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So you’ve invested hundreds in a new pair of skis and you want to know how to keep good care of them, so they can give you many happy seasons of skiing.
The best place to store your skis and snowboards is inside at room temperature in a shaded, dry and ventilated room. Too much cold, sunlight exposure or dampness will degrade the materials flex and pop, decrease their lifespan and performance on the mountain.
Keep Skis Clean ✨
The first thing you’ll want to do when you put your skis or snowboard away for storage at the end of the ski trip or season is to clean them up. Although snow might look clean, it’s got plenty of particles of dirt that need wiping off.
If you’re skiing or snowboarding in slushy spring snow or have your gear expose to the elements on the drive back, then a good clean is even more beneficial.
The best way to clean your gear is with warm water and a cloth. Give them a wipe down and then leave them to dry.
Avoid using a pressure washer or hot water as you don’t want to push too much water into the bindings or scratch the base with a powerful jet of water.
Once your bases and tops are clean, you can then use a bronze or steel brush to wipe you bases free of any remaining dirt. Give it a gentle rub up and down and then wipe with a clean dry cloth.
The end of season service 🎿
Tuning your skis at the end of the season is just as important as maintaining throughout the season. It’s easy to forget about your gear once you’ve got home from your ski trip and chuck it in the cupboard until the next season rolls around. But if you take the time to give it a good service before it goes into storage, you’ll reap the benefits for next season.
Sharpen edges to prevent rust
If you put your skis or snowboard away with any specs of rust on them, then it’s going to grow and eat away at your pressure edges while they sit in storage.
The best way to eliminate rust and prevent it from growing is to leave your stored skis with a nice sharp edge. Take your skis for a tune, wax and sharpen at a ski shop or buy a Swix Gummy Stone from Amazon (check the price) to remove nicks and burrs in your edges at home.
Sharp flat edges will prevent rust and keep your board or ski in top tip conditions read for the next winter session.
The video below shows you how to tune your ski edges at home.
Wax to stop dampness
After cleaning your base and sharpening the edges, a good thick layer of wax is an important step for your summer storage plan. A layer of hot wax on the bases will keep out dampness and prevent rust from developing.
When the new season comes around, you can simply scrape off the excess wax and have a beautiful fresh base to plow down the mountain on.
If want to know more about waxing, read my free guide: Ski Wax For Dummies or watch the video below to see how to wax your skis at home.
Here is another great run through of ski waxing for storage.
Lower your release value
Skis bindings have a DIN value which sets how easily they detach from your boots in case of a crash.
It’s a great idea to lower your DIN value to its lowest setting before you put your skis into storage because it helps the loaded springs in the bindings to relax and stay true to the numerical indicators on the DIN dial.
To lower your DIN, find the screws on the toes and heel of the bindings and turn them counterclockwise.
⚠️ Remember to reset your release value at the start of the next season to match your weight and skiing ability. You can stick a handwritten note to the bindings to remind you, (tip from MakeSpace).
Where should I store my ski or snowboard?
The place you store your skis is just as important as they’re final service. Space can be an issue and most people put their skis or board in the garage or attic -- but be aware that unless these spaces are heated and you live somewhere with cold nights and/or hot days, then it may be shortening your equipment lifespan.
Most skis and snowboards have a wood core and extreme temperature swings will affect the materials. If you can the best place to store your equipment is inside your house -- a space with more stable temperatures.
Great places to store your skis or snowboards:
- Under your bed
- Cupboard in your house
The ideal place to store your gear is somewhere with a stable temperature that is not too humid, shaded from the sun and ventilated.
Once you’ve found the right place, you’ll want to put your skis lying flat or leaning against a solid surface. You don’t want them strapped together too tightly or sat beneath any other object that could warp them over time with the weight. It’s best to have you skis separated or gently placed together.
If you have a ski or snowboard bag, it’s fine to store them inside the bag, as long as it is completely dry and with the zip left open a bit so moisture can escape and fresh air can enter.
For ski poles wipe them down, dry them and then put then keep them together next to your skis or inside a bag of their own.
How to care for ski/snowboard boots?
To keep good care of your boots, take out the boot liners and then wipe the shell down with a wet cloth to remove dirt and then dry them off.
Once the shell is clean on the inside, outside and through the buckle mechanism, it’s time to check over the liners.
You don’t want to wash or submerge the liners in water, but you can use a wet cloth to rub away dirt in specific areas.
Once your boots are clean and loosely buckled back up, store them like your ski and snowboard in a dry, shaded, ventilated room with stable temperatures -- rather than outside in the shed or car.
Heat-molded liners can lose their shape if they’re stored somewhere too hot or that has big temperature swings, so it’s best to treat them well for a snug fit for next seasons ski season.
How to care for ski jacket and trousers (pants)?
Caring for your other gear is just as important your skis or snowboard. Your ski clothing is what keeps you dry and comfortable on the mountain keeping it in good conditions will give you many more years of use.
Although many people don’t it’s actually beneficial to wash your ski clothes. Over the season as dirt accumulates it can block the microscopic pores that allow water vapor to escape. So by washing your jacket and trousers (pants), you’re returning its breathability rating back to how it was when it was new (source).
Cleaning your clothes, opens the pores and improves the performance. Keeping your drier and warmer on the mountain. Less moisture trapped means less sweat buildup and drier mid and base layers.
Before washing check the manufacturer’s recommendations -- but almost all ski gear is washable.
Steps to washing your ski/snowboard clothing:
- Empty the pockets
- Use a cold machine wash on a delicate cycle with a low spin speed
- Gentle detergent or one especially for waterproof outerwear.
- Only was similar fabrics together -- just waterproof clothing.
How to dry your clothes?
After washing you’ll want to air them out next to a fan or outside with a breeze, but not in direct sunlight or too close to a heater.
Don’t use a dryer or iron but let your clothes naturally dry. Turn them over a few times so the underside fabrics don’t develop a musty smell.
Between washings, you can brush away dirt and wipe stains with a clean, damp cloth but it’s a good idea to wash your gear at the end of each season.
How to store ski/snowboard clothing?
Once your gear is nice and dry (very important) you can hang your ski jacket and trousers inside a shaded closet.
How to care for ski/snowboard gloves?
It’s best to hand wash gloves rather than putting them in a washing machine as this can remove their waterproofing abilities. As before check, the labels before washing in case your specific gloves have any special instructions.
How to wash your gloves or mittens?
1. Put both gloves and put them under a very slow running cold water tap. Add a drop of mild soap (no fabric softeners or bleach) and rub your gloves together to remove stains and dirt.
2. The inside of the gloves can be cleaned by reversing the gloves and repeating the same process.
3. Be sure to rinse off all the excess soap and then gently squeeze the gloves to remove some water -- but don’t ring them as this can warp their shape.
4. Hang the gloves from their fingertips so water drains faster and put them outside in a breeze or next to a fan to dry -- but avoid direct sunlight.
5. Some gloves will benefit from a spray-on water repellent to maintain and improve their waterproofing capability.
*Leather gloves need different care: use a leather cleaner and treat with a leather restorer.
How to care for ski/snowboard helmets?
Wipe the outside shell with a wet cloth and give the inside foam a once over. Allow it to completely dry away from the sun and then store in a shaded, ventilated space just like the rest of your equipment.
How to care for ski/snowboard goggles? 🥽
Wipe the lenses with the soft cloth that comes with them. Use a wet cloth to wipe the elasticated band and leave them to dry before storing them inside their protective cover inside a hard case or away from any object that could fall and damage them.
How long do skis last?
Skis can last for decades, but their performance diminishes after 100-125 skiing days (5 years if you ski 20 days a year). The wood core will progressively lose its pop during each consecutive use.
An old ski is skiable but it won’t support you as much as it once did. Most people replace their skis every 8 years and should look at replacing their skis every 5-10 years depending on much they use their gear, their ability and whether they want more performance. A better skier will get more out of new equipment than a new skier.
All of the above is also true for snowboards.
I cover this in a lot more detail and explain the main factors that age a ski and how to know if its time to upgrade here: How Long Will My Skis Last?
It’s a bit more extra effort to take care of your gear, but treat it well and it will give you many seasons of fun on the mountain.