BC boot repair

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Jurassien
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 10, 2022 12:12 pm
Location: Switzerland
Ski style: Nordic touring; Alpine touring
Favorite Skis: Too many!

BC boot repair

Post by Jurassien » Tue May 10, 2022 12:39 pm

Hi all,

I stumbled on this forum as a result of a Google search for “Repairing a BC ski boot” and decided to register and post – so this is part introductory post, part trip-report and part discussion on how to prepare for a BC boot failure in the field.

On a recent long-distance tour in the mountains of southern Norway I had the misfortune of having a BC boot de-laminate (sole separated from upper). What mitigated my bad luck was that I had only just left Sognefjellshytta and hadn’t even gone 100 meters when it happened, so I could return to the hut and consider my options without undue stress. My options were:
1) Repair the boot: Araldite was available, as was a powerful hair dryer.
2) Break off the tour: The road was cleared all the way up to Sognefjellshytta, so there was the possibility of getting down to the valley, taking the bus to Oslo and a flight back home.
3) Buy new boots: The nearest village in the valley is Lom, which has a sports shop. Otherwise the larger town of Otta is situated where the valley merges into the main Gudbrandsdalen.

I decided on the latter option, as an araldite repair seemed too unreliable for the remaining 168km (104 miles) to Finse, and I was reluctant to break off a tour which I already had to skip twice in 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid. A family very kindly offered me a lift down to Lom and even took me all the way to the door of the sports shop and came in to the shop with me to make sure I got what I needed. The shop had two boots in my size, both of the same brand as the defective boots (Alpina) and I chose the more robust model (Alaska BC).

I was lucky again, having spent the night in Lom, to get a lift back up to Sognefjellshytta the next morning. On arrival, I stepped into my skis and set off without further delay. The new boots, although exactly the same size as my two previous pairs of Alpinas, were not without their problems. My right foot is slightly broader than the left, but most boots stretch somewhat at the offending spot. These brand new ones didn’t – possibly as a result of the reinforcing rubber band which stretches around the boot. This made the remaining 168km through the Jotunheimen and Skarvheimen somewhat less than pleasurable, but at least I got there and finished the 340km (211 miles) MASSIV tour.

Although I also use the 3-pin 75mm system, I have no intention of ditching the NNN BC system, as I have several pairs of skis with the BC bindings. I can’t help but wonder how I would have dealt with the situation had the boots failed in a more inopportune place (the mountain cabins are spaced about 20 to 22km apart). With the 3-pin system, the duckbill is at least still clamped down in the binding mechanism, even if the soles start to part from the uppers, but with the BC system a similar boot failure is much more serious. I have had a 3-pin delaminate, but never a BC, so the experience shook me up a bit. I don’t use a pulk, so the idea of carrying an extra pair of boots is a non-starter.

This brings me to the final section of my epistle, namely how to prepare for a BC boot failure in the field – which materials to take along for a get-you-to-the-next-cabin repair or for a more fix-it-and-forget-it treatment. On inspecting the damaged boot in Sognefjellshytta, I was surprised to note that there didn’t appear to be any traces of adhesive on the bottom (plastic) surface of the upper nor on the top (inside) surface of the sole. In fact, it appeared that the two surfaces didn’t mate at all. This was due to the short overlap of the soft material of the upper creating a hollow space between upper and sole. I could be wrong on this, but it certainly looked like the only contact between upper and sole was the overlapping material itself. I always drill and mount the bindings myself, using araldite mixed with steel wool in the screw-holes, and on considering how to fix the damaged boot, I thought that coating both surfaces with araldite and then filling in the hollow space between them with steel wool which had been rolled in the araldite. Then again, while the araldite in the binding screw-holes is bombproof (I’ve never had a binding rip loose), I’m not certain if araldite/steel wool would hold up on surfaces where there is a lot of flexing. My repair kit (up until now) has included duct tape, zip-ties and 3mm dyneema. If I tour with 3-pins, I take a very short size 3 pozidriv screwdriver as well, in case the bindings rip out (although, as stated, they never have).

I present my case to the forum jury – in particular to those who have had to deal with such a situation and to those who understand something about the chemistry of adhesives and how they react to the materials used in BC ski boots. Please voice your opinions!

Jurassien

User avatar
telerat
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:09 am
Location: Middle of Norway
Ski style: Telemark, mountain and cross country skiing.
Favorite Skis: Any suitable for telemark or mountain skiing, with some sidecut for turning.
Favorite boots: Scarpa and Asolo

Re: BC boot repair

Post by telerat » Wed May 11, 2022 4:59 pm

Boots break. People have broken and torn 75mm soles:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=3252
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=184&start=20#p18485
Others have pulled the NNN-BC rod out of the shoe. Your failure mode sounds like something that can happen to both NNN-BC and Xplore, and perhaps also the molded 75mm boots. Perhaps a strap is the best solution and is something you should always bring. I'd use a more flexible glue than Araldite though to fix the shoes if they are out of warranty, but might go to a shoemaker to be sure or not trust the boots fully again.

A friend has Alpina Alaska 75mm and they where a bit to narrow so he had them blocked out at VPG I think. Good luck.



User avatar
Jurassien
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 10, 2022 12:12 pm
Location: Switzerland
Ski style: Nordic touring; Alpine touring
Favorite Skis: Too many!

Re: BC boot repair

Post by Jurassien » Thu May 12, 2022 10:50 am

@telerat
Your first link is the one I found on the Google search mentioned in my original post and which brought me to this forum. However, both the first and second links deal predominantly with 75mm and I haven’t found anything dealing in detail with how to do a field-repair on BC boots. You mentioned straps – I always carry 3 Arno straps (the ones with the metal buckles) for my skis. They are long enough to bind upper and sole together and that, possibly combined with duct tape and zip ties, might be enough to get me to the next cabin, but there is no way an improvised repair like that would have lasted for the remaining 168km of the tour (8 back-to-back days of mountain skiing). The damaged boot will never see a shoemaker, as I had to get back on tour as soon as possible. It ended its days in a rubbish container in Lom. I did squash the undamaged right boot into the rucksack just in case the pain in my right foot became unbearable, but it also got dumped at Fondsbu.
telerat wrote:
Wed May 11, 2022 4:59 pm
A friend has Alpina Alaska 75mm and they where a bit to narrow so he had them blocked out at VPG I think.
I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you have lost me there – I’ve no idea what VPG refers to.

Jurassien



User avatar
telerat
Posts: 82
Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:09 am
Location: Middle of Norway
Ski style: Telemark, mountain and cross country skiing.
Favorite Skis: Any suitable for telemark or mountain skiing, with some sidecut for turning.
Favorite boots: Scarpa and Asolo

Re: BC boot repair

Post by telerat » Thu May 12, 2022 3:48 pm

Jurassien wrote:
Thu May 12, 2022 10:50 am
telerat wrote:
Wed May 11, 2022 4:59 pm
A friend has Alpina Alaska 75mm and they where a bit to narrow so he had them blocked out at VPG I think.
I’m sorry, but I’m afraid you have lost me there – I’ve no idea what VPG refers to.
Sorry, I misread and though you where also from Norway. VPG refers to the physical and web-shop vpg.no in Oppdal, Norway. You may also find someone where you are that can block out the shoes. Good luck.



User avatar
Jurassien
Posts: 10
Joined: Tue May 10, 2022 12:12 pm
Location: Switzerland
Ski style: Nordic touring; Alpine touring
Favorite Skis: Too many!

Re: BC boot repair

Post by Jurassien » Thu May 12, 2022 4:25 pm

telerat wrote:
Thu May 12, 2022 3:48 pm
Sorry, I misread and though you where also from Norway. VPG refers to the physical and web-shop vpg.no in Oppdal, Norway. You may also find someone where you are that can block out the shoes. Good luck.
Ahh………good to know! I’ve been considering ways to extend the MASSIV tour and one of the schemes which are slowly hatching in my head is to start at Oppdal, so any info on people there who can deal with boot problems is very welcome.

I’ll be back in Norway next Easter, provided that the pestilence doesn’t raise its ugly head again and provided also that Vladimir doesn’t order his vodka-guzzling hordes to cross your northern frontier.

Jurassien



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