If you’re an avid skier like me, you look forward to the start of ski season – and dread the end of this ski season. When it’s late in the season and the snow is rapidly melting, the eternal optimist in you is thinking “maybe it’s not the last day”? You’ve left your skis and equipment bag in a corner hoping that there’s still another ski day out there. But that extra spring ski day may never come.
When next season comes, do you just grab your ski gear (from that same corner) and go? I hope not. Here’s what you should do right away:
1. Dry it out.
Whatever you do, don’t leave your equipment bag zipped up in the corner of your basement. Damp or wet clothing will smell and eventually grow mold. Pull everything out, clean your equipment and wash your stuff. Clean your gloves and wash your synthetic layers and facemasks. It’s ok to wash waterproof jackets and pants (and you should because dirt, sweat, etc. will degrade your clothing and the waterproofing).
2. Take inventory.
This is the time to take a good look at your equipment and clothing. It’s time to see what needs replacing – boots, jacket, sweaters, ski pants, goggles, gloves, socks, etc. Gloves wear out; goggles get scratched; clothing gets holes. Get a list together so that you can take advantage of end of season ski sales and pre-season ski swaps and replace what needs replacing at an off-season price.
Spring skiing usually means a thin snow base and potentially dirt and rocks. My skis definitely need a cleaning and a full tune-up (base fix, edge sharpening, wax). While you can certainly wait until the fall to get your skis tuned, why not take them in now? (if your ski shop is still open).
3. Pack your gear.
After drying it out and cleaning it up, my gear goes back in my open bag. I’ve made note of what I need to buy and I’ll add that later. Everything is in one spot and it’s ready to go again when the next season starts up.
Store your boots buckled (to help the plastic shell keep its shape) in a dry cool place. Don’t store your skis in a ski bag. If you didn’t get your skis tuned, apply an extra thick coat of wax yourself and secure your skis base to base in a cool dry place.
4. Plan for next season.
When one season comes to an end, I’m already looking forward to next season. And I’m thinking of a few key things. Am I in the market for a major equipment purchase? (New boots and/or skis from my “taking inventory”). If so, I want to do some research and look around before next winter. Perhaps wait until next winter to demo skis before buying.
The second thing – is it time to plan a ski trip to a world class ski area? (Whistler, Aspen, Stowe – or over to Europe – St. Moritz, Val D’Isere, Cortina d’ Ampezzo.) When one door closes, another one opens. Hey, next season is less than 8 months away. And who isn’t looking forward to their next time on the slopes?
See here for more tips on storing your gear in the off-season.
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