Like it or not, the curtain is coming down on the ski season. And judging from the recent temperatures, the end of the season could be arriving sooner than you would like.
But the end of the season should not include discarding your ski gear with little regard, and quickly moving on toward your warm-weather activities. Proper care of your ski equipment should never be ignored.
As any savvy skier understands, it’s important to protect your investment over the summer by keeping it clean and leaving it in good condition for next winter.
Here are some things to consider when stowing away your gear when the season has concluded.
Skis: Give your skis a tune up. It’s a good idea to have those nicks that invariably happen shaved off. If you don’t know how, take them to a reputable ski shop – it’s worth the small investment.
Wipe down your skis and definitely give them a good, thick coat of wax around the edges and bases. This will help prevent rust and dust.
Make an effort to store your skis or snowboard in a rack that holds them upright from the tails and avoid leaning them up against a wall, which can lead to dull edges and be susceptible to falling equipment. And store your skis or snowboard in a dry location — a good ski bag works best — away from high temperatures or a location that experiences temperature extremes.
Although some people say it’s unnecessary, most experts suggest loosening the ski binding springs with a screwdriver, both the toe and heel piece. This eases the tension and gives the springs a break. However, tape a note on the skis to remind yourself in the fall to reset the bindings to their proper setting.
Boots: Because most boot linings have a distinct odor after a long season, it’s a good idea to give them a thorough wash in the sink with a gentle detergent. An air freshener like Febreze is a good final touch.
Once it’s dry, push the soft lining back into the boot and make sure that the tongue lining doesn’t get caught between the lining and the shell.
Clean the outer shell and let it dry. Then buckle the boots and cover them with a plastic bag so no insects or mice (yes mice!) make a home in your boots that you won’t notice until the start of next ski season.
Clothing: Make sure to wash all your ski clothing — pants, parkas, long underwear, turtlenecks, socks — even if you think it’s not needed. Salt and dirt can cause both stains and damage the longer it remains on your clothing. Use a detergent that is meant for outdoor gear and this will avoid removing the waterproof coating. Once it’s dry, store all clothing in a bag or closet.
A ski jacket also can be cleaned (make sure to read the labels before doing anything). Unzip all zippers and remove everything from the pockets. Place the ski jacket into the washing machine and wash by itself in a gentle cycle with cold water. Hang jacket to dry or use the dryer’s lowest cycle.
You also can clean gloves (except leather ones) in a washing machine. Again, make sure to read the directions before cleaning. Use cold water and the gentle wash cycle. For leather gloves, purchase a leather cleaner.
Accessories: It’s best to store goggles back in the box they arrived in, but a hard plastic or metal case will do just fine. Wipe down with a soft eyeglass cloth for best results.
After wiping down your helmet thoroughly, store it in a location that isn’t humid. Ski poles need a good wiping as well. And for best results, store the poles in your ski equipment bag.
— Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at [email protected] Visit his winter website at www.tahoeskiworld.com