Sliding easily down the slopes, enjoying the ride…then suddenly you hear a scratching sound. Sounds familiar? The chances are your snowboard buddy got some brand new scratches. This is a common issue during snowboarding activities and you should not fret at all. So, do scratches on a snowboard really matter?
Scratches on a snowboard can be an issue, especially if they’re deep. If they are not taken care of, your snowboard can lose its flexibility and be harder to maneuver in snow. A good thing is that you can take some measures to repair the board and maintain it, so the risk of scratches is less.
That is why today we are talking about this common struggle of every snowboarder and some ways how to deal with the situation.
Table of Contents
A Snowboard Is the Base of Snowboarding
As trivial as this heading may sound, understand that the type of snowboard should be impacted by the style you plan to ride it. Choosing the best board (read the most resistant) does depend on the style.
- Freeriding covers riding in the deep snow, on the track, and outside of it. It provides the most variety.
- Freestyle snowboarding is based on snowpark entertainment like jumps, halfpipes, rails, etc.
- Touring or Backcountry are long and fast drives in the deep snow, combined with some mountain climbing. This style requires the most experience as the board will be used on different terrain and will be exposed to more elements, ergo to more scratch marks.
In case you are not able to decide what your style will be, it is mostly advisable for you to start with a freeriding board as it can cover all riding styles, and is the most resilient because of it.
A Secondhand Rookie Snowboard
Beginners that need to gain experience on the track, slope, and in the backcountry should not invest in expensive snowboards. It is a potentially ruined investment as the chances of you falling and scratching the board are pretty high and expected. Because of that, it is better to consider buying a second-hand snowboard that you will not regret destroying. It is perfect for practice, even if it has a few nicks and crannies.
People with little to no experience should have a shorter and wider board that goes up to shoulder length. It will provide the most stability and balance, and since it is second-hand, even if you do damage it, it will not eat you up as much.
Getting a used snowboard is additional security for beginner training. Because you know it will get scratched and damaged you won’t worry too much about how new equipment costs money. Distressing while learning is important as this is not an easy sport.
There are very few people that can know from the get-go what type of styče they prefer the most, and are they longboard speedy types or shortboard agility. Also, the size of the board depends on the height of the person. Also, depending on the setting of the bindings, whether they are in the middle for versatility, or on the side for free-styling.
Why Is Snowboard Maintenance Important?
The answer is quite simple, and it is because the fun on the track will be bigger. In simple turns, maintenance is important because:
- It takes less strength, and the risk of injury is lessened. Professional drilling of holes will ensure uncompromised adhesion even in freezing conditions. Which will save strength and increase security, creating a sensation you will never want to give up again.
- Simpler curves and descend
The optimum sanding of the base will ensure perfect curves and descends with all types of snowy weather.
Regular maintenance combined with a few safety precautions will always have your snowboard prepared and ready. Remember to clean and dry the base every day when you are in the snow, use board wax for protection, after you see any damage fix them right away (don’t use the board in the meantime, and store your snowboard in a cold and dry area.
When Would You Consider Taking It to a Service?
The frequency of the service depends on the snow conditions, terrain and your knowledge. Any larger damage to the base or bindings should be immediately assessed, as they may jeopardize your safety. The best time to go get service is:
- Right before the season
- After a few days (approximately 4 you’ve spent on the track)
- At the end of the season
There are a few indicators that should alarm you to go get your snowboard to a professional. For example, if you are not able to make a curving on an icy track, or you have too little speed on flat tracks, or you feel a tremor, it is highly recommended to take your board to a professional. Proper service and a thick layer of wax at the end of the season is the best way to preserve it until the next season.
What Happens During a Snowboard Service?
Having a top service means that the people who specialize in their maintenance will be able to adapt the equipment to your level of expertise. Explain to them what your style is and what types of tracks do you most enjoy. With this information, they will be able to service the snowboard according to your needs. The complete service can be presented in five steps (but it does not mean that you can do it on your own and that you can be as good as someone who is an expert in the field!)
The expert will carefully examine all of the segments closely, the upper side, base, and edges. Wiping them down to remove the dirt and thoroughly cleaning it will reveal to which extent has the surface been damaged.
#2 Fixing the Base
Any damage like nicks and bumps are filled with the material to fix the base.
#3 Sanding the Base
The entire base is sanded down with stone and restricted. This will provide a bigger absorption of wax. The structure formed during this process is the best method to prevent friction and moist absorption between the base and the snow.
The result is that your snowboard will glide smoother (but keep in mind that different temperatures and terrain require different structures.
#4 Sanding the Edges
This is always performed from 0 to 2 degrees with a specialized disk. It cannot be done at home.
The final step of every service is hot wax. It will impregnate the base, protecting it from any new damage and increasing the equipment efficiency on the snow. Regularly maintained snowboards will increase safety and pleasure on the track.
Experience Goes Tight With the Type of Damage
It would happen to the best snowboarders out there to tumble up, crash with someone, have any type of accident and scratch their board. The severity of the damage will impact whether or not that particular snowboard can be used in the future.
Learning about different snowboarding styles can impact your choice, especially if you are a beginner. Understanding the differences between styles and having a theoretical knowledge base will provide you with more security.
Which Snowboard Material Is More Scratch Resistant?
Different base materials can indeed be tougher. There are two types of materials, and they can have a bit of different scratch and damage resistance. Two versions of polyethylene (PE) are used for snowboard bases.
- Extruded. These bases are cheaper, require low maintenance, and you can pretty easily repair them. But, they can occasionally be more vulnerable to warping.
- Sintered. These ones are stronger, faster, lighter, and more durable. But, they are often very expensive and need some waxing.
Note: Be aware that any type of base material can be scratched. So, don’t bother too much about that fact. Opt to find the best snowboard for you based on many other factors.
Do Scratches On Snowboard Matter?
A scratched snowboard can affect your riding. If the scratches are light, cat-like, they will be less of a problem. But, if you deal with some deep cuts on your board, you should do something about it.
The possible solution for this issue is regular waxing. So, try to wax your board buddy often, to lessen the terrain impact on it. But, if the scratches are serious, you will need to fill the board with some P-Tex. That is a kind of plastic material that when melted can be poured into deep marks on your board.
How to Know If You Can DIY
There are a few things to consider so you can decide whether you can repair your board by yourself, or it’s time to take it to a professional. So, take a look at some of them.
- If the scratches are not deep and do not touch the board edge, you can possibly repair them yourself.
- Having some serious gauge that touches the core or edge of the snowboard, needs a ski shop and a professional to do the job.
- Scratches that are less than 0.5mm deep can be ignored.
- If your snowboard base has been scratched and fixed many times, it’s best to take it to a professional. That way they can stone-grind the board. A grind will flatten and smooth the board base, and pattern it for more speed.
Base Repair Tools
Before any base repair activity, you will need the following tools.
- Clean towels
- Snowboard holder
- Rubbing alcohol
- Metal scraper
- Propane torch (house candle will also work)
- Wire brush
- Base cleaner
How to Prepare the Snowboard Base For Repair
If you’ve decided you can fix your snowboard friend by yourself, you should prepare its base first. So, take a look at some steps to consider.
- Turn the snowboard base up and try to secure it in some handles, so it can stay in one place. If you don’t have anything to hold the base, try using stacks of books and support the board that way.
- It’s time to check out the damage. If you see loose strands of base material around the hole, try using a metal scraper and remove any extra material around the gouge. If you come across stubborn spots, you may need a razor blade.
- Clean up any dirt or debris you find. From tip to tail of the board.
- Clean the cut with some base cleaner, so you get rid of the dirt and wax. Always let the base cleaner dry fully.
- You should use alcohol and a clean towel to remove the residual base cleaner.
How to Repair Snowboard Base
Even though snowboard base scratches are inevitable, that doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed. So, take a look at the following tips, and learn how to treat different types of cuts in your board by yourself.
Shallow or superficial scratches are less than 1/2mm deep. And they are really hard to fill because P-Tex won’t stick well into them. A good thing is that you can minimize these cuts by removing some high spots with a sharp metal scraper, or with a single edge razor blade.
You can use some hot wax over that board area, and after that, you will hardly notice any damage. If you have more than one scratch on your board, you can opt for a stone grind. It can help remove shallow cuts and edge damage.
Deeper cuts, 1mm or more that still didn’t enter the board’s laminate layers can be fixed and filled with several methods. Lots of people opt for P-Tex to fill the base. This can work and fill the cuts evenly.
But, bear in mind that heat changes the P-Tex compounds, so the repaired part of the board will be softer than the rest of the base. Watch out which color you use, if you use any other than black, the repair may be visible.
If you want a long-lasting repair, try using a commercial P-Tex or a base repair tool. After you placed P-Tex on the cut, let it cool completely, you can trim the excess with a razor blade. Also, use a metal scraper to even out the area.
If you have deep cuts on your board, that means the laminate layers of the board are damaged, and you’ll need to fix that before filling the base. So, in order to prevent water to enter the wood core, you have to seal the core.
You can try some waterproof epoxy. Make sure to allow the epoxy to do its job before you continue. After you’ve finished repairing the laminate layer, you can move on to P-Tex repair. Be sure that the P-Tex you remove has the same shape as the new one you’re going to place.
You will need to glue this piece onto the material, not melt it. The rough side needs to face down when you apply the patch, and the epoxy has to cure fully.
Note: Some type of slow curing waterproof epoxy (24-hour marine grade) can be a better choice than a 5 minute epoxy from a hardware store.
After the patched area is done, you can wax it as soon as you remove the clamps. But, have in mind that you will seemingly need to grind and scrape, so the repaired part can be evened out with the rest of the base.
If your base has serious damage that often means its edge also needs some fixing. Board edges damaged by a rock’s impact can be very difficult to smooth out using a metal file.
The better option is to first remove burrs with a coarse diamond stone, and after that shape the edge and remove deep cuts with some conventional files. Have in mind that deep scratches in the edge are often best eliminated with an aggressive file and a file guide after the burns are removed.
How Long a Snowboard Can Last?
As you know, snowboarding is an extreme sport that is often done on some rough terrain. That means the toll on equipment is quite inevitable. So, logically every snowboarder wonders how long the gear is going to last.
The truth is, an average snowboard should have a lifespan somewhere between 150 and 200 days of riding. If you take care of your board pretty well and don’t push the base on every possible rock you bump into, you could have about 100 days of high-quality riding.
The other 50 days will not provide you the same quality ride, but they can be still fun. After that time you may notice some wear and tear, and that often starts with core issues and broken rails.
Do You Need to Wax a Brand New Snowboard?
Snowboards often come with some wax on. This will provide you with a thin wax coat, and you’ll probably be good to go for a day or two. But, if you’re going on a snowboarding trip, make sure to hot wax your snowboard at your local shop or to it by yourself.
Despite that, you will have to wax your board regularly, so always have some wax by your side.
Note: Bear in mind, the wax type depends on the snow temperature you’ll be riding. So, colder temperatures need a different kind of wax, than the warmer ones.
The Bottom Line
As you could see, scratches and cuts on your snowboard are inevitable. Of, course you should try not to push the board on some extremely rough terrains, but you should also relax and enjoy the ride.
Learning more about the importance of equipment for any type of sport is necessary if you want to completely experience a new sport. Learning about the specifics and trying them out will take some adjusting.
Because of this, it is recommended that beginners get second-hand snowboard, but according to the traits previously described. Having a good and comfortable fit will allow you to maximally utilize the adrenalin of snowboarding during your winter getaway. Learn how to maintain the board, what are the essentials you need to be aware of, and your daily maintenance routine will help you out in the future as well.
Take care of every piece of equipment and learn about how to maintain it on and off-season and a used snowboard can prepare you for the next season. Then you can plan to purchase some new fancy equipment and show up like a pro next season on the slopes.
In the end, it is safe to conclude that scratches will impact the performance of the board. Small marks will not impact it as much, but if you leave them unattended, the material can get even more damaged.
Waxing is a simple and regular routine that can prevent further damage even if you have an accident and make a few scratches on the go. By doing it every few days you will even fill the scratches with wax, as a type of first aid until the board is left for a professional touch-up.
On the other hand, bog scratches need to be refilled with p-tex, a type of plastic that comes either in sticks or granular to be melted into them. However, beginners may not have the required tools or experience, which is why it is best to take it to a service shop, pay for maintenance and tip the person doing it to share some of the secrets.