As skiers trade skis and snowboards for mountain bikes and hiking boots, it's time to store all that snowsports gear. There is an art to properly storing and maintaining your equipment over the summer, from storage wax on the boards to buckling up your boots properly. When the snow starts to fly next season, you don't want to spend opening day catching your turns on rusty edges.
Follow these tips to prolong the life of your gear and make for a smooth transition next fall from flip flops back into your ski and snowboard boots.
1. Keep rust at bay: After the last day of skiing and riding, thoroughly wipe down your skis and snowboards with a dry cloth. In fact, if you do only one thing to maintain skis and snowboards throughout the season, it should be to dry off your boards after every day on the mountain. Rust is your enemy.
2. Spring is a great time to bring your boards to the ski shop for a stone-grind, which will clean up the bases, sharpen the edges, and reset your edge bevel. Do it in spring, and you'll be ready to go in the fall. The end of the season is a great time to take care of business because the tune shops aren't super busy. Most people bring their skis in at the sign of the first flurries in the fall.
3. Slather on the storage wax: If you're more of a DIY tuner, you should wax your skis to protect the bases during the off-season. Clean off your bases then use a stone to remove any rust on the edges. Apply a nice thick coat of a warm-temperature wax to the bases. Here's the key: Don't scrape it. Just leave it on all summer long. The wax will protect the bases and keep them from drying out. Tip: Don't forget to scrape your skis before you hit the slopes. (This seems fairly obvious, but I've shown up at the lift corral more than once with wax on my skis on that first day of the season.)
4. Store your boards in a dry place. A moist environment can promote rust. And the concrete of your garage can be a moist place. In a perfect world, your snowboards and skis would be propped upright in a nice dry closet indoors. Also, despite the design of many storage ski racks, don't hang skis from the tips. It can change the camber of the ski.
5. Thoroughly dry out ski and snowboard boots either by pulling out the liners or using a boot dryer.
6. Buckle or lace up your boots snugly for the summer. If you leave them hanging open, the boot material can take on a new shape and perhaps not fit properly next season. Store boots in a cool dry place.
7. Don't turn down the DIN on your bindings: You may have heard recommendations for turning down your bindings' DIN settings for the summer, in theory to protect the tension on the bindings springs. Today's binding makers say there's no reason to turn them down. Firstly, you'll forget you did it, and you'll likely release out of your bindings on the first run next season. Secondly, today's bindings are designed to function properly without periodic adjustment. Once bindings are adjusted and tested, they don't need to be cranked down and back up again from season to season. Plus, a certified binding tech should be doing any binding adjustments.