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Maintain Ski Gear: Patch Ski Poles and Ski Boots

Don’t let a split ski pole shaft or broken boots ruin your balance.

PATCH YOUR POLES

>> Splint

If a section breaks, stability is gone. Splint it like you would a bone: Place a branch, tent stake, or tent pole sleeve lengthwise and flush with the pole, extending past the fracture on both sides. Secure it above and below the broken joint with duct tape.

>> Improvise a basket.
Without a basket, poles sink into deep snow, leaving you unable to push across flats, climb steeps, or brace for balance. Carry a spare or improvise a basket with card- board. (Brought a box of wine? Perfect.) Cut a 4 x 4-inch square of material, then trim it to approximate your remaining basket’s shape and diameter. Cut a small X in its center, thread the replacement piece onto (and a few inches above) the tip, and secure it with duct tape.

>> Mend a bend.
If an impact warps your pole’s shaft, wait until you’re in the frontcountry to fix it—rebending further weakens the materials, and if your pole is brittle (because of extreme cold) you risk breaking it. If the shaft’s lower, telescoping portion is crooked and preventing an adjustment, you may be able to leverage it back into place. If possible, do it in a warm place (like a hut), so it’s less apt to snap.

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DOCTOR BROKEN BOOTS
Field fixes for faulty footwear.

>> Improvise a strap. Broken power strap? You may not need it while ascending, but add stability on downhills by cinching a ski strap or two around the boot’s upper cuff.

>> Buckle up. Rivets and plastic parts make buckles hard to fix or replace on the fly. Use bailing wire or zip ties to hold things in place temporarily: Attach a loop to each side of the buckle, then cinch them together.

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