It’s hard to part with skiing or snowboarding gear you’ve used for years. Like old friends, you’re comfortable with them and you’ve shared many outings together. But all mechanical things wear out and eventually require replacement. Why can’t you continue using old and worn gear? Safety is the main reason. In addition, equipment technology has improved.
If your equipment is a decade or older, you’re missing out on the vastly improved performance of new generation skiing and snowboarding gear. By doing an upgrade, you can instantly become a better skier or snowboarder. Using modern equipment is less tiring, which means you can stay on the slopes longer. Try renting new skis a few times just to see what it’s like. You may not want to go back to your old equipment. However, the most important reason for an upgrade is safety, and there are two critical pieces of gear to pay attention to ski bindings and helmets.
Usage, time, and storage conditions can alter the way your bindings release. They may false release while skiing, or not release in a fall. Both situations can cause serious injury. Even if you go out of your way to take good care of your gear, plastic parts age and weaken. Hidden cracks may form.
To stay on the safe side, have a ski shop do an inspection and a reset before the start of every season. If you’re in the Boulder, Colorado area, Christy Sports offers this service. Note that service people aren’t allowed by manufacturers to service bindings older than 10 years. Manufacturers won’t back old bindings because they, and the ski shops, only wish to deal with safe equipment.
Ski and Snowboarding Helmets
While many injuries heal without long-term consequences, the same can’t always be said of brain injury. So much of who you are and what you can do reside in this organ. Helmets protect the head from bad falls and collisions into people or objects. That’s why inspecting your helmet for damage and aging is important. Note that the plastics used in helmets degrade over time, and manufacturers recommend their replacement every three to five years. The Snell Foundation recommends replacement every five years.
If a helmet has visible damage from a crash, it should be immediately replaced. This includes dents, soft spots, or cracks in the outer shell and the inside protective liner. In addition, if the liner feels brittle or is crumbling, your helmet won’t absorb impact energy very well and should be replaced.
Check the straps and buckles for wear or damage. The buckles should readily snap together. Ski shops such as Sturtevant’s Ski Mart in Bellevue, WA, provide helmets and other gear for both skiers and snowboarders, should any of your equipment require replacement.