Anticipation. For skiers, Fall is full of it. With Winter’s pending arrival, we constantly dig out gear, tinker with gadgets, find out what needs repairs, what needs replacing—all of this to pass the time until the snow flies.
One could argue boot preparations are the most important element of the process, and ensuring their well-being is paramount for an enjoyable and engaging winter season. We spoke with SCARPA shop ace Dave Maziarz about common wear-and-tear issues on ski boots, and the best ways to make sure your boots are ready when the snow flies.
What is the most common evidence of disrepair you see?
Sloppiness in the boot. Letting parts or hardware loosen can cause damage to the boot beyond just losing screws and buckles in the field.
What are the most significant signs of wear and tear to look for?
Most of our boots have plastic parts on them that also double as edge guards. These prevent the lower shell from getting damaged by ski edges. On our Tele boots (75mm and NTN), this part is the tongue. On our Alpine Touring and Freeride boots, they are usually the plastic straps on the boot that the lower buckles attach to. This is more important on the Tele boots because after the edge guard/tongue wears down, the ski edge will start to tear up the bellow of the boot and there is no way to repair a hole in the bellow. Depending on skiing style, width of ski, etc., these may need to be replaced anywhere from one season to four seasons. If someone is skiing hard, it is normal to see these parts wear out, so contact SCARPA for replacements.
What are the problems you see with liners?
Consumers attempting to mold liners themselves, sometimes via improper methods. If someone overheats a liner, rather than fluffing it up, the opposite will happen, and the liners will compress and get hard; this will also cause them to shrink and the liner will be useless. The only real maintenance I can think of is taking the liners out of the boots when you are done skiing and letting them dry out. If someone does this, they just need to make sure the liners are seated correctly in the boot when they put them back in, and then be sure to buckle the boot down. If the liner is not seated correctly in the boot, this could cause creases where you don’t want them or cause the liner to deform.
What can people do to keep their boots in the best working order?
If your boot is manufactured with screws rather than rivets, make sure the screws are tight before taking them out for the season. If any of the screws are loose, apply a drop of BLUE Loctite® to the screw threads, and re-insert back into the boot. Also, make sure the ski/walk mechanism is working; flex the cuff into the various ski/walk positions, and double check that there aren’t any problems inhibiting movement and that the mechanism itself locks and unlocks properly.
Can you talk about SCARPA and field repair options?
If the boot is manufactured with screws, and many parts on SCARPA boots are, almost everything on the boot can be repaired in the field with the proper Allen wrenches and parts. For these boots, all the relevant Allen wrenches should come with the boot upon purchase. They can also contact SCARPA for a BC field repair kit. These kits vary according to boot model and come with common hardware you’d need in the field, not the tools. If your boot is manufactured with rivets, there aren’t many field repair options unless you have a way to drill out the rivet. Most rivets on SCARPA boots can be replaced or repaired with a screw and nut combo. If the customer decides they want to go this route for easier field repair, they should use BLUE Loctite® on the screws.
Anything else to keep in mind?
As long as the customer keeps the shell (lower and cuff) in good condition, almost everything else on the boot can be repaired or replaced, including, but not limited to, powerstraps, buckles, tongues, hardware, straps, tour mechanisms and liners.