5/19/2021 End of Season Gear Maintenance
Some call it the end of ski season while others think of it as just a temporary warm weather delay. Either way, during this hot time of year, ski gear needs a little love and forethought before casually tossing into storage. Follow closely or else you may be in for quite the disappointment come fall. While we’ll gladly sell you replacement gear for the stuff you ruin over the summer, we’d muuuuch rather you save those avoidable costs and spend your money on a hut trip or build out your quiver of skis.
Clean, Dry, and Prep for Storage
Let’s be honest, if you’re anything like us, your baselayers are smelly, your pack is littered with empty food wrappers, and your buff is a nasty mix of sweat and sunscreen. Hey, that’s a sign of a great season right? Trust us, we’re not judging… unless you don’t do anything about it now.
First, wash those socks, layers, jackets, buffs, gloves, and pants before storing them. All of that grossness (dirt, sweat, food, beer) from the season needs to come out, otherwise, those garments won’t last nearly as long as they should. Find the right Nikwax and wash according to the instructions.
After that, ensure EVERYTHING is dry before storing away. Wet = rust, mold, bacteria, and very concerning odors. Some clothes can be thrown in the dryer while others need to airdry. Skimo Co’s master bootfitter, Eric Bunce, suggests taking out your boot liners and leaving them in the sun for a day or three. The heat will dry them and the UV light will zap any funk-inducing bacteria. Speaking of boots, be sure to buckle them completely for storage to keep their shape intact.
Next, treat your sticks to a healthy coat of storage wax since this will help protect the base from bumps and dings. Just remember to scrape off the wax before your first day next season. No, really, we’ve seen skin glue ruined when people forget to do this and end up peeling the wax off on the first skin rip.
Finally, take the batteries out of your beacon!! Corrosion from batteries can ruin this critical piece of gear. Besides, it’s always a good idea to start your season with a fresh set of batteries.
Much like penguins, ski gear prefers to stay in the cold weather that it was designed for. Throw your ski gear in a hot garage for the summer and we won’t be the least bit surprised if you pull it all out only to discover that your topsheet has delaminated and the skin glue is a sloppy mess. Ideal storage is a cool and dry climate-controlled space, such as a basement. However, any room temperature place without direct light or heat will work as well.
As for skins, the best place is actually the fridge or freezer! This keeps the glue in tiptop shape and will help them last a long time. Dry them out completely, stick them glue to glue, and place in a bag to protect them from your messy pints of ice cream. But if you don’t have space in there, just find another cool place for storage. Skin glue is especially sensitive to heat and will ruin quickly. Don’t heed our advice and you will pay the price - which is $19.95 for a tube of glue plus the unquantifiable cost of anguish when you start your season going through the sticky ordeal of regluing skins.
Once your gear is all cleaned and stored, it’s time to figure out what to do for the summer. To be honest, we’ve never really been great at this part. We suggest picking up a guidebook or two for summertime daydreaming or grabbing a pair of shoes and exploring new parts of your local mountains.
- Clean out your pack(s).
- Wash all layers and soft goods.
- Dry everything.
- Take batteries out of your beacon!
- Slap on storage wax.
- Buckle boots.
- Store all gear in a cool, dry place.
- Figure out how to pass the time until winter.
1. I always see "storage wax" - this is just normal ski wax, right? Just don't scrape it off?
2. Aside from temperature control, do I need to store my skins in any particular way? Day-to-day I fold the same skin to itself which leaves some glue exposed - will this be a problem over the summer?
Glue to glue definitely works and as long as it's in a bag or container to protect it from dirt, dog fur, dust bunnies, etc - it should be fine. If you want to go the extra mile, BD Cheat Sheets (https://skimo.co/black-diamond-skin-parts) are the absolute best for storage.