Ski bum logic: If you decide to tackle ski base repair yourself, you can justify the purchase—and use—of all kinds of dangerous toys your mom never let you play with as a kid. We’re talking butane torches, fire, and razor blades.
If that sounds fun to you, you’ve come to the right place. In this video, professional ski technician Leif Sunde teaches you how to safely use those tools to repair minor ski base damage at home, so you don’t have to run to the shop every time you nick your bases on rocks at the resort.
“Minor ski base repair—shallow scratches or something that catches your fingernail when you run your fingers up and down the base of your skis—can easily be performed at home,” explains Sunde. “But if you detect base damage that goes all the way down to the core or exposes the ski’s edge, that’s something to have a professional take a look at and take care of.”
Why repair base damage in the first place? Any scratches in the base material affects the ski’s ability to glide and shed water. Scratches, especially deep ones, also impact the durability of your skis. Most skis feature wood cores that are particularly susceptible to water damage. You want to keep your bases in tip-top shape to protect your ski’s core.
Ready to get started? Assemble the necessary tools outlined below and follow this step-by-step tutorial to learn how to repair ski base damage yourself—and how to (safely) wield a butane torch.
Watch: How to Repair Ski Base Damage, Step-By-Step
Ski Base Repair Tools
- P-Tex: Sticks of polyethylene base material, or P-Tex, can be found at any ski shop. Sunde recommends using the black variety because it’s the purest and contains fewer additives than colored P-Tex sticks.
- Box cutter: Use a standard box cutter to trim away excess base material from the base damage to create a clean, smooth surface for the new P-Tex to bond to.
- Butane Torch: A regular lighter doesn’t produce enough heat to melt P-Tex, so you’ll need a butane torch to ensure the P-Tex is heated to a point where it acts as a combustion agent rather than burning itself.
- Razor Blade: A free razor blade is the easiest tool to use to plane away excess P-Tex from repaired base area.
- Wax and Waxing Iron: After you’ve repaired your base damage, be sure to add a layer of wax to the entire ski base to keep the new base material hydrated and protected.