Remember spring? It was only a few months ago.
Maybe you were still skiing in April and May, or maybe your season had ended, but here at Liftopia, we offered you some advice, gently suggesting that you wax and tune your skis or snowboard and wash your winter clothing before heading to the beach.
Did you do it?
I didn’t either. So, like many of you, I’ll be playing catch up this fall. Here are some tips to help get your ski gear ready for the slopes this season.
If you wear a helmet, how old is it?
Even if you only ski or ride a few times each year, you should consider a replacement if you’ve used it for 3-5 seasons. This is because the foam and plastics in helmets become less effective with age. Even more importantly, if you fell hard on your head last season, or your helmet took any heavy impact, it’s time for new one.
Helmet more than five years old? Definitely time to go shopping.
Helmet less than five years old, but it’s for a kid less than 12 years of age? There’s a good chance junior has grown over the summer. Time to go shopping.
With a new helmet, often come new goggles.
Some goggles just don’t work with some helmets. When they fit right, the top of the goggles will align with the bottom of the helmet and there will be no gap. A snug fit not only optimizes ventilation and your line of sight, but also saves you from the dreaded “gaper gap.”
Other reasons to replace your goggles? If you had trouble with fogging last season, the lenses are scratched or if the elastic in the band and/or the foam around the eyes is deteriorating.
Skis and Bindings
If you didn’t wax your skis this past spring, your bases are definitely dry and thirsty. Take them in for a wax and a tune.
If your gear is old, you may find that your bindings have reached the point of no return and are no longer indemnifiable. That’s an insurance word that protects ski shops and techs from being sued if your ancient bindings fail to release and you break your leg.
Ski shops have a list of currently approved bindings. If your set is not on it, your shop may not be able to work on your skis.
As for your skis, time and use cause the materials in all skis to break down, so a good rule of thumb is to start looking for new skis (or a snowboard) after 80-100 days of use.
For some people, this is one season. For others, it could be 10 years. Changes in technology, your ability and, if you’re a kid, growth, will also dictate whether or not you need new boards.
Like everything, boots have a definite shelf life. Most people notice their boots “packing out” after 50 or 60 days of use. What this means is that with time, the boot liners deteriorate and you lose the tight, performance fit that facilitates efficient turning.
Another reason to get new boots? If you can’t get them dry or if they’ve gotten really stinky. Consistent use of a boot dryer at the end of each ski day will help prolong the life of your boots, but at some point, if you’ve got sweaty feet, they’re just too nasty.
Fall is a great time to score last-chance deals on all your ski or snowboard gear and clothing. Manufacturers have launched their new lines and retailers are desperately making room for the latest and greatest.
While many sales start before Labor Day, you can still find excellent deals online now, especially at sites like SierraTradingPost.com where you can find some steep discounts.
Example? My husband just scored a $150.00 ski helmet for $42.00. That leaves him with $108 to spend on lift tickets…or beer.
Have any other tips to add for folks who are getting their gear ready for the season? Let us know in the comments!