UHMW Polyethylene
Sand Slurry Test

For Plastic Skis, Steel Skis and Ski Skins


Standard Industry Hype

Snowmobile Magazine
Tech 101


5th paragraph

Let's start with a basic lesson on what makes plastic better than steel. First, plastic skis are made of Ultra High Molecular Weight (UHMW) plastics, a special, very durable plastic resistant to high impacts. UHMW plastic makes a much lighter ski than its steel counterparts. Plastic skis can easily knock up to 14 pounds off the dry weight of your sled...

The third advantage to plastic is its superior durability. The consensus among experts is that plastic skis should last twice as long as steel. Friction shortens the life of steel skis, while UHMW plastic not only resists most friction, it's also an incredibly tough and forgiving material. UHMW plastic is so strong it's cold resistant to minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each material listed below was rotated 24 hours @ 1750 r.p.m. in a 50/50 sand/water slurry.  The weight loss for each of the materials is relative to100 and so...

The lower the number... the better the abrasion resistance.


Abrasion Rating

  Carbon Steel 100
  High MW Polyethylene 44
  Nylon 31
  UHMW Polyethylene (Ski Savers) 15

This shows that UHMW (Ski Savers) outwears High MW 3:1

Plastic does slide great on snow. But, when direct pressure is applied, it cannot hold up.

 Material  Weight
 1" Steel Cube (left)  .1268 grams
 1" Plastic Cube (right)  .0156 grams
Weight Ratio: 1:8.1282 (plastic:metal)

The plastic cubes would have floated in the water/sand mix, and compressed on impact. The steel cube would have slammed against the walls of the container. Allowing the granules of sand to chip away at it's mass. Take a hacksaw to a steel ski and a plastic ski, if this does not make sense to you. I did it for you.

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