How to store ski gear at the end of the season

All good things must come to an end, and as the ski season wraps up for the winter it can be tempting to fling everything into a box until next season. But your gear deserves better than that! This article will explain how to clean and store your snowsports kit to keep it in top condition all year round.

How to store skis or snowboards

Skis should be stored somewhere dry and well-ventilated to preserve the materials and avoid rust. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to ski storage so damp places should be avoided at all costs. Leaving skis outside exposes them to the elements and risks them being stolen, so inside is best.

But before skis are sent off to their dry and dust-free summer camp, take time at the end of the season to check for any damage which may have been inflicted over winter. Inspect both skis and bindings for any cracks or scratches, being sure to look at the base which is where rocks can leave deep grooves.

For repair, it’s best to take the skis or snowboard to a ski shop for a full professional service. The process will repair any damage, sharpen the edges and give the base a grind and wax. Skis should be serviced at least once per season, and sharp edges last around ten days of skiing, depending on the snow. The icier it is, the sooner you’ll need to resharpen those edges.

Servicing can also be done at home if you have the tools and expertise. The skis should first be cleaned with a brass brush or base cleaner. Once dry, coat them generously with universal wax using an iron to melt and spread. The wax should be applied generously all over the base and left to dry until the following winter. For extra protection from humidity, liquid wax can be applied to skis and bindings with a cloth.

It does not matter whether skis are stored horizontally or vertically, just that they are protected from moisture, dust and fluctuating temperatures. Place them base to base loosely held with a velcro strap at both ends and avoid any pressure points around the bindings. To avoid damage, close bindings for storage and if you have a ski bag then use it to protect from scratches and dust.

How to store boots

When you kick off your boots for the last time this winter, don’t just throw them into the attic. A little TLC will allow them to hibernate happily through the warmer months so that they maintain their shape and quality for next season.

After a full winter of sweating inside the boots, you might be hit by a wall of foot odour when you take them off. Fear not, this can be remedied. Firstly, pull out the inner boot liners from the shells. Check it for any signs of damage and then use a damp cloth to clean them. Don’t put them in the washing machine as they could warp and lose their shape. To remove smells, disinfect the boot and let it dry out of direct sunlight and away from a strong heat source.

The outer plastic shells should also be inspected for any signs of damage. The soles, buckles and velcro all play an important role in supporting your skiing. Check the whole shell and if anything is loose or broken, consider taking the boot to a service shop for repair. It’s better to deal with this at the end of the season than lose time at the start of the next one. Cracks and velcro tears should not be left to worsen over the summer months and the shell should be wiped down inside and out.

Once everything is completely dry and both parts have passed their inspection, the liners can be re-inserted for storage. Fasten the boot buckles lightly to maintain the shape and if you have a boot bag, use it to store them in a dry, shaded and well-ventilated place.

How to store protective items and mountain safety equipment

For goggles, it’s important to protect the lens or lenses. Store them inside a protective pouch or case and make sure they are not compressed. A good trick to keep them extra protected is to store them inside your helmet which should also have its own protective bag. Before storing the helmet, check for any damage because a cracked helmet can be fatal.

Mountain safety equipment such as a shovel, probe and transceiver can be stored together and batteries should be removed. Your transceiver is an expensive and important piece of equipment so keep it in a protective case and make sure it is not exposed to any moisture. Your probe should also be stored folded down in its case. Avalanche airbags should be deactivated before storage and checked every year to verify their functionality.

How to wash ski clothes

At the end of the season, ski clothes might be stained from the odd coffee spillage or sweaty from all your exertion. The last thing you want is to let odours fester for six months, by which point they will be impossible to remove.

Wet and dirty clothes are a haven for bacteria which can lead to mould forming so washing ski clothes properly is an important way of maintaining their functionality and extending their lifespan. Start by reading the label and checking the instructions for the garment. Some pieces of ski kit are machine washable but the instructions vary for DWR (durable water repellent) coating and waterproof membranes, so double-check before diving in.

For anything suited to a normal wash cycle, start by emptying all the pockets. Loose change, lift passes and chocolate wrappers aren’t welcome inside the washing machine. Close all the zippers and turn the garments inside out. No fabric softener should be used, just normal detergent on the ‘synthetic’ setting with a spin of 800rpm maximum. Clothing can be hung out to air dry, ideally not in direct sunlight to protect the colour and fabric.

Clothes with a Gore-Tex membrane can be machine-washed with normal liquid detergent or a product designed especially for this purpose such as Nikwax. Select a spin cycle of 600rpm and do not use powder detergents, fabric softeners or bleach. To reactivate the DWR coating, put a towel on the garment and iron on a low heat setting or tumble dry at 60˚C maximum.

How to store ski clothes

Once the clothing is clean and dry it should be stored somewhere away from direct sunlight, dust and abrasion. Sunlight can affect the colour of the material whereas abrasion can rub off the DWR coating. Dust, on the other hand, can degrade the fabric - especially if pesky dust mites get involved. Hang ski jackets and pants in a suit bag or fold them loosely inside a plastic box or holdall.

The reason to fold loosely is that hard creases can weaken waterproof membranes. Similarly, crushing snowsports garments into tight spaces can damage the fabric so avoid placing heavy items on top of the gear. A cardboard box is not a good storage option because it can let in moisture so opt for plastic boxes or bags and avoid vacuum sealing. Clothing is best kept in the wardrobe or under the bed if space allows.

By following this simple storage guide, you can extend the life of your snowsports equipment and keep it in prime condition. With everything ready, you can be the first on the mountain next winter.