Field Repairs

| June 27, 2008

Field tuning ski gear is less than ideal, but often times necessary if you go on an extended trip with endless icy or gloppy conditions.  As with most expedition situations, inspiration is more important than perfection and the goal is to make due with what you have rather than packing extra gear.

Edges Sharpening
It is hard to believe until you try it, but those tiny little files on high-quality Multi-Tools do a passable job sharpening edges.

Wax Job
Skin wax also works as base wax if you rub it in.  Better yet, bring a block of regular warm weather wax and use that as skin wax.  It’s cheaper, multipurpose and works as well as “official” skin wax, which can be marginal depending on conditions.

Blown Binding Screws
Spare binding screws are the tiny cornerstone of a minimalist repair kit as they don’t weigh much and are virtually impossible to replicate in the field.  Loose screws can be tightened up by lining the stripped hole with tin foil, energy bar wrappers, chunks of a Space Blanket or any sort of tough, flexible film.  Steel wool works better yet if you happen to have it. The important part is to gently put the screw back in, as they are easily stripped.

 Blown bindings are a bummer.
For such little parts, binding screws can have a huge impact on your day.

Tail Delams
Tail delaminations are the beginning of the end for a ski and even delams fixed in a shop are dubious.  In the field, the best you can do is to slow the delamination process by crudely screwing it back together, or stitching it with wire.  Tail delaminations are best avoided from the start by not throwing your skis off of cliffs you are downclimbing, hucking them across rivers or ramming them too hard into the snow for anchors.

JB Weld
There is almost nothing in the ski world which can’t be fixed with JB Weld.  It acts as a burly epoxy and can also be lumped on, then filed into shape for recreating broken plastic parts.  It requires a clean, dry surface and roughly 24 hours of warm temperatures to cure, which makes it impractical for day tours, but it is ideal for any trip over a three days.

15% off a Leatherman XE6 Multi-Tool (with file, pliers and scissors) from


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Category: 02 Gear

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber, Mountain Unicycle rider and father of two very loud little girls.

Comments (3)

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  1. bob says:

    Andrew, I was wondering what goes into your repair kit? Daytrips vs Expeditions? Think it would be a good idea to pack one, and I was wondering what you brought?

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Bob – that is an excellent topic for a future posting. For Wasatch day trips, I carry almost nothing and my 1st Aid and repair kit is about the size of a wallet. For bigger trips I take a lot more of each. My personal thoughts on both1st Aid and repair is that necessity is the mother of invention – you can never carry enough stuff to cover all emergencies, but with some creative thinking, you can get by with almost nothing as well.

  3. bob says:

    Thanks, I totally agree with you – I’d be interested to see the post.

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