Ski and Snowboard Equipment Maintenance

Have you ever thought about how a ski or snowboard must feel being set aside in the garage after a hard day on the mountain without so much as a wipe down with a dry towel? Or when a ski or snowboard rusts to the point that touching it would require an automatic Tetanus shot? ASPEN SKI AND BOARD has thought of it. One of the downsides to working at a ski shop (and there aren’t many) is to see wounded equipment come back in with a life expectancy greatly reduced because the gear has not been maintained. The following is advice on how to keep your equipment in the best condition, ultimately resulting in better performance and longevity.

Storing equipment-the bottom of your swimming pool is not a good place

Equipment is best stored in an environment that is dry and free of moisture. Being able to store your entire family’s equipment in the hallway closet is sometimes impossible. The garage often becomes the default location for storage. If the equipment is exposed for a prolonged period in this setting, it will rust. Covering up the edges and having them stored in ski or snowboard bags helps hide the equipment from the damp environment of your garage or basement.

My equipment can dry on its own

Like most other items, your equipment CAN dry on its own. It is also accompanied by a process called rusting. The water will indeed dry and go away-and by dry I mean react with air and exposed metal to cover your edges in rust. The number one mistake people make with their equipment is storing it in a bag or other place while it is still wet. The time it takes for water to evaporate is more than enough time for rusting to set in. Prolonged rusting will degrade your equipment, plain and simple.  Prevent this by wiping your equipment off with an old towel when you are done riding. Keep several towels in your carrier if you transport equipment that way. Any moisture you remove from exposed metal right away will decrease the chances of rust setting in.

Waxing every 3 – 5 times you ski will ensure your equipment stays in top condition

Novels can be written about wax, waxing methods, waxing theories, etc. Suffice it to say that wax is talked about so passionately because it helps make the experience of riding better! Wax will help reduce friction. It will help protect the edges from rusting if it is used on equipment that will be stored long-term (definitely come in to ASPEN SKI AND BOARD and have storage wax put on for the off season). Properly waxed equipment will respond more directly to your commands. Perhaps most important is that wax improves glide, creating a friction-free sensation that is second to none.

Waxing is the cheapest kind of maintenance associated with riding. Many shops will charge upwards of $15 for an iron-on-wax. Aspen Ski and Board offers a full iron-on wax for only $7.95! The price is nearly half the norm because we stand behind the important role wax plays in the overall riding experience. Waxing every 3 – 5 times you ski will ensure your equipment stays in top condition.

What happens if I never wax my ski or board?

It makes enjoying the true nature of riding that much harder. Waxless bases will inhibit glide and make turning more difficult as a result. Never waxing your board will result in irreparable damage by degrading the base material due to friction between the base and snow. Neglecting to keep bases waxed can allow water to saturate into and under the base material causing warping, or “base bubble”. If you were never to wax your equipment you will decrease the longevity of the equipment. Just as cars need their oil changed, skis and boards need waxed.

Snowboard bindings-screw ‘em!

Snowboard bindings in particular have a number of working parts that rely on screws and straps. These parts are features to help dial your fit just right. These screws always need to be checked and tightened. Aspen Ski and Board recommends you tighten your equipment every time you go riding. Carrying a pocket tool makes this maintenance easy and hassle free. Base plate screws are not drilled in and glued like a ski binding. Riding all day can loosen these screws. In addition toe and ankle straps, along with ratchets and ladders can all work their way loose. Tighten ‘em!

My ski bindings don’t need maintenance, right? I just click in and rip it!

ASPEN SKI AND BOARD recommends a yearly check for ski bindings. This is accomplished by a release check. A release check takes the user’s height, age, weight, skier ability level, and boot sole length to determine the setting on the binding (called the DIN setting) and the force required to release you from the binding in the event of a fall.  Release checks must be done by a certified ski technician like the ones that work at Aspen Ski and Board. The boot is inserted in the binding and forcibly released with a Vermont calibrator that measures force to determine if the binding is true to its calculated release setting. Factors like boot and binding wear, or an increase/decrease in height, weight, ability or boot size will require a release check to be performed every season. Similar to our low prices on waxing, Aspen Ski and Board only charges $14.95 for a release check to ensure safety on the hill is affordable.

My boots smell like wet cardboard and a post-game hockey locker room

Remove your liners when you are finished for the day. If the liners are too hard for you to remove, at least remove the footbed so no moisture is trapped between the liner and the footbed. Snowboarders and skiers can follow this very simple rule to help keep your boots from being quarantined in the garage-and further decreasing their shelf life. A dark, wet, and cool environment is a great place for mold and bacteria to make a home in. Instead of giving them this little slice of heaven, removing the liners and drying them overnight either by air or rolling up newspaper and inserting them into the liners will go a long way in preventing mold, bacteria, and their associated odors from getting to the promised land of your boot liner.  Putting your boot and liners too close to a high temperature object like fireplaces or heaters can result in melting. Aspen Ski and Board sells models of boot & glove dryers to help dry quickly without melting.

If left to its own devices, plastic will lose its form and function

I’m talking specifically about the plastic that your ski boots are made of. Over time, plastic will return to its original shape. Since most plastics are not originally formed in the shape of ski boots, the plastic at the cuff will lose its form. Plastic will remember a bad position if left there for even a small period of time. Prevent this by keeping your boots buckled! You don’t have to wrench the buckles down to last notch, but keep them lightly buckled. You will keep plastic in the form that it was in when the boots were brand new. This ties in with a lasting fit, helping ensure your foot stays comfortable and secure, as well as prolonging the life if your boots