We tend to get lazy at the end of the ski season. Weather shifts the parameters of our imagination, and our gear gets neglected as the stoke for fresh turns gets replaced with other enthusiasms. Sure, there is still spring skiing, and it’s a total blast. But unless conditions are ripe for the picking, we find ourselves sizing up trail conditions more than corn cycles. Invariably our skis go bye-bye for the summer, and are long forgotten till snow flies again in the fall.
And as our attentions switch, our skis become lost in the garage where they dry out and wallow in potential disrepair. If left unattended, slow acting breakdown does the most to shorten the lifespan of your skis. But it shouldn’t be that way. And it’s easy to keep your skis ready to rip over the course of the off months. There’s a mantra that suggests, “The best way to get back into shape is to never get out of shape”. Well, the same can be said of your skis. If you’re vigilant about the working conditions of your skis—if you take care of them all winter and prepare them for spring—you won’t be going to drastic actions to bring them out of hibernation each fall.
The number one maintenance consideration for ski longevity is waxing. Most rental shops slather their fleets in wax (and don’t scrape) to prepare them for the extended summer break. Dried out bases can crack and lose their ability to receive and absorb wax, shortening their ability to perform at the full potential. Be sure to use base cleaner prior to waxing. Snow contains a lot of dirt particles, and chairlifts leak oil and other industrial fluids that can shorten your ski bases’ lifespan if never cleaned.
Other things that you should consider before retiring those skis for the off-season are addressing core shots, and larger blemishes to your bases and edges. Rust can build on the edges, but rust comes off (usually when you ski), or when you get that first tune and at the beginning of the season. But why pay for a full major tune in the fall when you can do these few simple steps to maintain your skis over the break? For summer storage some diligent skiers even like to apply a light coating of oil on edges to prevent rust. Hey, it can’t hurt, and might help a lot.
Proactive is a word G3 likes. And G3 believes in being a step ahead. If you cover them with a good amount of wax, you’ve kept them in a relatively cool and dry place, and you’ve protected the edges, you’ll be the one killing it when that unexpected early season storm falls on your day off and you’re lapping up the goods with a clear conscience.