Do Dry Ski Slopes Damage Skis?


Dry ski slopes can be a great source of fun and practice for first-time and experienced skiers alike! Dry ski slopes do not have any snow, but instead create the feeling of skiing or snowboarding on snow using lots of small bristles.

Therefore, is it no surprise that lots of people have questions about the effect and potential damage these bristles could have to their skis.

Ski slopes can be a fantastic place to learn or practice, and the material used to make the slope itself is constantly being developed. Therefore, it can be a good idea to check the type of material at your dry ski slope of choice to see how new the slope is, and how much it might potentially damage your skis.

There is no need to avoid dry ski slopes at all though. Dry ski slopes can be perfect for practice and learning without the need to travel to indoor or real-life ski slopes! There are plenty of things you can do to protect your skis.

Waxes or even renting ski equipment at the slope can be great alternatives to possibly damaging your skis, so keep reading for everything you need to know!

Do Dry Ski Slopes Damage Skis?

Dry ski slopes can cause ski and snowboard edges to dull, and can cause some scratches to bases and waxes to wear out quickly. Special waxes designed for dry ski slopes can help to protect them. Improvements to the material used at dry ski slopes to decrease damage is constantly being developed.

Dry Ski Slopes

Dry ski slopes are indoor or outdoor slopes which do not have either real or artificial snow. Instead, they create the feel of skiing or snowboarding on snow with lots of small bristles, allowing you to glide and turn on the slope in a similar way to on real snow.

Are Dry Slopes Different to Indoor Ski Slopes?

Dry ski slopes differ from indoor ski slopes in a number of ways, namely that dry ski slopes do not consist of any real or artificial snow. Instead, they use small bristles to create the feel of snow when skiing or snowboarding.

Indoor ski slopes use snow machines to create their slope. These are indoors where the temperature can be kept at a constantly lower level in order to preserve this snow. Dry ski slopes have no need to control the temperature on the slope, and so can be found indoors or outdoors.

Dry Ski SlopeIndoor Ski Slope
LocationNormally outdoorsIndoors
Ground MaterialBristles Snow from snow machines
Equipment Renting AvailableYesYes
Features in dry and indoor ski slopes.

Material

The material used for dry ski slopes has changed over time, and is still improving in order to minimise damage to skis and snowboards. Traditional dry ski slope material consists of plastic bristles in diamond formations, but other materials are used such as carpet-like material with less large holes, and bristles at different heights.

Brush-like materials are also used, but damage to skis and snowboards caused by the friction generated on these surfaces led to the need for water to be sprayed on the slope to help lubricate surfaces.

Materials which reduce damage to skis and snowboards are constantly being developed and improved, with a level of friction closer to that of real snow and less need for water for lubrication.

Temperature

Dry ski slopes are often outdoors where the temperature and weather can differ depending on where they are. If the dry ski slope is indoors, temperatures do not need to be kept low as there is no snow at dry ski slopes (unlike indoor ski slopes). Therefore, indoor dry ski slopes can afford to be relatively warm.

This can affect the type of wax that is suitable to use on skis and snowboards if you plan to frequently use dry ski slopes. Depending on the location of the slope, if it is indoors or outdoors and the weather, a wax better suited to warmer conditions than a normal ski slope may be required.

This is also sometimes recommended due to the high amounts of friction created on a dry ski slope, leading to your skis or snowboard being exposed to warmth when this friction is created.

The Effect of Dry Ski Slopes on Skis and Snowboards

Ski Edges and Dry Ski Slopes

Similar to regular skiing on a slope at a resort, skiing at a dry ski slope can dull the edges of your skis. This can be accelerated by the brush materials causing greater friction and so wearing down the sharp edges of your skis or snowboard at a faster rate.

Ski and snowboard edges can be sharpened if the edges become dull. However, if this is done very frequently, it is possible that more and more of the metal that makes up the edges will be lost if they are constantly worn out.

Ski Bases and Dry Ski Slopes

The friction generated when travelling over the bristles of a dry ski slope has the potential to damage the base of skis.

This can happen by the rapid wearing out of the wax coasting on the base of skis. When this happens, scratches can appear on the ski or snowboard base.

Similarly, dry ski slopes that consist of metal wiring beneath the plastic bristles can occasionally catch the bases of your skis or snowboard, depending on the type of material used on the slope. This has the potential to cause more significant scratches to the bases if this occurs, sometimes needing more extensive repairs.

What can be Done?

Improved Dry Ski Slope Material

The material used to make dry ski slopes has changed over time, and is still improving in order to help to reduce the potential damage to skis and snowboards.

One way this is done is to improve the lubrication on the slope itself, reducing friction between the base of the ski/snowboard and the slope.

Hiring Gear

Another solution to potential damage to your own skis on dry ski slopes is to rent equipment at the slope itself. Most ski slopes will offer a rental service, where you are able to rent skis, snowboards, boots, poles, helmets and other equipment you might need.

If you have your own set of equipment and are merely wanting to protect your skis or snowboard, you can take along your own boots and have them fitted to a rented pair of skis and snowboard. This means you can still have the familiarity of your own boots, but without risking any damage to your skis or snowboard.

What Else Can You Do?

Ski wax can be applied to the bases of skis to help to protect and lubricate skis and snowboards from the friction generated on dry ski slopes.

Dry ski slopes can generate a significant amount of heat against your skis due to the friction between the slope material and your bases.

This means that waxes specifically designed for dry ski slopes, especially if you are travelling at higher speeds and carving, can help to protect your skis from damage and the wax from wearing out under these conditions. These waxes can also help to make sure your skis are lubricated while you are skiing.

To Conclude

To conclude, dry ski slopes can be a fantastic place to learn and to practice and improve your skills. However, friction in particular as well as the material itself has the potential to damage and wear down your skis or snowboard.

However, don’t worry, there is plenty you can do about this while making sure you still have great fun on the slopes! Hiring gear or using specific waxes to help preserve your ski or snowboard bases can be a great way to minimise damage, while giving you the best experience on the slope!

Rosie

I have been a keen skier for a number of years, skiing in different locations around the world, and have a real passion for snow sports. My favourite skiing resort is in Banff, Canada!

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