Preserving Your Ski Gear: How to Store Ski Boots, Skis, and More in the Off-SeasonPublished on 06/24/2023 · 7 min readHow, where, and when you store your ski gear makes a big difference in maintaining the longevity of your equipment.
Photo by Aaron Doucett
As the ski season ends, it’s time to think about storing your gear away for next year. I know it makes you want to cry, but you got this and you can power through! As the snow starts to melt and your mind turns to mountain biking, hiking, and where you put all your shorts, there are a few key things to take care of before winter is fully out of your mind. How, where, and when you store your ski gear makes a big difference in maintaining the longevity of your equipment. It also ensures your skis are ready to go at a moment’s notice if the snow starts to fall again. There’s nothing worse than pulling out your skis after the first big storm and realizing your edges are rusted out, your bases are drier than the Sahara, and your boots had mice living in them. So here’s a quick breakdown of what you should keep in mind when winter starts coming to a close.
You may think it’s only worth getting your skis tuned during the winter months, when you’re actively using them. However, it can be super helpful to have a comprehensive tune done when you’re ready to put the skis away at the end of the season. A lot of us may not take the best care of our skis over the course of the season because they’re constantly getting put through the ringer and those dings and scratches just keep accumulating. When the season is over though, getting those edges sharpened, the nicks and gouges filled, and those bases ground is a solid way to make sure your skis are ready to go for next season. You never know when the snow will start coming down and you need to get your skis out to get on the hill. There’s no worse feeling than grabbing your skis after a big storm in November only to realize you never got that huge core shot filled from April of last year. Better be ready to go as soon as the lifts start spinning.
Storage Waxing Skis
When putting your skis away for that long summer nap, storage waxing them is an important action to make sure they’re ready to go for next winter. Storage waxing is something that’s cheap and quick to get done at your local ski shop, and even something you can do at home with a few tools. If you’ve got an iron and some wax, just act like you’re going to give them a normal hot wax, but don’t scrape the wax coating off. Storage waxing helps with several things: from protecting the bases of your skis from getting beat up when moving them around, to keeping the bases from drying out over the warmer months, to helping protect the edges from rusting. Ski bases are porous (in order to accept wax) and as a result are susceptible to moisture in the surrounding environment. Storage waxing is partially meant to limit the interaction of your bases with moisture and oxygen in the air over long periods of time. Though one summer without storage wax won’t ruin your skis, it can start a slow process of degradation and lead to delamination of your ski bases. For such a quick and easy thing, it can make all the difference in the life of your skis. Plus, when you pull them out for next season, all they need is a quick scrape and they’re ready to get on the hill. For some more tips and pointers on at-home tuning, check out this article.
Storing Skis in the Right Place
A huge part of storing your equipment during the off-season is where you choose to let your stuff spend the summer. There are a few main things you want to avoid to keep your skis in good shape. First, never store your equipment in a place with a lot of moisture. This tends to be places like under the house, sheds that may not be well sealed, or open air carports or garages. With moisture and exposure to the elements comes rusty edges, brittle plastic, and warping of softer materials in skis and bindings. All very bad things. Next, you want to avoid the opposite as well. Places that are too dry and hot can also be bad for your equipment for some of the same reasons. High temperatures and sun exposure can make plastic brittle and liable to cracking, and can also cause some materials in your skis to lose their integrity. What you want is a solid middle ground between those two extremes. Somewhere not too warm, not too cold, not too wet, and not too dry. Basically, find the Goldilocks of indoor closets, garages, or storage spaces for your gear. There are a number of companies that make easy-to-install, low profile ski storage systems that can help you get your gear out of the way and organized throughout the summer. Gravity Grabber is a great option for in-home ski storage.
Storing Ski Boots
Arguably, one of the most important pieces of equipment to store properly are ski boots. Your boots are probably the one thing you spent the most time and energy getting right, making sure they fit perfectly. The last thing you want is for a summer of improper storage to ruin all your hard work. First things first: BUCKLE YOUR BOOTS. Because of how much curved plastic is in ski boots, the longer they’re left unbuckled the more the plastic will try to straighten itself out. As this happens, the entire shape of the boot will start to change, and they may not fit the same way if left unbuckled long enough. They’ll become more difficult to buckle and get closed, and your life will only get harder. Next up, make 100% sure that your boot liners are bone dry before storing them away for summer. Your feet sweat in your ski boots. Like, a lot. Like, up to a quart a day PER FOOT. Shocking, I know. This means that your boot liners almost always have some residual moisture in them during the winter, and it takes a good amount of time for them to dry all the way out. The easiest way to help this process along is to pull the liners out of your boots and let them sit by the heater or fan for a day or two. If put away while still damp, warm temperatures and moisture will mold inside your boots over the summer months leaving an icky mess when you pull them out come fall. Lastly, the same temperature rules apply to boots as to skis. Not too warm, not too cold.
All of the above steps are good contributing factors to maintaining the longevity of your gear, but it’s also important to take good care of your equipment over the course of the ski season as well. After storing your skis for an extended period of time, it’s also a good idea to have your setup checked out by a professional to ensure everything is working properly. Ski shops will be able to perform a test on your bindings to make sure you’ll still release when you should, adjust your equipment to match any changes you might have made (boots, bindings, etc.), and give you the confidence to get back on the hill and know you’ll be secure. Staying safe on the hill rests entirely on the integrity of not only your gear, but the gear of everyone around you. Skiing can be a very safe sport, but only if everything is working the way it’s supposed to. So, tell your friends, your family, your coworkers and your mailman: take care of your gear, and it’ll take care of you.