edge hold, so so sad.  I'll be using the Platinums for the next couple of days, and then I'll bring the Silvers for a side by side test just to see if I was not overstating or overthinking the problems.  If they are finished, well they did serve me very very well.

post #10 of 11

a photo of the ski models would be interesting as some of us may not be familiar with those models. comparing Volants is interesting because there are true Volants and Atomic factory Volants, and they are entirely different skis. The true Volant, designed and constructed by Volant, has a steel cap that is structural. The Atomic Volant uses steel only cosmetically and is otherwise a wood fiberglass ski.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

They are Atomic Volants with the carbon fibre sidewalls.  The sidewall is the weakness of this ski, and I have had to do many repairs to the sidewalls using epoxy after hitting them against... well, everything.  I have never had any delaminations, and I have not bent them, but it seems that the edge hold holds no more.  


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