What Are Skis Made Of?

What Are Skis Made Of?
Skis were originally made from solid wood and it stayed that way until the early 1990s, when new technology meshed with new materials in the seemingly never-ending search for the perfect ski construction. Today, many other materials are used also.

Wood and Foam

These are the two primary materials now used for the core of a ski. Wood cores (more durable than foam) are composed of long vertical strips of laminated wood. These strips maintain their flexibility and give a lightweight material to layer other materials over.

Composites

The composite layers go above and below the wood or foam core. Fibers such as fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon or boron are layered in several directions for strength.

Plastic

Plastic is used for the ski base, sidewalls and tops of skis. Base sheeting is ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene plastic that absorbs wax well. P-tex or polyethylene is traditionally used on the tops of the skis where graphics are displayed.

Metal

The edges that are so important to carving turns on skis are made of steel runners and are attached to the base with epoxy. Aluminum or titanium may be used occasionally in an ultralight ski.

Rubber or Cork

Other materials act as shocks for skis, such as soft rubber or cork. They are sometimes inserted along the sidewalls to help absorb shock and enable better flex.

Epoxy

As mentioned above, epoxy is a key ingredient in skis. It is used to stick nearly everything together and bond the entire piece of gear. Epoxy is composed of resin and hardener, which is extra-strong when it when bonds and dries.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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