It seems simple enough. At the end of the season, throw your skis or board and boots in the garage and forget about them till next winter. Not so fast. Here are few tips to protect your investment and guarantee years of use from your winter gear.
Prepping Your Gear for Storage
“The condition in which you store your skis is just as important as where you store them,” says Geoff Curtis, vice president of marketing at Marker/Volkl. That means you should wash away dirt and debris and get them tuned and waxed. Curtis recommends washing grimy bindings with a plastic pot scrubber and mild detergent. Get an end-of-the season tune—the ski shops are empty this time of year—to take care of any pits or damage. And finally, wax the bases to keep them from drying out. Scrape all the wax off the edges or you run the risk of rust, due to moisture trapped below the surface.
If you do any spring skiing, you know your boots can get pretty muddy in the parking lots. That’s why it’s important to clean your boots too. Pull out your boot liners to make sure they dry out completely. Drying out your boots with a boot dryer is best, says MJ Carroll, K2 Skis product marketing manager. Avoid placing boots in front of a hot fireplace or heater, as that can cause the plastic to melt. Then, wipe down the shells with mild detergent and warm water. Finally, re-insert your liners and buckle the boots loosely.
Where to Store Skis, Boards and Boots
“Anyplace you store rice or pasta is great place to store your skis,” says Geoff Curtis. “You want to avoid excessive heat which can damage the adhesives in skis [and boards].” So, avoid hot garages or attics. Curtis recommends storing skis either on their sides or standing up. He cautions against using those old-school ski racks with dowel rods that can bend today’s rocker skis.
You don’t have to store skis with a strap at the tip and tail, but it’s not a bad idea. “When our World Cup skis go to the airport,” says Curtis, “they have lots of straps on them. It just gives them more protection.”
Boots should also be stored in a temperature-controlled location, like a basement. MJ Carroll also advises skiers to store boots in a bag to protect them from direct UV sunlight, dust, critters or spiders.
Taking these few extra steps will ensure your skis and boots stay in great shape for years to come. Instead of fighting the crowds at the ski shops pre-season, just pull out your gear and hit the slopes!
Photography by Angela Crampton – REI Employee.