[Editor’s Note: We’ve published Don Burch’s article on storing gear in the past.  It’s an excellent reminder that a little care goes a long way.]

Hopefully your ski equipment has taken good care of you all winter. It’s time for you to return the favor. Some simple steps now can save you the frustration of rusty edges, musty clothing and mouse-invaded boots.

Are your skis still in the bag by the furnace where you left them after your last ski day? 
Credit: Mike Maginn

Skis: At the end of ski season, the bottoms of your skis will be dirty. This will especially be the case if you did a lot of spring skiing. With today’s black bases it may not be that noticeable. Back in the day when a lot of bases were white the grime was obvious. Before having your skis waxed and sharpened, you want to clean the bases with a gentle cleaner. If you wax dirty skis, you’re just going to embed dirt into the wax.

I wet my skis bases with a garden hose, spray on Simple Green, wipe them down with a rag and then thoroughly rinse everything off. While you’re at it, thoroughly rinse off the tops of your skis and bindings. I don’t recommend using cleansers on the tops, as these can interfere with the lubricants in your bindings.

Some people use commercially available ski base cleaners or Dawn dishwashing soap. Cleaning ski bases will dry them out so it’s imperative that you have them waxed afterwards and don’t let them sit all summer without a wax cover.

Racers and others who are demanding about their equipment will clean their bases using the hot scrape method. This involves hot waxing the skis and scraping the wax off before it cools. This process literally pulls the dirt off the ski. The process is repeated until the warm wax scrapes off clean. This method works, but it’s time consuming.

A good edge sharpening and hot wax will ready your skis for next season and prevent the edges from rusting.

Boots: It’s essential that your boots and liners be totally dry before storing them. I use a boot dryer after every day skiing and before storage. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend removing the liners in order to get the boots thoroughly dry. I know getting the liners in and out can be a pain. Warming your boots to make the plastic softer makes it much easier to deal with liners.

Store your boots in a place where mice can’t get them. A friend of mine stored his in a shed and in the Fall found them chewed on and full of things you’d wouldn’t want put your foot into.

Poles: These get the same attention as they did all winter, none.

Parkas and Ski Pants: At the end of the season, I wash my parka and ski pants in the washing machine with Nikwax TX.Direct® Wash-In. This is a product that cleans and restores water repellency and breathability, and I’ve been happy with the results. I’m not an expert on clothes washing so please go online to learn more and read the washing instructions listed on the label inside your garment.

Anyone else have equipment maintenance tips for the off-season?

6 Comments

  1. Marcia Maurycy says:

    Why have senior skier perks disappeared? Military active and retired, nurses, college students, young adults etc. exist but senior passes no longer. If skiing as a ‘senior’ they have been supporting the industry for most of their lives..not only for themselves but for generations of family. The few mountains that give free skiing to skiers over 90 seems like a joke..an insult to have to wait that long! C’mon Icon, Epic etc..give seniors a break.

  2. Cristina Staats says:

    Thank you for the advice.

  3. As for dry boots, after taking the liner out of the shell, removed the insole or custom insole, so the whole liner can dry. Pour the water out of the shells and pull the boot boards out. When everything is dry, reassemble, making sure the right parts and insoles go into the right shells. Then buckle them tight.

  4. Useful tips.
    Here are a couple more:
    – when selecting wax for the summer storage, it might be good to use a cold wax because it’s likely the temperatures will be cold when you first go skiing again.
    – if you live where is summer can be humid, probably a good idea to put some light oil on the metal ski edges so they don’t rust.
    – and for gosh sake‘s, don’t leave the skis standing on top of any damp surface in the basement or garden shed. I’ve seen many skis with rust on the bottom few inches of the ski edges.

  5. David Lawrence says:

    I back off the DIN screws in the bindings to zero to relieve spring tension. Just remember to write down your settings, piece of tape on the ski.

  6. I typically take my skis into REI for a binding check and lubricant, as well as, ski edges and waxing. Then I’m ready for when the snow gets here in Nov/Dec!

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