In the US, summer is approaching. But, in some parts of the world, ski season is in full swing. It’s fun to travel during the typical summer months to try skiing in a different locale. Proper preparation means you can hit the snooze button a few times and still get the first lift up to perfect, pristine snow, rather than spending the morning fussing with your gear and not hitting the slopes until after lunch. The right time to get ready for skiing is a few weeks before local resorts open or before you leave for a ski vacation, not during prime ski time.
Get a full professional tune-up sometime between the end of one ski season and the beginning of the next season. This should include cleaning the ski bases with a strong solvent, filling any gouges in the bases, sharpening and beveling the metal edges, and stone-grinding and structuring the ski bases. If it will be more than a few weeks before you use your skis, ask for or do a storage wax, in which the skis are hot waxed, but not scraped, so that the wax covers the metal edges and prevents them for rusting or corroding in storage. The night before skiing, scrape off the excess wax with a plastic scraper and use a brush or kitchen scrub pad to emphasize the base structure. Here’s a nice video that demonstrates ski scraping.
Ski bindings are relatively low maintenance, but they do need annual check-ups. The dirt and salt you accumulate when you walk in your ski boots can damage your bindings. Have a certified technician replaced worn or damaged anti-friction plates and check to see if the bindings release correctly. Also, if you have gained or lost weight, or changed ability level significantly over the season, you may need your binding settings adjusted.
Wearable Ski Clothing
Try on your favorite ski outfit a few weeks before the start of the season. If everything still fits well, check over each piece carefully for wear. Look for loose buttons, malfunctioning zippers, small tears, and other problems. Mend what can be fixed easily and replace what cannot be repaired. Apply conditioner to leather gloves and garments to keep them supple and waterproof. Be sure to wear socks that wick away moisture to avoid nasty things like athletes foot and foot odor. You can read a cool article with more tips about this here.
Small stuff matters
A bad sunburn or foggy goggles can ruin a ski day. At the start of each new season, invest in a new fog cloth, small tube of sun block, lip balm, and liquid ski wax to carry with you as you ski. Throw out leftovers from the previous season, as they may be dried out or spoiled. Either buy a few small packets of tissues or make your own by filling a few sandwich bags with tissues from a larger box. Store all these items together in a single clear freezer or sandwich bag.
Location, Location, Location
You can’t use your ski gear if you can’t find it. Organize your gear carefully, with skis and poles in a ski bag, boots, socks, gloves, and boots in a boot bag, and clothing in a duffel or on one or two hangers in your closet, so that you can find and pack up everything you need quickly. That way, whether you are heading out for a vacation or you are taking advantage of early season snow at your local resort, you are ready to catch fresh tracks rather than wasting good ski time dealing with your gear.