The time has come to trade in your goggles for sunglasses and skis/snowboards for mountain bikes, hiking boots, or wake boards. As you transition to warm weather sports, dropping your still-wet skis or snowboard on the floor of your garage, basement, or shed to dry out for the summer seems like the easiest thing to do. Wait – Stop!! Don’t do that! Carelessly stashing your skis or snowboard can lead to damage – everything from rust to broken bindings to misshaping the camber – problems that will put a damper on the start of next season’s plans.
Rather, there are a few things you can do now to ensure a smooth transition from storage to slope come November. Follow these six tips below and you’ll have your gear in tip-top shape, ready and waiting when the snow flies.
Don’t Let Summer Take Its Toll on Your Skis/Board
Clean Boards Keep Rust Away
Whether you ski or snowboard, rust is your biggest enemy – both during the winter season and while storing equipment over the summer. The best defense against rust is to clean your skis/boards and then store in a dry, temperature-controlled place free of salt, dirt, and grime with a fresh coat of wax.
Cleaning your skis/boards is best accomplished using a garden hose, soft bristle brush (for heavy, caked-on grime), and a towel. Dirt, mud, salt, and road grime can easily build up, especially due to boards being stowed on your car rack throughout the winter. Spray everything down thoroughly, trying not to force water into the bindings if possible. Avoid using degreasers or detergent, as they could affect the binding lubricant. Then, be sure to thoroughly wipe down your skis or snowboard with a dry cloth or towel.
TIP: Drying off your skis or board after every day on the mountain will help protect and maintain their edge all season long.
Check Your Edges and Visit a Tune Shop
Check your edges to see if you need to have them sharpened or at least remove the most obvious burrs to reduce the chances of rust and leave less work for yourself come next season. The start of spring is an ideal time to stop into select Christy Sports tune shops and have our experienced techs do a base grind, which will clean up the bases, sharpen the edges, repair any damage that may have incurred during the winter, and reset your edge bevel.
An end of season tune is the perfect way to store your equipment and be ready to go next winter. You’ll have a fresh coat of wax on your bases which will protect the edges from rusting and will be absorbed into the bases over the summer, making your bases more durable. If you are not tuning, at least apply a thin coat of wax on the edges to protect the metal from any moisture and rust. See next step.
Wax the Bases
You may either visit a tune shop to have this done or you can wax your bases yourself. If you are more of a DIY tuner, you’ll want to choose an all-temperature or a softer warm-weather wax to protect them from oxidation. First, clean off your bases, then use a diamond stone to remove any rust on the edges. Next, apply a nice, thick coat of either the all-temperature or warm weather wax to the bases.
TIP: Don’t scrape the wax – leave it on all summer long, and don’t be afraid to apply the wax generously. It serves as a protectant and will preserve the bases and prevent them from drying out. However, DON’T FORGET to scrape your skis before you hit the slopes. While this seems fairly obvious, it can happen and you don’t want to show up at the lifts with a much too heavy coat of wax on skis or boards on that first day of the season.
TIP: Tuning Tools and Supplies – Again, if you choose to do your own tuning and waxing, many of the tools and supplies you will need are still available on our website despite switching many of our stores over to patio furniture sales in the warmer months.
Inspect Your Bindings
For both skis and snowboards, you should visually inspect your bindings for discolored or cracked plastic, as well as the binding screws for “spinners” (loose or stripped screws) that need repair. These conditions can indicate a binding that is past its service life and may need to see a tune shop. Also, consider how many seasons you’ve been riding on your bindings. While there is no set rule for binding life, a binding used more than a few hundred days on the mountain or five seasons – whichever comes first – should be considered for replacement.
For ski bindings only, despite the traditional recommendation you may have heard for turning down the DIN settings for the summer, DON’T DO THIS! This was something that was recommended in the early 1960s and 70s, the theory being protecting the tension on the binding springs while not in use. Today’s ski bindings are designed to function properly without periodic adjustment and binding manufacturers now say there is no reason to adjust the binding tension. Once bindings are adjusted and tested, they don’t need to be cranked down and back up again from season to season. Doing so causes the springs to expand and not release the same.
Another reason to not adjust binding tension is the fact you may forget you did it and will likely release out of your bindings on the first run of next season. Not to mention, only a certified ski tech should be making any binding adjustments for you.
TIP: All that is really needed for bindings during summer storage is simply making sure they are clean.
Ideally, skis and snowboards should be stored upright in a cool, dry closet indoors. Garages, sheds, or basements are not ideal places to store ski/snowboard gear – unless it is a heated garage or a dry, heated shed or basement. All of these are prone to temperature and moisture fluctuations, which in turn, promote rust. On the flipside, skis and snowboards should NEVER be stored in a hot attic or other location where excessive heat could damage composite materials. Likewise, keep all gear out of direct sunlight.
Also, storing skis and snowboards in a neutral position without any pressure on either camber or rocker is preferable. In other
words, do not hang by the tips between two dowels or with the camber compressed by straps or ski brakes. Despite the design of many storage racks, hanging skis and boards from the tips is not recommended. It can change the camber (original shape) of the ski or snowboard.
Another DO NOT DO: Do not store your equipment in a ski/snowboard travel bag! Bags are often forgotten about after the season and not cleaned out. As a result, they trap moisture which, again, promotes rust and will deteriorate the bases and edges. If you must store them in a bag, clean thoroughly and completely unzip the bag for air circulation.
Wait for the Snow to Fall
When the lifts start turning next season, remember to scrape off the wax applied in the spring – brush and go if you used an all-temperature wax. If you used a softer, warm weather wax, scrape it off and re-wax for the current temperature.
If you follow these helpful tips you will save yourself time, work and hassle, and instead, have peace of mind for gearing up and hitting the slopes next winter. Until then . . . kick back, relax and enjoy the warmer weather!