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Putting Your Skis to Bed for the Season Avoiding the No. 1 Enemy

By David Potter

Really, the best place to store skis — in my opinion — is in your living room, where they can be displayed for all to see, where you can stare at them lovingly as you wait for the first flakes to fall again.

That worked well when I was single. Of course, that all ended when I got married and my wife gently informed me that my skis would not be part of our living room décor. Unfortunately, there was no negotiating that.

So I had to find other places where my skis could safely rest. As a former ski tech and boot fitter (many moons ago), I did learn a thing or two about putting my skis to bed every season, and especially where not to put them. Skis are a big investment that should last you quite a few seasons (not 10 years, but that’s another article).

Do not store your expensive equipment in your garage (the garage is the WORST place), leaning up against a damp basement wall, in a shed and other places like that, especially where the tails are resting on damp concrete. And all concrete is damp.

The No. 1 enemy of skis in storage is moisture. Why? Because edges are made of steel and steel rusts, and because moisture can get into microscopic cracks in your skis, like between your bases and your edges, and will infiltrate any “wounds” you may have inflicted on your beauties. When moisture gets into your skis, delamination starts to occur. Delamination is the separation on the internal layers of your skis — and that’s bad.

One of the best places to store your skis is actually right under your bed. First off, you always know where your best friends are and your bedroom should provide a relatively moisture-free environment.

An interior hallway closet is another great place to store your skis. I keep mine in my utility room where the furnace keeps the room warm and dry. I also have a ski stand that comes in handy. You also could mount an inexpensive ski hanger on a wall.

Now that you’ve found a dry and protected place for your skis, you can just put them away, right? Wrong!

Just think about all the crap you’ve skied through during the season. All that stuff is still stuck to the edges and embedded in the wax. That’s assuming that you have been getting your skis waxed on a semi-regular basis. And, yes, you should be waxing your skis.

You could say I have quite a few ski tuning gadgets and I’ve been known to tune a few skis in my lifetime. Of course, my friends all know this and once the cold weather hits, they bribe and cajole me to tune their skis. When they bring me skis with rusted edges and gouges on the bottom, they already know the lecture is unavoidable. And it usually only happens once — maybe twice for the slower learners (and you know who you are).

At this point, I think I’ve managed to train my friends to bring me their skis now — before all the damage is done. The easiest way I’ve found is to host annual spring and fall ski “parties” at our house. Everyone brings their skis and a dish to pass and all the ski chores get done.

The spring party actually makes the fall one easier on the tuner, me.

The first thing to do is clean the bases. If you have done any spring skiing, your bases are now coated with a good layer of crud. I first clean the bases with a citrus-based cleaner. I know the ideal way is to use a soft wax followed by a warm scrape, but I like to repair any base gouges at this time and waxing the ski first makes this job a lot tougher.

The edges are touched up next, hopefully with just a diamond stone, but I use a file on the skis that don’t get as much TLC as they should.

The last thing I do is apply a soft wax with a warm scrape, followed by a traditional waxing. I also make sure the edges have a coating of wax on them to protect them from moisture.

If in doubt, you can’t go wrong by bringing your skis to one of the excellent ski shops in Ellicottville. By giving your skis some TLC now, they’ll be ready to ride when winter returns.

P.S. Boots need some TLC too. Make sure they are dry and buckled before your put them away.  Cleaning the outside doesn’t hurt either.

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