So, it’s coming to the time of year every skier or snowboarder dreads…the end of the season. Closing days at a lot of resorts have come and went. Backcountry stashes still remain, but are getting thinner and thinner. I know some of us are still hanging on to hope for a couple more rides, but reality says it’s almost time to pack it in for the year. Whenever that day arrives for you, we thought it would be good to provide helpful tips on how to tune and store your equipment for the off-season.
What’s this you say? Most of us just throw our gear in the garage covered in mud, gunk and possibly a little cerveza we had to celebrate our last run. Turns out, this is bad for your equipment. Who would have known, right? By following these simple tips below you will get more life out of your gear and it will be virtually ready to go when the first flakes fall next year.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness: Make sure to get all the dirt, salt and grime off your shred stick(s). The most effective way to do so will be using a garden hose and a towel. Spray down both sides and ensure there is nothing left behind. While you want to be thorough, be careful not to spray the bindings too much. Avoid forcing water into them. This can affect the binding lubricant. Also, don’t use any detergent or degreasers. Use a towel to dry any moisture left behind. Use a scraper to remove any leftover wax and finish the cleaning process by wiping the bottom with a citrus solvent. This will remove any of the gray or black goop stuck to the bottom of your ride.
Get edgy: The edges are very important. Make sure remove any obvious burrs or rust using an edge sharpening tool. This will save you work next season and stop additional rust from forming. If you want to go that extra mile head into to a local shop and have them do a base grind to take care of any damaged areas incurred during the winter.
Wax it baby: Act like it’s your first time. Get sloppy with it. Use an all-temperature or warm weather wax and lay it on thick. Normally, you would want to smooth it out for a nice even finish but not this time. Don’t scrape it. Leaving the wax on heavy and untouched will protect your gear from oxidization. Don’t forget to use a candle or ski wax and scrape it on the edge until they are fully covered. Rust can’t form if you protect the edges with wax.
Say goodbye (for now): When it comes to storage, you want to find a decent place to put your skis or snowboard. Avoid storing in places such as the garage, basement or shed. If possible gear is best stored when kept in a low moisture/ temperature controlled area out of sunlight. Place it in a neutral position with no pressure on the rocker or camber. If you don’t, they could begin to warp and lose the shape they were intended to have. This will cause problems for you in terms of riding and control.
Go that extra mile: Release tension on all straps and binding springs, so they don’t stay compressed all summer. Adjust skis binding 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. For snowboarders it’s a good idea to either loosen or remove the binding screws. This decreases the load on inserts and prevents dimpling of the base.
Give last year the boot: Often overlooked are the boots. This is one piece of your gear you definitely don’t want to neglect. If you’ve ever rented a pair or worn a boot that’s out of whack or doesn’t fit your foot, you understand what I’m talking about. Take out the liners and stuff a dryer sheet in there and one in the boot. These can get pretty stinky after long days of riding throughout the season. Lastly, inspect (replace if necessary) and loosen the laces/ buckle so the boots hold their shape. Store in a cool dry place and that’s all there is to it.
Like many of you, we don’t want to say goodbye to this season. It’s tough to do, but unfortunately it’s coming. When you finally pull the plug follow the storage guide above and when next year comes, you simply scrape and go!