If you are like most, including yours truly, you came home from your last day of skiing last spring and thought, “Maybe there’s one more day? It can’t be the end of the season already, can it?” And then there wasn’t one more day. And your skiing and snowboarding stuff sat where you left it. And now it’s almost time for this season to start.
Here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready for your first day of the ski season.
1. Take inventory.
At the end of each ski day, I throw everything that I need into my big equipment bag. And it’s all still in there from 6 months ago.
If you have a bag like mine, the first thing to do is empty it and look for is any sign of nasty green or white fuzzy mold. If something was left wet when it went in the bag, chances are that it’s now green or white. You can try to clean it off with a heavy duty cleaner, but I would just throw it out.
Now, you’ll want to lay out everything from your bag and take an inventory. What do your goggles look like? Is the foam lining still intact? Your helmet should be fine but keep in mind that helmets have a lifespan of 5 years (and any impact means it needs immediate replacing). Gloves should be good too, but may need to be laid out flat. Any clothing should go in the wash if necessary.
2. Check your equipment.
Onto your skis/board, poles and boots.
Poles are pretty straightforward. Do you still have straps on top and baskets on the bottom? Are they straight? If not, you need new poles.
Boots are another story. I normally store my boots in plastic bags so they don’t dry out and get stiff. Before your first day, boots are great to try on and keep on while you sit on the couch and watch TV. Your boots and feet need to get use to each other again. There’s nothing worse than trying to wedge your feet into your boots on the first day of the season.
Your skis or board are yet another story. If you were on the slopes in late spring, chances are you ran over some dirt, sand and/or stones. Your edges and bases may need some urgent attention. It’s time to head to your favorite ski shop for a professional pre-season tune-up (base fix, edge sharpening, wax). Preparing your skis properly will allow your skis to run more consistently. It’s unsettling to have your skis behave differently from minute to minute as you go down the hill. It ruins your rhythm, destroys your confidence and messes up your run.
3. Get in shape.
Getting ready for the first day of the season is also about being physically ready. Skiing is tough on the entire body and takes stamina. As a Ski Patroller, I’ve got to be ready and up to speed right from the start. While I try to keep in shape all year long, I work out more through the fall to be ready for my patrol duties (lifting people up, handling rescue toboggans, etc.). My first shift will be a full day on the slopes. I know that I’ll be really beat after my first day if I don’t break it up a bit. I’ll ski for 2 hours and then take a break and repeat. You’ve got to pace yourself and work up to that first day. Better still, get out for some part days to increase your skiing stamina and regain your turning skills.
Getting ready for the first day of the season really gets you off on the right foot and sets you up for the whole season. Now get out there!