Gear Talk

How to Summer-ize Your Ski Gear

Spring slush is upon us!  Pond skim competitions abound, and you’re not about to miss your chance to get in on all the action.  But what happens after you cross that water, grab that last sip of snow-chilled beer and retire your boards for the season?

ski gear in summer
After the debauchery of spring skiing, what will your skis do all summer? | PHOTO: Courtesy of Winter Park

I’m sure you take great care of your gear, right?  You’re not like everyone else—you keep a towel in your car to dry the water off your skis before you put them up in your roof box, right?  You dry out your boots after every day, right? You’d never let that spring mud from the parking lot stay on your boots all spring just to compromise your binding release settings next fall, right?  Right…?


Calm down, it’s all gonna be okay.  The key to skiing is having the right gear, and the key to having that gear last for any length of time is maintaining it.  I have 12 year old skis—don’t tell me, “But you work at a ski shop!” I know that. They still rock because I’ve kept them in excellent condition through properly tuning them when necessary and making sure that they don’t deteriorate to dust in the summer.  Summer maintenance is easy—as long as you know what to do. We’ll break it down for you.


Step 1) Give your skis a good clean  

Applying base cleaner can help you get a thorough clean.

Spring snow is generally dirtier as all the layers of grit throughout the season are left on the snow. Not to mention that ride back from the mountain strapped to the top of your car.   A quick clean of the topsheets, bases and bindings can do wonders for the look of the ski. Be sure to avoid spraying water directly into the bindings as it can dislodge the grease that’s used to lubricate the moving parts of the binding.  A rag with soapy water should work just fine. If you’re serious about cleaning the bases, use a special base cleaner to get all the dirt off.


Step 2) Dry that sucker off!  

Give the ski a good wipe down with a dry rag to get all the excess water off.  Water that sits on the edges can lead to rust and pitting, meaning that more material will need to be removed in order to get back to a flat surface.


Step 3) If your skis have edge burrs or base gouges, tune them!

Get your ptex sticks, files, guides, deburring and diamond stones out and start shaving away.  If you do it now, you’ll be ready to roll in the fall. There’s no point in sealing rusty, burred up edges with wax, so make sure everything is clean and pristine before moving on.


Step 4) Get your iron and wax (and maybe a beer) and head to the garage.  

A layer of wax will prevent bases from drying and oxidizing over the summer and can seal the edges, preventing rust from gaining a foothold.  Not to mention, they’ll be all waxed for next season. I like to rub the bar of wax along the edges to give it a light coat of protection over the summer and then melt a good layer of wax on the bases for some solid protection.


Step 5) Step back and admire your work.

The dull look of a layer of summer wax

Your base is now protected from drying and your edges have a layer of protection from rusting up.  When the snow starts falling next season, all you’ll need to do is scrape and brush your skis and you’ll be flying past your buddies who were too lazy to summer-ize their gear.  


Option B: Bring them down to Powder7

If this seems like a bit of a chore or you’re just not the DIY type, bring your skis down to Powder7 from April 15 through June 1 for our tune with a summer storage wax special for $60.  We’ll get your skis all cleaned and tuned and put the storage wax on for you. You can then store them someplace safe for the summer. When fall hits, bring those skis back to the shop from October 15 to November 15 and we’ll scrape and brush them while you wait for a quick turnaround.


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