For many of us, the season is wrapped up or just about to. Of course, there are some die-hards out there that will turn their attention to backcountry touring to get some corn skiing in. But for most normal skiers and snowboarders, it’s time to start thinking about other sports like mountain biking, paddle boarding, or even hiking. Before you start pulling out your summer gear, treat your winter stuff with a little bit of respect! Just remember, the worse shape you leave your gear in over the summer, the more it’ll cost you to fix next season. Here are a few steps to take before you throw that gear into the shed.
Summer Prep for Skis & Snowboards
Step 1: Wash off the gunk
Like a good spring deep cleaning of your house, this is your time of year to get your shred sticks in respectable shape. Normally, the last runs of the season end up covering your board/skis in dirt, lift grease, and other stuff you don’t want to know about. So, take a spray hose and douse your board/skis, making sure to remove any of that visible gunk. Be extra careful around the bindings because high backs and bolts typically have some lubricant on them and you don’t want to blast it away. Also, do NOT use degreasers or detergents on your equipment.
Step 2: Inspect the base and edges
Now that the decks are clean, it’s time to see what kind of shape your stuff is in. Before we even start looking at the overall condition, have you taken your board/skis into a shop to get your edges sharpened or even a full tune? If not, this is the perfect time of year to do it. There’s no rush AND they can spend that extra bit of time & love on your gear. If you’ve already had your board/skis serviced, nice work! Your edges are in tip top shape and you can skip to Step 4. But if not, let’s go to Step 3.
Step 3: Time to sharpen those edges
Flip your board/skis over and let’s take a close look at those edges. Here’s a couple quick tests to see if they’re sharp:
Test #1: Take the back of your finger nail and scrape across the edge
In multiple spots across the edge, especially near the bindings, scrape your finger nail against it. If a bit of your nail gets shave off then you know their in decent shape. If rather you just buffed your nail, they’re dull. Grab that edger, apply a bit of pressure and take long smooth strokes across the entire length until they feel sharp.
Test #2: Feel across the full length of the edge
When you glide your hand across the edges it should feel smooth and have no rust discoloration. If there are rough spots, it means you have a burr which can affect the way you carve. Pull out a deburring stone, making sure to keep it flat with the base & edge and remove those rough patches until it’s perfectly smooth.
Once you’ve done this, take a rag and wipe off any metal fillings you created. This is especially critical before you start waxing.
Step 4: Wax that base
During the winter months, you usually apply a single coat of wax and call it a day. This time of year put a little bit more effort into it.
Instead of using a citrus solvent to clean off the dirt, pollen and grime, you should do a Hot Scrape. A Hot Scrape is when you scrape the board/skis before the wax is 100% cooled.
- Grab that scraper and lightly scrape the base removing any dirt that might be lying on the top.
- Next grab a soft metal brush, made from a material like nylon, further removing any other dirt that is ground into the base. Quickly wipe the board/skis with a clean dry rag.
- Turn on the iron and use a CHEAP soft wax, heating the wax just enough so it’s melted on top of the board/skis. The wax should go from a hot, glossy looking liquid to a soft, still-warm solid phase with a matte finish. This will PULL the impurities right up to the surface. If you haven’t done this before, you’ll see an obvious discoloration where the dirt is suspended in the surface wax.
- Now, this is the KEY… DON’T let it cool down! Instead, grab the scraper and start removing as much wax as possible.
- It’s OK if you don’t do it perfect the first time. If you’ve never done this process before you might have to do it a couple times before the wax scrapes off clean.
Now that the base is actually clean, it’s time to put on the final wax. Instead of the soft wax we used for cleaning, it’s time grab the all-temperature wax and iron it on. Since your storing your gear for the summer, don’t scrape this wax. The extra layer of wax will keep your base from drying out over the summer.
Step 5: Remove the bindings
The final step is to remove the bindings from your board/skis. From personal experience, removing them over the summer is a HUGE plus that most people don’t even consider. The temperatures often fluctuate quite a bit and the continued tension of those bindings screwed in will cause your base to get ‘dimples’, leaving less than an ideal base surface.
Step 6: Release the stress
Like your body, you’re bindings can’t always be in a high state of tension. To relax things, release the tension on all straps and binding springs so they don’t stay compressed all summer. Adjust ski bindings to the lower end of the DIN but not completely. For alpine bindings, make sure the heel is in the ski position and close the toe pieces to lessen the load on the springs.
Step 7: Check those boots
With the board/skis and bindings in good shape, it’s now time to put a little attention into your boots. Take out the liners and stuff a dryer sheet into each one as well as in the boot itself. These dryer sheets will absorb all the funk from an entire season’s shredding. After a couple of days of drying out, throw away the dryer sheets and put the liners back in. Don’t forget to tighten your boots back up. This will make sure the liners and boots keep their shape for next year.
Step 8: Outerwear
The last and final step is to see how your coat and pants look. Are they in decent shape? Can they still repel water or are you more like a drowned rat on a wet snow day? If they don’t repel water or are just plain grimy from the season, go out and buy a tech-wash and water-proof agent. You can launder your gear right at home in your washer machine and revive your outwear for another season.
Like many of you, we don’t like saying goodbye to skiing & snowboarding, always trying to push our season to the limit. When it does end, be sure to follow the storage guidelines above so when next season comes around… Simply scrape, get dressed and go!