We know you’re at home looking for things to do this month. We get it, with the health “stay at home” restrictions of COVID-19, it might just be the downtime you’ve been looking for to focus on giving your skis a little bit of love.
A few simple steps can protect your skis for storage and make them easy to work on when you next have them on your tuning bench. An ounce of prevention, as they say, is often worth a pound of cure.
1. Make sure all of your skis are thoroughly dry.
2. Check edges for burrs, dings, etc… File and diamond-stone the edges as you would for a training session.
3. Scrape the bases with a sharp scraper; brush with a good steel or brass brush.
4. Perform at least one hot-scrape of the base – details are in the next section.
5. Brush the base with steel or brass brushes after they have cooled from the hot scraping.
6. Apply a thick coat of warm hydrocarbon wax. To get thicker coats, use a lower iron temperature while moving the iron faster than usual. You are trying not so much to saturate the base but rather to create a layer between the base and the outside world.
7. Earn bonus points for getting any wax off the base and side edges (you don’t need to scrape) and applying a rust inhibitor.
This process will also save you time if you plan to ski during the summer, or will maximize the value when you want to sell the skis.
Now is a great time to bring your skis to your local shop for a full rehab. The shop can make sure your sidewalls are out of the way and smooth, your bases are re-ground, and that your edges are smooth and properly beveled. Doing this work now ensures that whether you plan to ski during the summer, sell your skis in the fall, or hand them down to a family member, they will be ready to hit snow right away and you will not have to contend with the masses who are trying to get this work done just before the start of next season.
Regardless of whether you bring your skis to a shop, take the time to hot-scrape clean them and get a heavy coat of hydrocarbon wax on them for storage. Skiing in the spring is messy business. Hot-scraping will help remove any build-up of grease from lift towers (especially on surface lifts); salt or urea used to freeze soft snow; dirt getting tilled up by groomers; pollen; and other contaminants. They all conspire to make your bases blotchy, clog up pores, and, worst of all leave your skis inconsistent and unpredictable.
If you are planning on skiing this summer, invest in some form of graphite/moly/ molybdenum wax (graphite wax is simply a recommendation and style, any non-flouro base wax will also work.) Use it once or twice before you leave and every day when you wax at your camp. These are additives – rub them on before dripping on your wax du jour, and they’ll offer an increased level of repellency. Additionally, with almost every summer skiing destination having incredibly abrasive snow, these additive waxes can help slow the rate at which your base is worn away.
Whether you plan to use them again, sell them or just retire them, your skis deserve the effort now for, at the very least, good habit retention. The more you work on your skis, the easier it gets. Undoubtedly there were instances during the season when balancing everything was a struggle and hopefully you were diligent about not letting your ski maintenance slip. As with so many things, momentum is key, so push on through one last effort and then enjoy some well-deserved time off.