Summer Tips for Ski Maintenance

Despite an epic winter of record snowfall throughout the country, this year's ski season is finally coming to an end.

Before you hit the beach, break out the boat or make that road trip, consider your ski gear. Like any sporting equipment, skis, snowboards and boots need regular maintenance. When you hit the slopes next season, you want them in tip-top shape, which is why you wax and sharpen them. They'll stay that way longer if you summerize and store them correctly.

Summerize It

Summerization is preventative maintenance for your winter gear. It'll also save you time when you hit the slopes next season.

The difference between a summerize and a tune is minimal, and in simplest terms, a summerize is half of a tune. When you summerize, you repair the damage from the season by waxing your base, but you're not going to scrape, buff or polish off the wax. Normally, your freshly-waxed skis are smooth and free of excess. But that excess is going to keep your bases in top shape through the summer by preventing them from drying out. Finish the wax process in the fall when you're ready to ski.

You also need to spin down your bindings. This relieves the pressure and saves your bindings from undue wear and tear. They'll need to be reset by a certified technician in the fall, but it's always a good idea to have your bindings serviced anyway. They'll probably scrape off the excess wax while they're at it.

Storage

If you choose to skip a summerize service, then at least store your gear well. Hot climates can be murder on winter gear. Treat your toys well and you'll get more return on your investment. Remember, this gear isn't cheap.

The best thing you can do is bring it inside. You use your gear to enjoy the great outdoors, but the truth is that gear doesn't enjoy it much without you. Skis and snowboards share the same objections, namely, moisture. Humid air and rain can rust up your edges in the course of a summer. If you're not getting in turns every year, this damage can accumulate, and the rust will become difficult, if not impossible, to repair.

Put your stuff all the way inside. Attics and garages don't count. They are prime rust breeding grounds. While they will keep your gear out of the elements, it won't save them from damage. Your skis and boards need to be in an area where they can take advantage of the climate control that we all enjoy in the summer.

Your air conditioning dries up the air in your home, and skis love it. Bring your boots in too. The heat and humidity of the summer can degrade the plastics that make up ski boots. Boots can shatter. Age and proper care can prevent it.

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Orlando Skiing Examiner Wayne Bart has been in the ski industry for a decade in a number of different capacities and he's been an outdoor enthusiast for all his life.

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