Riding on Holed Touring Skis

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 Xharlie 05 Jan 2021

Do I need to repair this damage before I go out, again? Photograph: (For scale, the open part of the hole is about 3-4mm in length.) The metal edge looks fine but the hole's right through the black stuff.

I've basically just had the skis fully serviced in the last month and, this morning, I found some concrete under the rather thin and cut up snow on a local Allgäu hill that I romped up. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I can't get a while-you-wait professional job done and want to go out again, on Thursday, so don't want to relinquish the skis for a week.

I'd try to do it, myself, but I don't have the kit or the know how (side note: suggestions and hints for learning the trade are most welcome). Even if I did order what I need, I'd still not have it before my next planned tour.

I don't really care about performance because there's no way I'd notice the difference at my skill level, with legs tired after the up-hill, but they're pricey skis so I really don't want to do anything that would potentially cause issues in the future or shorten their life.

P.S.: Sorry about using a picture sharing site for the photograph. Apparently, only supporters can attach pictures, now.

 crayefish 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

I dont know huge amount about ski tech, but I do know that often skis have wood or other moisture sensitive materials for cores.  You might risk damage as such?

 Doug 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

helped a friend fix similar damage while we were in a non-wardened hut mid tour in the Alps many years ago. From memory (so maybe not reliable) we cut away the bits of the base that were not firmly attached then filled using a P-tex candle someone in the group had in their rucksac. Once well cold scrapped away the excess P-tex to get a reasonable flat & smooth surface. The ski lasted until the end of the tour (about 5 days).

In reply to Xharlie:

I would suspect filling the hole with 'chemical metal'  (epoxy dough/putty) would be fine as a temporary repair. They probably sell it in your local filling station.

I hear the German mountains are not a pleasant place to be as all the townies have been and bought snowshoes and touring skis and are treating the mountains like a dustbin or requiring rescuing.

Edit - the P-tex candle would seem to be exactly what you want. I'd forgotten I'd helped a distant relative P-tex their snowboard a few years ago (didn't know the name of it). If you can't get one, cut up any old thick black polythene you can find (5 gallon drum / loft header tank) and use that.

Post edited at 15:21
 dsh 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

Since you're down to some edge metal there, I'd be worried about your bases delaminating if moisture got in. Ptex is what you need, sometimes it's a little tricky to get it to stay on the edges but generally it's really easy to use. 

 fenski 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Doug:

This ^

But cut away any loose sticking out pieces. Heat the area where you're going to fill with a hair drier before dropping the p-tex in. Helps it stick. 

You dont need to wait until fully cold to scrape off the p-tex. Doing it while its still warmish is easier to do any gives a better finish. you can sand lightly to finish it off. If you know anyone who snowboards, I'm sure they'll have a p-tex candle.   

In reply to Xharlie:

> The metal edge looks fine

Does nobody else see the monster crack in the edge, bottom left?

 Martin W 05 Jan 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Does nobody else see the monster crack in the edge, bottom left?

I see it.

Before you pointed it out I was going to say that, with that hole in the base, if that bit of exposed edge caught on something during your next outing then you could end up with part of the edge getting ripped out.  I reckon with that crack the risk would be that much greater.  Not the sort of outcome I'd want to risk with "pricey" skis.  (Are skis ever really "cheap", though?!)

The P-Tex candle fix as recommended above would probably be adequate for another day's touring but the OP does say that they likely wouldn't get an online order of anything delivered before their next scheduled outing.

In reply to Doug:

As Doug and others have said, you're best making a quick but temporary repair with a P-Tex candle, after cutting away the sides of the hole with a sharp stanley knife. This will keep the water out of the core of the ski and make it less likley that you'll catch the hole on something pointy and rip the edge away (maybe terminal !). If you can  cut back such that the side walls of the hole are vertical, or even slightly wider down at the core of the ski, then the P-tex has a better chance of staying in for a while. It likely wont last very long doing this though as P-tex doesn't stick very well to the metal of the edge at the bottom of the hole. Ideally you would melt in a smear of this stuff (below) first, before filling the remainder of the hole with P-tex. But its tricky to use and needs to be melted and welded properly. Scrape then lightly sand the excess P-tex and the wax the patch (using a cork to rub it in, if you're not hot waxing the whole ski).

 HeMa 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

Fix it. 

for the hole next to the edge, regular ptex candle/string don’t really last. You really need some with glue in it. 

not really helping now, but Tognar in Ice Coast US has What ya need. 

So cut the ’loose’ ptex on the edges of the hole. And then fill with ptex string.

Use the latter when all the way through the ptex and near metal edges. 

Best tool would be a solder, but just by lighting it also works. 

wait for it to cool, then with the help of a knife, metal scraper and/or file flatten it. Done. 

If none of the proper material is available. Instant glue to seal the core. Then slowcure epoxy. Flatten like proper ptex. Not as good as ptex repair, but work well enough. Done that a few times on crappy rock skis (didn’t want to waste the ptex string).

for big gashes, a proper baseweld is the way to go. Tognar also sells ptex sheets. Cut and clean the hole, cut similar part from sheet. Glue in place with slowcure epoxy. Flatten and If needed fill gaps with ptex string. Re-structure the base. Done, as good as new. 

 John Ww 05 Jan 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Does nobody else see the monster crack in the edge, bottom left?

Agreed! If that really is a crack through the steel edge, rather than a bit of black Pertex, then a hole in the base is the least of your problems. Catch that on a rock, pull the edge off, and your skiing is going to be errr... “interesting”.

 Sans-Plan 05 Jan 2021
In reply to John Ww:

If you zoom in a lot you can see it’s a bit of base that’s peeled and sticking out over the edge

 John Ww 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Sans-Plan:

OK, wondered if that was what it was.

In reply to Sans-Plan:

Super eagle eyed!

 Sans-Plan 05 Jan 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

I would be more worried about what looks like bubbling along the edge to that point, looks like it’s had water in it, you can see the outline of the edge anchors in the base. I think they want binning.

 lanky 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:


I'd cut away the lumpy ptex, and put some aradite in. I've had skis with nearly more aradite then ptex by the end. If you want to make sure it stays for life buy slow cureing aradite.

Post edited at 21:06
 SteveJC94 05 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

Best bet for a short term fix to to sand the area down slightly and be very liberal with a Ptex candle and scrape off the excess with a very sharp plastic scraper. 

For a more permanent fix, cut away an area circa 0.5cm each side of the damage with a Stanley Knife. Then degrease the area, sand with dfine paper and add cold weather Araldite (normal Araldite has a habit of cracking in the cold). Stick on a base patch (you can find these online quite easily) and leave to set. Once ski shops are open again, get the base ground on a belt, then through a WIntersteiger with a stone grind to get the structure back in the base. Only try this if you're confident - I lost track of the number of mis-drilled or bodged repairs on expensive skis (incliding £1k DPS Wailers) I fixed in the workshop when people didn't want to pay the £30 for a ski tech do to the job 

I was told that the plastic used to hold six packs together works well. Not tried it myself!

 Xharlie 07 Jan 2021
In reply to purplemonkeyelephant:

> Does nobody else see the monster crack in the edge, bottom left?

Actually, THAT is an illusion caused by loose fibers from very shallow scrapes that are occluding the edge in the photograph and making it look kaputt. Thanks for pointing it out, though -- I went and checked.

Post edited at 15:03
 Xharlie 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

Firstly, thanks, all, for your enlightened info and helpful instruction.

I was out on the hills, yesterday, but decided to punish myself and take my new snow-shoes out for a try. My wife was on skis and had an easier time of it but it was an easy tour and I wanted to get used to the odd snow-shoeing movement before beginning touring with my brother -- the purpose for which the snow-shoes were purchased. (Outcome: I can totally see the appeal of snow-shoes, on certain tours, but it's painful to descend in them when your partner's gliding down in powder.)

I did, however, find a bloke in the valley who ran a ski-hire place (obviously closed) and was prepared to turn his heat-blower and P-tex skills to my ski, effecting a temporary repair.

Then, this morning, I went out again. This time on my own.

I'm happy to say that, on the repaired skis, I completed an 830 metre (ascent) tour in three hours, despite the fact that I had to walk half the way down. Can you guess what happened?

Indeed, although there was new snow falling, yesterday, there proved to be insufficient snow on the fields and I found another rock. This time, I ripped out the black stuff, hit the core and buckled the edge. Same ski but near the rear binding, this time. (I'll take pictures and, hopefully, post them, later.)

My wife claims that she's seen worse and it's repairable but it's certainly a job for an expert and, whatever the outcome, I guess these are rock-skis, now.

I'm starting to wonder if I can afford ski-touring, with my luck.

 Doug 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

I started ski touring with a pair of skis bought for about 10 pounds from a ski sale organised by the local ski club (unfortunately had to pay near full price on the bindings). Not great skis but at least I didn't mind to much if they got damaged

 Xharlie 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Doug:

That's good advice. Those skis probably tought you lessons that I've paid way too much to learn, myself.

I've had the skis that are the subject of this thread for three years, already, and somehow managed to keep them pretty much pristine up until now. I suppose that this season has just been an unlucky one.

It could also be connected to the fact that we can't really get to any high-alpine spots because of COVID-19 and so we're going out at lower altitudes and doing more field-skiing than normal.

 gethin_allen 07 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

> I'm starting to wonder if I can afford ski-touring, with my luck.

You may not be able to afford ski touring on perfect skis but you can probably afford ski touring if you lower your standards a bit and learn to fix/bodge a few repairs. P-tex and Araldite are your friends, combined with use of a file and wax you can get away with most things.

My dad ripped a big chunk (~2 inch square) out of the side of a new pair of skis (including the edge) to the point they were said to be a lost cause. We sorted them easily and they lasted for years.

 Kean 07 Jan 2021
In reply to lanky:

> I'd cut away the lumpy ptex, and put some aradite in. I've had skis with nearly more aradite then ptex by the end. If you want to make sure it stays for life buy slow cureing aradite.

Both you and HeMa refer to "slow curing epoxy/araldite". Would be interested to know more. When you say slow, do you mean like the standard Araldite which they say takes 14 hrs to reach full strength or summat else?

Is there a big difference between the performance of quick- and slow-curing versions for filling gouges in ski bases? If so, that might explain why I managed to fill a deep gouge right on the ski edge with araldite and the fix lasted years, then failed to do the same thing on another ski - I'd fill the hole with quick-cure Araldite, do a ski tour, get back to the car and araldite had gone. 

Post edited at 20:50
 HeMa 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Kean:

The best stuff would be 24h curing marine epoxy. But any non quick version should be fine (curing time more than few hours).

that being said I doubt even the quick stuff should be mostly fine as far as strenght goes. But the longer setting time might make it stick better to a base weld. 

 lanky 08 Jan 2021
In reply to HeMa:

As HeMa says regarding araldite. 

Also if you put the araldite on the ski then get a hairdryer on it,It is alot easier to work. 

Post edited at 08:50
 HeMa 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

> ... guess these are rock-skis, now...

Old skiing proverb is that all skis are rock skis.

That being said, unless the edge is complete off the skis (doesn't sound like it). it can be repaired.

Straighten it out (hammer etc.), then apply that slow cure epoxy on the region where the edge buckled. And apply heat to make the epoxy more runny and soak into the core plus all cracks/gaps/holes and clamp it in place with small vises (both axis).

After the edge repair is done, fix the gash like previously.

And order some of the stuff (like said, Tognar I linked above is a good resource). And get some basic maintenance gear from a local hardware or hobby store.

What you need is (from e.g. Tognar)
- ptex (string)

- ptex metal (string)

- edge file guide (to sharpen the edges).

- ptex drip candle (field repair kit)

- plastic scraper for waxing

- base wax (I'm lazy, so just use the universal one)

And from a hardware store:

- slow cure epoxy

- instant glue (field repair kit)

- metal scraper for waxing and also base work (make sure it is wider than the ski at the widest point).

- a few small clamp & vises

- waxing iron (or a cheapo used one from a flea market etc.).

- a small really sharp knife (field repair kit)

- same ducktape (field repair kit)

- bastard file

- finer fine (for edges and used with the file-guide)

-plastic zipties (field repair kit)

- lighter/matches (field repair kit)

And if you wish, get some ptex sheets for base welds.

It's not rocket science fixing ones skis... in fact it's rather easy.

Tognar might even have some guidance videos or reading material on their pages.

In reply to HeMa:

>  And apply heat to make the epoxy more runny and soak into the core plus all cracks/gaps/holes and clamp it in place with small vises (both axis).

Surely heat is going to make the epoxy go off faster? Which is why boatbuilders keep theirs in metal trays instead of paint kettles, it stops thermal runaway which changes it from 'honey' to solid in about a minute.

 HeMa 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Toerag:

Nope. The slowcure epoxy will become less viscous when you add heat. 

There are numerous different kinds of epoxy polymers. For ski-repear 2-component slow cure epoxy glue is What we are talking about. For curing fibreglass with epoxy (or carbon fibre), it’s a bit different stuff. But even for them heat is used together with vacuum to really soak it in where it counts. The prolonged cooking is What helps later on with the curing of the glassfibre. 

 Pinch'a'salt 08 Jan 2021
In reply to Xharlie:

> I'm starting to wonder if I can afford ski-touring, with my luck.

I'll tackle the elephant in the room... I would strongly suggest your luck doesn't have anything to do with it, but going out ski touring/off piste skiing early season on thin snowpack has alot to do with it.

This is a relatively recent phenomena in its scale - over my way (French Alps) in the 20+ years I have been here the number of skiers/tourers heading off piste everywhere as soon as there is the faintest covering of white has increased exponentially - where historically people would wait for a minimum of base to the snowpack to form unless skiing real 'montagne a vache' (pasture)/grass).  It makes me cringe to see some of the places people ski with the thinnest of covers when it is plainly obvious that what is underneath is rocky rather than grassy... I could also run through a list of friends and acquaintances who have tooled themselves early season on thin snowpacks - broken femur, broken tib/fib, broken shoulder + pneumothorax are just 3 incidents that spring to mind...

And to pick up on a point from your OP - having a hole in your base will make a difference even if you skill level is low as you say - knowing how much a hole can affect the performance of a ski it IS something to get sorted if you want to enable your skill level to progress - no point fighting against poorly maintained kit when you could be working with well-maintained kit...

 Xharlie 14 Jan 2021
In reply to Pinch'a'salt:

> This is a relatively recent phenomena in its scale...

On all but one trip, I was taken out with locals from Allgäu or Tyrol who've been skiing since they were three so I'd hardly agree with you. Besides, it was thin snow or stay-at-home.

 Xharlie 14 Jan 2021
In reply to HeMa:

Ta, HeMa. THAT's helpful.

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