When the last lift ride is complete and spring flowers are making their first appearance, it's time for most of us to hang up our skis and move on to our other sports. While we relish the longer days and warmer temps, especially after a long, cold winter like this one don’t tuck that gear away too quickly. A few moments of care for your gear can make your start to next season that much better!
- Check your skis over and see if they need a tune. Why not start next season with a fresh tune? Make sure your edges are sharp and bases are smooth so you are ready to go whenever the snow flies next year. Don’t be stuck needing a tune at the last minute when the lifts start turning. Also, storing skis with a conditioning coat of wax-or even better a storage wax- is great for keeping them from drying out in our super dry Colorado climate. If you live in a more humid area, the storage wax can protect the edges from rusting.
- Wash your gear. This is probably a no brainer for most people but sometimes we get nervous about washing technical apparel. Purchasing a detergent like Nikwax that is specifically formulated for waterproof clothing will not only clean the garment but also refresh it's water repellency. Always check the individual items care instructions but most outerwear is best to washed at home in your own washing machine. Dry cleaning is actually not good for these fabrics as the chemicals can destroy the waterproofing. Also, yes..throw that stuff in the dryer..on low.. The heat helps the fabric shrink it's pores together for renewed waterproofness. Oh, and skip the fabric softener- the stuff that makes your street clothes feel soft is sort of a waxy substance that can block up pores on technical fabric impeding its ability to breathe properly.
- Buckle your boots. When stowing those boots for the season, make sure you loosley buckle all the buckles and close the power straps. Boot cuffs are molded from flat plastic and if left unbuckled the plastic wants to try to return to its original shape, making it a struggle to buckle when you hit the hill next year. Make it easy on yourself and store them ready to go. Boot plastics have come a long way so they are not as temperature sensitive as they used to be but it's still a good idea not to store them in a place the experiences large swings in temps such as uninsulated attics. Also, do not store somewhere they get direct sunlight. If you use boot heaters- drain the batteries completely before storing for the summer and do a full charge (ideally overnight) before you break them out for the first time next year.
If you do these 3 things we can guarantee you will hit the ground running when it's time to head back to the hill next season. Until then, grab your running shoes, mountain bike, kayak paddle or whatever warm weather activity you use to fill your days until the snow returns next year and enjoy the summer to come!