I'll admit it. If I was graded on how to store my ski gear in the off-season, I'd get a failing grade. In fact, it wasn't until a ski tech mentioned I should be loosely buckling my ski boots so they maintain their form when I'm not using them that I had a lightbulb moment. Hmm...maybe I should be doing more than cramming them in the corner of our garage.
Yes, the above visual is exactly where we used to keep our skis!
So, I asked some ski senseis about what you should be doing with your gear after we wrap up the season.
Do an overview. With kids, it seems they are constantly growing out of their ski gear. Assess where they're at with coats, ski pants, hats, long underwear, socks and all their equipment. Make a list and be on the lookout over the summer and fall for when the sales hit. Don't wait until the day before your first ski trip next year (spoken from experience). In fact, when I was at SIA (Ski Industries of America), I already scoped out the kid's ski jackets I want for the 2014/15 season. Tip: Be on the lookout for great brands like Obermeyer that have gear that grows with your child. After three years, my kids finally grew out of their jackets.
Wash everything. We had our final ski day of the season last week so when we got home, I washed all our jackets, pants, hats, neck gaitors, etc. Be sure to check all the pockets and also the tags for any special washing instructions. Read about how Maggie found out the hard way how NOT to wash your son's snowboard pants. I had packed everything safely away for the season...and then we had a late-season snow day and had to drag everything back out. But if you love the snow like we do, there are worse things than re-washing!
Check your ski edges. Rust is the mortal enemy of your skis and you should be wiping them down with a soft, dry cloth at the end of every ski day. Check your edges for rust before you put them away for the season. Take them to your local ski shop to do a base grind to fix any edge damage incurred during the ski season. Trust me, ski techs have a lot of downtime in the summer and a hot scrape is a great way to pull all the gunk out or your bases. If you'd like to do it yourself, use a stone to remove any rust from the edges.
Store your skis/board. This is where I failed. In the past, we stored all our ski gear in our garage, which gets mucho overheated in the summer and can lead to de-lamination by heating up the glue that binds all the layers together. Ideally, you want them in a temperature-controlled climate, which means your attic, garage, shed, etc. are out. Look for a cool, dry place like your finished basement, a closet or even your bedroom for those who are extra in love with their gear. Make sure they are in a neutral position with no pressure on either camber or rocker (meaning don't hang them by the tips).
Give your boots some love. I've been much nicer to my boots since my ah-ha moment. After each use, I pull the liners out and make sure everything is dry. Once they are, buckle them loosely so they maintain their shape.
Countdown. Once your gear is nicely stored, try to maintain some perspective during the long, hot summer. And starting couting down.
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