Follow me on this word picture like you’re following me riding down the mountain. You dash into some trees, hoping to find some fresh powder. You find it and are cruising right along, loving life, when all of a sudden you hit a small jump off a fallen tree you think is covered in snow. Your board catches on a small branch that is sticking up through the snow and you can hear the scrape.
You keep riding to the bottom of the hill and then take your board off to assess the damage. It’s not too serious, but you have gauge (or core shot) in the base of your board about 6 inches long. You finish the day as it hasn’t destroyed your board, but now you’re at home and need to take care and fix your board? What do you use? How do you fix it?
The answer is Ptex!
What is P-tex?
Ptex is simply a polyethylene base material that is used to fix skis or snowboards when they have gauges in their bases. It is actually a brand name for the polyethylene created by the European company International Mountain Sport. Other companies started making versions of polyethylene base materials under other trade names, but almost everyone refers to all of them as Ptex out of habit.
It typically is in about 8 inch long rods the size of a thick piece of licorice that you melt down using a lighter or match so the drops of polyethylene fill in the core shot or gauge on your board. It can also be in long rope or ribbon format. But more on that in the next section of how to make the necessary repairs to your board.
How to repair your board using Ptex
Although it is best fixed by a repair shop, here are the steps to fix it up yourself. (I like repairing my board if I can)
Step 1. Clean it up. You can use a citrus based cleaner or goo gone. Cut away hangnails and bulges in the base. Avoid slicing straight lines and blunt edges. Then clean up the scene by scraping out any rock pieces or loose material. Try to cut with the blade angled inward of the damaged area to create a lip for new base material to cling.
Step 2. Rough it up. Use sandpaper or a wire brush to rough up the damaged area and then wipe debris away with cloth and base cleaner. If the gauge is deeper than you thought and goes into the wood core you can apply a thin layer of epoxy, but don’t let it build up around the edges of the damaged area. Keep the board base up and let it cure.
Step 3. Take your Ptex and melt it letting the drips of material fall into the damaged areas on the base of the board. Melt it quickly and cleanly, overfilling the gauge a bit.
Step 4. Scrape it down. Take your plastic scraper and first push down on the gauge to let the Ptex do its thing and fill the hole. Hold for at least a minute or two and then scrape once it has cooled down to room temperature. If there is still a hole, repeat steps 3 and 4 until the bottom of your board is as smooth as a babies…you know what.
Costs to have the repairs done for you
The costs of getting the core shot fixed for you at a shop can vary based on the damage done. But I would guesstimate based on my research online and with personal experience of getting work done on my snowboard that you are looking at about $30-$50 for repairs. Might be less, could be more…again based on the size of the damage. I’ve had quite large holes in the bottom of my board that one shop quoted me over $200 to fix and others that quoted me $25 for the same issue.
I recommend getting a couple bids from different shops and then weigh your options. Maybe DIY is the way to go and maybe its not, but at least now you have the knowledge of how to take care of it yourself if you choose to do so!
Ptex reviews that I found
According to reviews on Amazon, most Ptex products get ratings of over 4, which makes sense. They work really well and get the job done for those minor scrapes and core shots your snowboard is going to receive from a hard days riding. Especially if you are doing early or late season riding when the snow levels may not be very deep yet.
Do keep in mind that if you get the clear Ptex sticks that it may not stay clear when you melt it down, so you may notice it looks kind of sooty and dirty once you melt it down and scrape it off. This should not matter though, since its the bottom of your board and you are getting it back to usable shape, even if that means sacrificing how the bottom of your board looks.
I actually couldn’t find any other products under polyethylene base material, so it looks like Ptex is your go to!
Good as new!
Once you complete your DIY repair, you are ready to hit the slopes again! And with a low cost for Ptex (typically under $10 for a set of three or four sticks) you can use the money it would have cost you to have a shop repair it for more lift tickets…or nachos and beer after a long days ride.
As I always say, give doing your own repairs a try. If you find you do not enjoy doing them or you are not impressed with your own work, you can always pay to have it done for you.
If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, feel free to contact me. Otherwise, I’ll see you out on the slopes!
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