Whew, we did a ton of skiing up at Independence Pass this Memorial Day weekend. More to come but it is going fast. When the skiing gets too rough (this year probably in a week or so), we usually hang up our planks for about twelve weeks and enjoy summer. After eight months skiing, it’s good to let the body recover by doing some alternate sports. Hike a few fourteeners, do some rock climbing, bicycle, take a few strolls on the roller blades to keep the glisse nerves alive. Summerization of the body, if you will.
I also like to summerize my backcountry skiing gear — at least to some extent (limited by time and motivation). If you’ve got time, the ultimate storage routine for your alpine touring or tele rig would look something like this:
Tune, or at least wax. It’s said that the exposed plastic on your ski bases oxidizes if not protected with wax. I doubt that’s much of a factor for anyone but a World Cup racer shaving time like a neurosurgeon slicing brain tissue, but if you love your boards why not wax for summer storage? Rather than “storage wax,” just use whatever alpine wax you’d want for that first run when the season starts again, iron it out so the edges are covered to prevent rust, and don’t scrape till autumn.
Clean your ski tops of goop, magic marker writing, unwanted stickers, etc., (make room for a WildSnow.com sticker?) A bit of lacquer thinner on a paper towel works to remove magic marker. Use a heat gun or adhesive remover for stickers. If you want your planks to look newer, buff with some Armor All or other brand of bling fluid. Test any chemicals on a small area before sloshing the stuff on like an angry cleaning lady throwing mop water.
Flush skis and bindings with fresh water, air dry in the sun. Who knows what kind of chemistry has worked its way into your bindings, after a winter of road salt and groomer diesel residue.
Back off any binding compression springs under tension. In the case of Dynafit, only back off the lateral release, vertical adjustment doesn’t involve a spring that’s critical. With most other bindings back off both lateral and vertical release tension. (If you use low release settings, this step is probably unnecessary.)
If you own high mileage bindings and have the time and motivation, consider a binding tear-down, cleaning and re-lube. Don’t go too far with this. For example, all a Dynafit heel unit probably needs is the lateral release spring barrel, spring and thimble bushing removed, cleaned, lubed and replaced. More information about binding tear-downs and such is available in our different binding info pages (see menu to left).
Store skis in a dry, moderate temperature environment out of direct sunlight. Don’t strap tightly together, and don’t stow in a way that could cause a warp. If you’re like me and start doing all sorts of grungy workshop projects in summer, get your skis out of there so they don’t end up covered with gradoo like welding spatter or paint overspray — or at least cover them up! (Note to myself.)
Worrying about all this stuff is probably overkill, but skis and bindings are indeed expensive so a bit of care could save you money. I’d say the two most important storage items are the fresh water flush and storage in a way that doesn’t warp the skis or cause rust. Everything else is gravy.
Anyone else have ski “summerizing” ideas? Comments on.