Backcountry Ski Gear: 7 Tips for Summer Storage
WHENEVER you pull the plug on your backcountry ski season, taking good care of your ski gear and apparel for -- what may feel like an interminably long -- summer break is well worth the little effort it takes! There are just a few key things to do now so that you can jump back onto to the slopes with your gear and apparel ready and in peak performance for the snow that will fall again next winter.
Tip 1: Skis
After a lotta fun skiing in the backcountry, a bit of wear and tear on your skis is expected. So, treat them lovingly with a storage waxing after clearing them of any dirt or grime you happened to bring back with you from the slopes. (Universal wax works well for backcountry and AT skis.) While a hot, dry summer can be harsh on gear, a protective waxing snuggles into your skis’ bases to keep them from drying out and covers your metal edges to protect from the possibility of rusting. Simply leave this layer of wax on until the snow files again, when you be able to simply scrape it off before your next winter escapade.
It’s best to store your skis in a cool, dry place, away from any sunlight and without the brakes or any kind of straps pressing them together. Leaving the skis separated allows each ski to rest without any tension against the camber and rocker. Over the long term, this will help preserve the ski’s design and construction.
Tip 2: Bindings
For touring bindings with springs, reduce the release value to the lowest setting to maximize the life of the binding. (And make a note to yourself to reset them before you go out next season!)
For your tech toe, there’s a tech piece specifically made to reduce the tension in the bindings’ springs that you can just snap on.
Give your bindings a solid cleaning with a small brush (a tooth brush works well) or an air compressor (should you have one) to free the binding of any grunge or muck in its crevices. And, as stated before, make sure they are dry before you put them away for summer.
Tip 3: Boots
Check your boots for wear and tear (e.g., heel/toe inserts, buckles, etc.), and then give them a good cleaning with a damp cloth and your old, trusty tooth brush. Take out your liners and insoles to make sure they are dry. Consider spraying the inside of your boots and the liners with a shoe spray disinfectant. When everything is dry, put the liners and insoles back inside and loosely buckle the boot up with the plastic tongue and cuff positioned properly so you maintain the original shape of your boots. Both fortunately and unfortunately, plastic has memory and you want to make only good memories for next season!
Tip 4: Skins
So, skins can be a slightly sticky subject but it’s worth your attention now. Generally, the less you mess with the glue on your skins, the better. However, take a tweezer and remove foreign materials that have made their home on your skins. Then, apply your skin savers. If any glue or sap is sticking to the “hair” fibers, remove that. Check on the tail and tip to see if they’re in good condition and the clips aren’t cracked. If so, you can get replacements parts now.
As with your other equipment, skins are best stored in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight, and if possible, laid out flat or hung from the tips or tails without folding them over, and thereby creating creases. (We’ve seen creases in the skins persist after they’ve been stored folded over and can potentially be a place where snow can sneak in once you’re in the skin tracks again.)
Tip 5: Poles
Clean any muck or grunge from any flick locks or twist locks, while making sure the locking mechanisms are working well. Once again, make sure they’re dry before storing in a dry place.
Tip 6: Avalanche Safety Gear
Before storing your gear for the summer, inspect and test all gear to ensure its working properly and ready to go for next season.
REMEMBER to take the batteries out of your beacon for summer storage. Also, check now (and regularly) with your beacon manufacturer’s website for any information or notices about your beacon’s operation (e.g. firmware updates or device safety checks) and follow their instructions.
We’ve probably all seen corrosion happen and ruin the operation of our electronic devices. (Never storing devices with the batteries left in place is any easy way to prevent this from happening.) If you find you’ve already suffered from some corrosion, try cleaning it off with a Q-tip and rubbing alcohol (Coke works too!) Be sure to test it again to make sure there’s no problem with its proper operation. The same would apply to any other electronic devices you might use.
With your probe, inspect the pull wire/lock and the junctions between each section looking for any fraying of the cable, splitting or broken pieces.
With your shovel, check for each spring pin and ensure they fit in all of the holes.
Store all of this gear in a cool, dark place away from any direct heat sources, sunlight, or from any place where they could be contaminated by harsh substances.
Tip 7: Clothing
After playing hard all season long, consider a good tech wash, such as Nikwax TechWash/Direct, for your shells to revive their breathability and reactivate their DWR protection. (Remember: A waterproof shell that wets out is not breathable.)
Your favorite down puffy will continue to give you the much needed warmth you demand with just a little care and a nice down tech wash to restore its max loft. Consider Nikwax DownWash.
While wool clothing, hats and socks don’t need washing as often as other apparel because it’s naturally antimicrobial, eventually you will want to wash them using a neutral, mild detergent in cold water on the delicate cycle in your washing machine. While some pieces may be tumbled dry, all wool apparel can be laid out flat and air-dried.
Good for you for your interest in taking care of your favorite gear and apparel. There’s no time like the present to do just a few things to ensure your ski kit will keep performing at its best for a long time!
Just imagine now how impressed you will be with yourself - grinning from ear to ear - when next ski season you are out the door before you know it and ready to get into the backcountry because you made this investment right NOW!!! Hey, let us know how you did; we know you’ll impress us!
Plus, if you’re like us, we know you’ll be doing a snow dance every day all summer long!
If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 719 633 0732 or visit us at the Chalet's SHRED SHED and bring any questions have!