How to Choose Your Used Skis?

You are looking for a pair of second-hand skis but don’t know how to go about it ? We’ll tell you how!

From the start, buying a pair of skis is never a simple matter. Then when you add the “second hand” factor, it becomes a real headache.

However, a few key points should guide your search for the perfect pair of skis and avoid any unpleasant surprises!

Here are the do’s and don’ts when looking for a pair of second-hand skis.

Warning: Before you jump into your search, you must ask yourself the right questions. For that, don’t hesitate to read our other tutorial on how to choose your skis.

Once you have the answer to all these questions, or almost, you will know what type of skier you are, and what type of ski you are looking for. Then you can finally start your research.

Who says used ski says ski that has already lived. So be careful, although some prices can be attractive, do not be fooled. Here is what you should and should not do in order to avoid any bad surprises.

  How to Choose Your Used Skis


Always have specific criteria in mind. When you look at a pair of skis, you need to keep in mind several questions and criteria (listed just below). These will allow you to know if it is a good deal or not.

This one should help you in your research and investigations, by proposing to you the current prices with regard to the state of the skis, in order not to fall in the traps of the unscrupulous salesmen.

Knowing who sells the ski: This may seem trivial but it is absolutely not. It is essential to know the seller: it should give you some clues on the condition of the ski and if it has already been used a lot.

Is it a mountain professional or a private individual? If it is a professional, is it a rental company, an instructor, a trainer, an athlete, a rescuer, etc?

And if it’s a private individual, is he a mountain lover or a neophyte… In short, the list is long but can strongly influence your choice.

Have they skied a lot? This is the first question to ask the seller. As explained above, there is a good chance that if the person selling the pair is a professional, that the skis have been skied a lot. Indeed, why would a ski rental company part with a great pair of skis?

The only reason is that the pair is too tired or too old… In any case, you will see when you inspect the pair if they have been used or not.

Are they damaged? For that, you just have to look at the condition of the two skis. Whether it is the top sheet, the sole, the bindings, the edges …

They must be in perfect condition or almost. You will see if a hole or a big damage is visible or if the ski has been repaired.

Here’s what to look at:

The top-sheet (the top part of the ski): If there are marks of experience: scratches, tearing, holes … in which case beware because it means that water can get in and kill the ski.

Some top-sheets are specially created to avoid bad aging: they are made of rough coating. This prevents scratches, holes and rips much more than shiny, smooth top-sheets.

However, you have to be careful because a rough top sheet that is a little scratched will certainly mean that the ski has been skied a lot, and on the contrary a shiny top sheet that is nickel or with a few scratches will be synonymous with very little skiing.

The sole: The sole is also a good indicator of wear of the ski. You should look for scratches or holes. Some holes can even reveal the structure of the ski. If this is the case, forget this pair, it is too fragile. It is also possible that the ski has been repaired recently. This can be seen with the eye thanks to the marks left by the candle.

Edges: You have to check that there are no big bumps and/or scratches (stone marks etc..). If the edges are a little too pronounced, you should be careful.

Also, the seller has been able to maintain his edges, however, if we see that marks are still visible on the edges, then it is that they will be impossible to recover. It is also possible that there are hardly any edges left on the ski because they have been overused and over-maintained.

Also look to see if the sole repairs are not too close to the edges or if there is an existing hole stuck to an edge.

This is a sign of fragility in the ski structure, but also in the edge. Take the opportunity to look at the edges of the ski. If a big shock is visible at this level, it suggests that the ski may open one of these four. So be vigilant on this point.

Bindings: You must also look at the condition and quality of the binding. If it is not too worn, if it is well marked or not. Also ask about the type of binding because often, in the “package” ski + binding, we often have the right to a ski not bad but sold with a binding not crazy. Find out more!

Check according to the specificity of the ski: As each type of ski has a specific characteristic, it will be necessary to check precisely certain points.

For example, if you want to buy a pair of racing skis, the edges must be in perfect condition. If you want a pair of freeride skis, you will have to check the sole and the different repairs if there were.

If it’s for a pair of touring skis, check that the binding is the right size for your boot so as not to re-pierce the ski (this will prevent water from seeping into the ski structure). In short, it is better to have a good look.


Buying old rental skis: So be careful, even if the prices may seem very interesting, do not be fooled!

Of course, there may be good skis for rent, but as explained above, if the ski was great, the store has no reason to part with it. The disadvantage of the rental ski is that it is often tired, even if it is well maintained.

After, not everything is to throw away. Indeed, the advantage is that some skis are no longer rented after thirty days because they are all scratched on the top sheet.

Customers don’t want them anymore, and yet, the rest of the ski (sole, no water inside, no shocks…) is perfect. It remains a good deal because the ski will not have skied much even if the aesthetics is not at the top.

Conversely, some manufacturers have made their top-sheet almost scratchproof (this often happens on all-mountain). In appearance, we can see a pair that looks almost new, and yet has already skied a lot (70 days or more) and therefore has some defects.

What counts is the inner beauty. So consider all aspects of the ski before buying from a rental company.

Buying skis that are too old: Skis also have an expiration date. Beyond 5 years, beware. Indeed, after 5 years, the skis must have skied well and have inevitably tired.

After that, we don’t say that beyond 5 years the pair is technically outdated.

Each year the skis improve and therefore, the more we go back in time, the more the skiability may be degraded with respect to technological developments such as the rocker to name one.

But this does not mean that the ski is bad, just that its skiability will be more dated. Thus, the construction of a ski is still valid in the 10 years following its release. After this stage, it is better to forget the ski.

Be careful, however, case by case. For example, a pair of freeride skis that is more than 5 years old can be a very good opportunity because it has not been skied a lot compared to a pair of versatile skis that would have the same age.

A ski that has not been skied a lot but is more than five years old will necessarily be in better condition than a ski from the previous season that has been used for a whole season.

Buying without having seen it in real life (unless it is a collector’s item): It is strictly forbidden to buy a pair of skis without having seen it.

Photos are often misleading! On the other hand, you can make contact via the internet. But it is absolutely necessary to go and see the pair before buying it. So as not to have a bad surprise.

Beware of too attractive offers! On the internet or elsewhere, we can see unbeatable prices very or too attractive on pairs of skis that look almost new. Beware of scams. It is necessary to be vigilant towards the site or the retailer. This is also why we ask you to check the condition of the ski yourself.


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