Before you trade in your skis and snowboards for the golf clubs and mountain bikes – Following our advice for stowing your equipment in the off season will ensure your gear is in the best shape for the next season. Check out our article on cleaning up your boots prior to storage.
Post season prep requires minimal supplies:
- Rags, shop towels or paper towels
- Citrus based cleaner
- White lithium spray lubricant
- Mid-temp ski wax
- Waxing iron
- Sharp wax scraper
Step 1: Workspace
Find yourself a decent area to work on your equipment, if you don’t have a bench dedicated to tuning your equipment, fold out a table, cover it and you’re all set. Gather up all your supplies and lay them out on your work surface. If you’re a skier, work on one ski at a time, it will make your life much easier and less hectic. Snowboarders, your job is already done.
Step 2: Clean
If you have been riding all season, the last thing you have been thinking about is cleaning your equipment. Most of us skiing and snowboarding in Michigan ride on a combination of manmade and natural snow, meaning your equipment comes into contact with things you never knew existed in the snow – We’re not talking sticks and rocks either, we’re talking oils and chemicals. Ever wonder why your skis/boards stick and slow down in the spring? It’s not because you need wax. The oils and chemicals can wreak havoc on your equipment, clogging up the pores in your bases and the last thing you want to do is store everything this way.
The first course of action is to wipe everything down with a mild citrus cleaner – this will act as a degreaser and clean off the oils and residue left from spring conditions. No need to use anything harsh here, Goo Gone is our preferred cleaner of choice. It’s not harmful, it’s readily available at most hardware stores and doesn’t cost as much as those pricey wax removers. Using your rag, apply a liberal amount of citrus cleaner and wipe down all surfaces of your ski or board – starting with the base and work your way around to the top sheet and don’t forget the bindings. You should see a bit of the oily residue on the rags, keep wiping the surfaces down until the majority of this disappears. This is a good time to wipe down boots, poles, etc.
Step 3: Wax on Wax Off
Taking a 2-part approach to waxing will remove even more of the oil that is embedded into your bases. The first step is to lay your ski/board facing base up, just as you would to wax it normally. From here, apply a normalamount of your mid-temp wax with your waxing iron, spreading the wax out evenly.
Working quickly while the wax is still hot, using a sharp scraper, scrape the wax off the entire ski/board. You should notice some additional oily residue showing up in the wax shavings – the oil hiding out in the structure of the ski/board.
Once you have all of the warm wax scraped off, it’s time to apply fresh wax for storage. This time apply a generous amount of the mid-temp wax, more than you would normally use to wax your equipment. Spread it out evenly, letting the wax flow over the sides of the edges – this will help protect them from corrosion in the off season. Let the ski/board cool to room temp. Do not scrape the bases, leave the wax on heavy. This will help to keep your bases hydrated, preventing dry-base during the off season.
Step 4: Ski Binding Lubrication
An often overlooked step by skiers. Unlike snowboard bindings with their somewhat simple ratcheting devices – ski bindings have a few more springs and things going on. In order to make them function properly next season – shoot a little white lithium spray grease around springs found on the heel of the binding. This is the area located just under where the heel of your boot clicks in. Put a couple shots of spray grease under there, cycle the binding by hand a couple of times and you should be all set.
Step 5: Storage Solutions
I’m sure many pieces of equipment get shoved in a dark corner somewhere, only to collect dust until next season. I’m not telling you to keep your skis/board up on a shelf, or behind glass doors, OK maybe I am. An optimal place to keep your equipment is in a location that has relatively low moisture and is away from anything that could bump or knock everything over. While I’m not a fan of storing equipment in garages, basements pull a close second to not so ideal locations. Typically the best place to store your equipment is on the main floor of your house, perhaps the laundry room, or a spare bedroom, even inside a coat closet. These are all much better locations than the garage or basement.
If you’re dealing with skis, place a couple of velcro ski wraps between the bases to keep them separated while in storage. For either skis or snowboards, you might consider placing them in a bag to keep the dust off of everything.
Taking these few extra steps at the end of the season means less work for you at the beginning of the next. Come next year, all you have to do is scrape your skis/boards and hit the snow.