How to Take Care of Your Equipment During Ski Season
Gear takes a beating during the season. From his 20 years of skiing, Curated expert Jake Mundt shares his top tips for maximizing longevity and peak performance of your gear.
Skiing is a sport that requires an exorbitant amount of equipment. This stuff also happens to be very expensive, and unless your dad is Bill Gates, you’re going to want that gear to last as long as possible.
I have been skiing for almost 20 years. In that time I have not only owned a ton of different gear, I have broken and ruined a lot of equipment. Working restaurant jobs through college I figured out how to make gear last its maximum lifetime and also learned when replacement gear is actually needed. Gear takes a beating during a ski season, and the more you ski, the faster it’s worn down. We rely on much of our equipment for safety so we need to ensure peak performance and minimize failures. With some simple and easy practices your gear can last significantly longer while performing at its highest capability.
Before we dive in on specific pieces of equipment, one word of advice: Your gear is not your dirty dinner dishes that can sit in water overnight. That works to get crap off the plates when you wake up hungover, but leaving gear soaking wet will destroy it. Or at least make it smell so bad even you won’t want to use it. So, cowboy up and treat your gear with respect when you get home. That first cold beer can wait a little while.
We might as well start off with our main piece of gear, ski set ups. Depending on where you ski and how aggressively you ski, setups inevitably get damaged. Just this season I have probably gouged out six or seven big core shots in my main skis. It is really important to repair this kind of damage on skis. If you scratch your skis deep enough where you can see wood or fiberglass, it is called a core shot. If not repaired, water seeps into the core of the skis, eventually rotting away the wood and finally wreaking the skis entirely.
While many people successfully repair core shots at home, I strongly recommend getting your skis repaired by a professional at a local ski shop—especially if the damage is near the edges or is really big. Professional repairs will be better than your lighter-ptex smear sessions in your garage and will ultimately last longer and lengthen the life of your skis. Always get your core shots filled ASAP.
The next one is easy but not everyone does it. Dry your skis INSIDE after skiing. It pisses me off to see my neighbor’s skis sit on top of his car for weeks. Don’t leave your wet skis in the cold garage. Bring them inside, wipe them down with a rag and put them back in the garage when they are dry. Give those bad boys the TLC they deserve. It also helps if you have any hidden core shots or leaks in your skis to prevent water logging.
Most people don’t understand how important it is to clean your outerwear. While you might see pro skiers with super dirty pants and torn up jackets, remember that is not cool. They get gear for free, you and I don’t. Washing your jacket and pants not only preserves the life of the apparel but increases water repellency and breathability. Over time dirt and grime gets ground into our outerwear and clogs the pores of the fabric.
I wash my outerwear multiple times per season in a front-loading washing machine with Nikwax Tech Wash. Don’t be afraid to use the dryer. Drying your outerwear on low actually removes moisture from the fabric and improves water repellency. While this is what I do to my gear, always read the manufacturer’s washing and care instructions.
Dry them! Every time you get home from skiing, remove the boot liners and take the footbeds out of the liner. Let those sit out until they are fully dry. If you ski everyday, it might be a good idea to purchase a boot dryer that will expedite the process and ensure dry boots every morning. Not only are wet boots cold and uncomfortable, but they will also pack out soon and possibly mold. This is a really easy thing to do that will make sure your boots last as long as they should.
In addition to drying your boots, make sure they are buckled when stored. Don’t let your boots sit out Sunday evening through Friday night. Once they are fully dried (which should be less than a day) put everything back together and buckle them like you are skiing. This keeps the plastic in the shape you are used to skiing in. If you leave them unbuckled for long periods of time the plastic shell will change shape and not perform as well as it should.
I’m starting to sound like a broken record here but dry them! Take the goggles out of the case or bag when you get home. If you skied chest deep pow all day and got 50 face shots, it might be a good idea to take out the lens and let the crevasses of the frame dry in the open. Always have the goggles sit convex side up or on a microfiber bag.
Never touch the inside of your lens. Most goggles these days have some sort of anti-fog film or chemical on the inside of the lens. Don’t touch it! As soon as you touch the inside of the lens it will never act the way it did before. Even if you take a gnarly crash and get a bunch of snow packed in your goggles, never wipe them, only air dry. A foggy goggle can ruin a day so follow these simple steps to decrease the chances of that happening.
Ski skins are one of the hardest pieces of gear to maintain, and there are many different opinions on how to dry and store them. If you have a technique that works for you then go for it. Here are my skin maintenance techniques. After skiing, I hang up my skins on a clothesline so that no glue is touching any other glue. If I am not using them the next day, I try to put them away as soon as they are dry. I fold each skin once sticking it to itself.
I recognize a lot of people use cheat-sheets or skin savers. Using primarily Pomoca skins, which have a more mild adhesive than other skis, I have little use for devices like those. If I am skiing the next day, I usually just leave them hanging where I will put them on my skis in the morning.
After your day of skiing, I highly recommend taking out your probe and shovel to dry, especially if you used them during the day. Knock all the snow out of the shovel handle to make sure it doesn’t rust. I frequently inspect my probe cable to make sure it is intact. You don’t want to discover a busted probe when it is really needed. These pieces of equipment are actually crucial for safety, and you need them to work when a life depends on them.
A lot of this advice may be obvious, and many people may have other methods for maintaining gear. Gear is constantly changing as well as how we use it. If anyone disagrees with anything above, has questions or wants advice on something I didn’t mention, I would love to have a discussion with you. Shoot me or one of my fellow Ski experts here on Curated a message anytime, and we’d be happy to nerd out about gear with you. Otherwise, when in doubt, dry everything out and pray for snow. Leave the dishes for tomorrow morning.