8 Signs It Might Be Time For New Skis
You probably don’t need new skis. Unless you really do. Here's how you'll know.
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This story originally appeared on SKI
I have a pair of first-generation Nordica Enforcers from 2015 that I still ski most days. They look terrible—like a truck ran over them on the interstate. The tips are wavy from collisions with pieces of mountain. The bases have a who’s who of core shots. And the edges haven’t been edgeable on hardpack in years. And you know what? They still absolutely rip.
Like a dependable adventure dog, those skis and I have built a solid foundation of trust. We’ve experienced a lot together—the best chalk-filled chutes of my life, slightly reckless speeds, hundreds of rock encounters, and a few tomahawks. Glory, shame, and everything in between.
At some point, I know it will be time to put them out to pasture. Or at least turn them into an Adirondack chair. But what’s the rush? The ski market is like Tinder these days, with so many options, and such low odds of finding true love. And so I’m going to ski these guys until, well, as long as we’re having fun—and not falling into one of these very clear signs it’s time to move on.
1. The ski shop says ‘no way’ to a new mount.
Once, a friend forgot to close my ski rack after I dropped him off after a day at the hill. I hit I-5 in Oregon and after I accelerated to about 50, I heard a loud noise, looked back in my rearview mirror, and saw my Karhu Team 100s catapulting down the freeway behind me. I loved those skis, too. So I played frogger to grab them. One of the bindings had ripped out. When I approached the local ski shop to have them remounted, they looked at me like I was a fool and told me that they would never, in good conscience, put a binding on that ski. So I got some new skis.
2. You are a hazard to others.
I have a friend who skis a pair of 190 Head Mojos from 2006. They’re basically Hermann Maier reincarnated as a ski—massive, stiff, burly. And it seems nearly every time my friend skis them, there’s some kind of collision or a near-horrifying accident. My friend desperately needs new skis.
3. Your skis are missing a critical component.
You’re missing an edge. A tip. A tail. A sidewall. A chunk of the base larger than your hand. It’s probably time to get some new skis.
4. It’s not you, it’s me.
Skier’s change. Sometimes a connection fizzles. And that’s okay. Maybe you want to ski faster. Maybe you want to ski slower. It’s possible you used to enjoy skiing backward. Now you’re more into the straight and narrow. Maybe you just want to see what else is out there. It’s best to acknowledge that you’ve grown apart and simply move on. (You can still be friends.)
5. You want to impress a Tech Bro.
It’s easy to spot a tech bro. Their matching GoreTex Pro outerwear shimmers as they ski the resort with spotless DPS skis and state-of-the-art AT bindings, but they walk through the parking lot kind of funny and can’t ski a bump to save their Google shares. If you want to impress that guy, you should definitely get some new skis.
6. Your skis are longer than 200 centimeters and you are not a downhill skier.
I love irony. And I get wanting to show others just how strong of a skier you are by handicapping yourself (oh hi, teleskiers). So by all means, please dust off the throwbacks every spring and let your skinny ski freak flag fly. But if that’s your daily driver? Well, your knees just gained another decade of ski life by hanging the old straight sticks up.
7. Your skis are wider than 120 millimeters underfoot.
I believe it was during Obama’s first term that the ski industry discovered floatation. It quickly became a race to see who could make a snowboard for each foot, with absurd widths—140! No, eff it, 150!!! Unless you are the size of a yeti and only heli-ski bottomless powder (congratulations if that is you!), then that is way too much ski and you might want to cool it on the tiny-wiener energy.
8. You met someone new.
Did you go gangbusters at the local demo days and find your next great ski? Perhaps you were so inspired by the top picks in our winter gear guide that you can’t resist the “buy now” button. That’s totally legit—there’s a lot to be excited about. Over the last several years, skis have gotten lighter, smarter, and even more versatile. Meanwhile, we’ve dealt with pandemics, the demise of American democracy, and climate change, so if you just want to treat yourself to something nice — there really is nothing better than unwrapping a brand-new set of dream sticks.