Preparing Your Ski Equipment for Use
As snow fills the mountains, it is that exciting time to again bring out your skis, boots and snowboards to glide down the winter wonderlands in absolute bliss. Hopefully, eight months ago, you properly stored and cleaned your ski equipment to prevent rust, mildew and spider infestations. Whether you did or not, you have a lot ahead of you to prepare your equipment for the season. Before you take out your equipment for a run down the hills, make sure that it is in tip top shape to prevent injury.
Skis & Boards
Clean your skis and boards with a wet washcloth and inspect them for damage. If anything is peeling, it may be necessary to repair the top sheets with epoxy to prevent further damage. If it is minor, you can razor the small imperfections off. Take your equipment into a ski shop for a tune up, including an edge and wax to ensure that you will have the best glide. If you have the proper equipment, you can do this yourself. Not only does powder coating make skis look cool, it can help skis become more water resistant, lengthening their life. Throughout the season, watch out for core shots (loose, bent or scratched edges that go all the way through the base material) and other damage that could make your skis dangerous. Always repair damage as soon as you can to ensure your safety.
Inspect boots for signs of rodents or bugs. Air out the boots by removing liners and footbeds and clean the plastic with a damp cloth. It is best to hand wash your liners in the sink with a little bit of gentle detergent. Depending on the manufacturer, you can toss the liners in the washer on a gentle cycle. Do not wash them with other clothes. Do not put them in the dryer, unless the label says that you can. Replace footbeds and liners and buckle the boots to help maintain the shape. You can try “boot juice” or febreze on your boots to make them smell a little better. Inspect the heel and toe for wear, and replace them if necessary. If your boots are beyond repair, buy a new pair.
Make sure that you wash your ski clothes regularly to ensure that they are functioning properly. Dirt can clog the microscopic pores that make ski wear waterproof, allowing water to soak through. Read the labels for cleaning instructions, and then begin to clean them. Empty all pockets, zip up all zippers, and close snaps and velcro to prevent snags while washing. Pretreat stains, and wash similar fabrics together. Do not place clothes in the dryer! Hang them to dry away from heat and sunshine. Wash down jackets carefully, following the manufacturer’s instructions and hand wash gloves.
45% of ski injuries were caused by bindings that did not properly release (either because they did not release at all, or they released too early). Every year, ensure that your bindings meet DIN specifications by taking them into a ski shop. They will readjust the bindings according to your weight, height, experience level, age, and booth length. As many of these can change per year, be sure to take them into a professional you trust. Over the course of a year, wear on your boots can cause how they interact with the bindings. If you do not properly adjust your bindings, you run a greater risk of injury. As tempting as it is, do not attempt to tighten bindings by yourself. Take them into a ski shop to ensure maximum safety.
Chances are, your back country climbing skins need some touch ups after being stored all winter. If you stuck them together glue-to-glue, pull them apart when they are cold to prevent the glue from ripping off. If they are dirty, wash them in cold water and hang them to dry. It may be necessary to wax your skins, to improve glide and to keep snow off of them while adventuring. If that is the case, attach your skins to your skis, and use the same wax that you use on your skis. Apply the wax in both directions, to make sure that the wax gets under the fibers as well, and wax just like you would your skis. When the wax is firm, instead of scraping off the wax, brush the skin with a coarse nylon brush.
If you want to vamp up your skis but not buy new ones, you can always powder coat them, as suggested here.