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We all have a favorite pair of skis, and no matter how well we care for them, they will eventually have to be retired. Assuming that neither of us has access to the National Ski Hall of Fame, what else can be done with the old skis we no longer want to ride?
One of the upsides to the expensive nature of ski gear is that it is easy to resell, donate, trade, or recycle. If you fancy yourself a creative soul, it just so happens that there are tons of artistic ways to repurpose your old gear as well.
Donate, Swap, Or Resell Your Skis
If your skis are free of core shots, delamination, blown edges, and any other damage that would make them unrideable, then there is no reason that they can’t be sold again. Most local consignment shops, thrift stores, and pawn shops will help you sell your skis and give you a cut of the sale price.
Maybe you live in an area where skiing isn’t so popular, not to worry! There are tons of online marketplaces like Craigslist, Geartrade, and Facebook Marketplace that are great for selling used ski gear.
If you aren’t worried about making money back on your initial investment, there is no shortage of programs and places willing to take your old skis and give them to someone in need. A quick Google search will uncover dozens of programs, like ‘Gear Up, Give Back’, that fix up and donate used gear for those who otherwise might not be able to afford brand new expensive outdoor gear.
Can You Recycle Skis?
Yes, you can recycle skis, but not all recycling centers will accept them, so check with your local facility to make sure. You will have a better chance with recycling centers in larger cities and around ski towns.
Just because your old skis are so beaten up that no one wants to buy them doesn’t mean they are worthless and belong in the garbage. Taking your old skis to the local recycling center is a quick and easy option that is more environmentally friendly than throwing them in the nearest dumpster.
Repurpose The Skis Into Something New
Travel to any small ski town nestled in the mountains, and you will find that the locals love to repurpose their old skis into a plethora of different pieces of furniture, artwork, and other knickknacks. The list of creations you can make is nearly infinite, but there are a handful of easy-to-craft inventions that every lifelong ski enthusiast has at their home.
You may not know precisely what these chairs look like off the top of your head, but they are arguably the most popular creation for used skis. Adirondack chairs look fantastic, are comfortable to relax in, and can even be worth some money if you have a steady supply of old skis.
In my days as a rental shop manager, I constantly had to decommission and dispose of hundreds of pairs of skis every season. Most resorts can’t donate their old gear because of liability issues, so old gear has to be thrown away.
If you work at a resort, or better yet, in a rental shop, you might have access to the mountain of skis that get thrown away. Adirondack chairs made of skis sell for anywhere from $200-$1,200 on Etsy, that’s not a bad payday if you get your supplies for free.
The bindings are removed from the ski itself, then the bases can be cut to length and installed as the back, armrests, and seat of the chair. All you need is some scrap lumber to complete the frame of the chair, some screws, and a drill/impact driver to build your own furniture that has been inspired by the most fantastic sport on the planet.
Although they are better done separately, skiing and enjoying an alcoholic beverage have a history that is closely related. There are few better feelings than meeting up with all of your favorite powderhounds at the local bar to enjoy a drink and reminisce about the highlights of your day on the mountain.
In comes the shot ski, a retired ski without bindings that has holes drilled along its length which holds shot glasses. Grab your friends, a bottle of your favorite liquor, and enjoy as you all simultaneously imbibe!
It may not be the most technologically advanced piece of skiing equipment, but it is certainly one of the most fun. Remember to drink responsibly and save this piece of equipment for after your day of skiing is done, cheers!
A ski’s plank shape is similar to standard pieces of lumber, like a 2×4, making them great candidates for just about any construction project, especially fences. What they lack in structural integrity, they more than makeup for in aesthetics.
Skis can be lined up in a row to create a unique-looking privacy fence that stands out among boring wooden fences in your neighborhood and lets your neighbors know you are an avid ski enthusiast with great taste! If you can get your hands on a few hundred pairs of skis, you could even attempt to rival the three-story snow fence that Pat Harmon and the Juneau Bombers have constructed over the years at Eaglecrest Ski Area…
Skis can make a variety of different styles of clothing racks by simply removing the bindings and replacing them with hooks, perfect for hanging your ski clothing. Sleek horizontal racks are great for hanging smaller and lighter items like your hats, helmets, and base layers. Vertical racks are just as easy to construct and can hold heavier gear like your jacket, bibs, and backpack.
Who says that the fun has to end when you leave the resort? With just a pair of skis and some screws, you can bring the adrenaline-pumping fun home with you! A homemade sled won’t handle very well or look super stylish, but it will provide plenty of laughs for the modern thrill seeker. Using twin-tip skis to sled switch will certainly maximize your heart rate and the number of laughs from spectators.
Creating custom art exhibits out of old skis is a perfect way to fill some of that empty space on your walls, plus you can rightfully claim to be an artist on your resume. Simply crossing the skis in an “X”, using them as the borders for a picture, or creating a custom sculpture are just a few of the possibilities, your imagination is the only limitation of what you can create.
Table & Bench
Another simple way to repurpose your used skis is to inlay them into a table or bench. Very similar to the Adirondack chair blueprint, the bases of a few pairs of skis can be cleaned up and used as the flat surface on a coffee table or bench.
Bookshelves make perfect candidates for repurposing your skis into something decorative yet functional. Display your entire collection of leatherbound first editions to friends and family, or use this new creation to help the court and impress prospective significant others on your next hot date.
It’s no secret that skiers love to drink beer, but what about us powderhounds with a more refined palette? This is where the wine rack comes in, you can catch a buzz along with some compliments! Let your guests know that your taste has evolved since the days of drinking light beer out of a styrofoam cooler in the trunk of a Subaru.
Bring some much-needed light into your home during those long dark winter nights by fashioning your old skis into a handful of different lighting options. Everything from nightstand lamps to standalone floor lamps to chandeliers can be easily created with minimal electrical knowledge.
For most of us, the offseason is brutally long and tedious as we wait for the snow to start falling again. Until one of us invents the time machine, gardening is a great off-season hobby to stay mobile and pass the time, not to mention it yields healthy benefits during the fall harvest.
Skis make great building materials when it comes to gardening necessities like compost boxes, terraces, stakes, trellises, and retaining walls. Not only is this a great way to add some flare to your garden, but it is also environmentally friendly and much cheaper than spending unnecessary cash on lumber, concrete, and rebar at the hardware store.
Resell, Recycle, Or Repurpose?
At this point, it is glaringly apparent that throwing your used skis in the garbage is the least beneficial thing you can possibly do. The real question is whether it makes more sense to resell, recycle, or repurpose them into something new.
- Resell – Go this route if you are tight on cash and need a quick monetary infusion for other skiing-related expenses like new skis, a season pass, or repairs to your vehicle (assuming your old skis are actually worth anything).
- Recycle – Maybe you aren’t hurting for cash, your skis aren’t worth any money, and you just want to free up some space in your garage; drop your skis off at the local recycling center, fill that open space in your garage with some new skis, and pat yourself on the back for making an environmentally conscious decision.
- Repurpose – In my opinion, this option makes more sense than the other two. If you are exceptionally artsy, your creations can fetch you more than enough money for a brand-new pair of skis. If working with your hands isn’t your forte, you can keep your creations for yourself or gift them to your fellow skiing friends. Regardless of your repurposing skills, you are saving a pair of skis from the landfill, and mother nature applauds you for it.