SUMMER SKI & BOOT STORAGE
To keep your skis like new, prevent oxidation of the bases and edges.
The big issue is oxidation. We want to prevent rust on the edges and “dry rot” (a powdery-white appearance) of the polyethylene bases. Yes, polyethylene, if left to dry out, does oxidize – if air gets into the microscopic pores, the long molecules that make the bases so tough can break into smaller strands, reducing the strength and even the glide speed of this expensive material. So, here is the plan:
- Use a damp rag to wipe down your skis and bindings (little citric-based cleaner won’t hurt). Remove all road salt, dirt and grime that linger from those last sunny days of your ski season.
- Use a clean dry rag to dry them off, top and bottom. If sharp “splinters” of topsheet material along the top edges grab the rag, trim those loose ends off with a sharp knife or a bit of sandpaper. A smooth top edge won’t cut your fingers as you handle the skis and may prevent further delamination of the topsheet.
- Look for any obvious issues on the edges and bases. Run a finger along the steel edges and a palm along the base. Look for roughness of the edges, discoloration, and any whiteness on the bases.
- Using a diamond stone, polish away any burrs on the ski edges. Rust beginning here will go deeper than into a smooth surface and be harder to grind away later. In the long run, rusted burrs will require deeper grinding and shorten the useful life of the ski.
- Similarly, repair any gouges in the polyethylene bases.
- Using a waxing iron, coat the bases and edges with a thick layer of soft “summer” wax. (If you don’t have warm-weather wax handy, any wax will do to prevent oxidation. Any wax is better than a dry base).
- Leave the wax on your skis through the summer months. You can scrape and brush the bases before your first run next winter.
- Fasten the skis together with two velcro ski straps, one toward the tips and one toward the tails. The foam section should sit between the ski bases to protect the steel edges from scissoring against each other, and the velcro can be wrapped around your skis tightly. Store skis in a dry, shaded and well-ventilated location.
- Before skiing in the fall, scrape off the (soft) storage wax and iron in a coat of harder or all-purpose glide wax suitable for winter snow.
HERE'S A CHEATER HINT: If you don’t have an iron or wax, consider getting a ski tune before storing your skis for the summer. If you choose this route, ask the shop to dry the skis thoroughly, clean them, repair any damage and polish the edges. This is a good time to have the bases stone-ground. Early winter snow is colder than late spring snow, so ask the shop for a fine, cold-snow structure that will be appropriate for the colder temperature of early winter.
Alternatively, if you own a pair of Wagner Skis, you can send them to us for a summer Spa Tune. We will restore your skis to their original factory condition (or as close as possible). Our spa tunes are $160 and includes the following:
- Repair any base damage
- Grind skis flat
- Restore the factory structure to the bases
- Deburr and sharpen the edges
- Restore factory-specific edge bevels
- Wax, brush and polish
- Clean up the topsheet (buffing out the topsheet-sidewall interface and repairing any cuts)
- Return shipping
If our summer spa tune is of interest (and you own Wagner Skis), buy your skis a spa day here and send your them our way. NOTE: if the links don't work, it means that we've changed our equipment over to ski production for the winter season – sign up for the newsletter to get the announcement when Spa Tunes are available again in the spring.
Ski Boot Storage
- Pull the liner out of each boot and set it aside in a cool dry place to dry thoroughly. Remove the footbed so it can dry, too. Make sure the tongue sits in its normal skiing position, inside the liner. Stuff crumpled newspaper into the liner to absorb moisture and help the liner retain its shape. If the liner has laces, pull them tight.
- Clean the plastic shells inside and out using a mild detergent or diluted citric cleaner. Rinse and dry.
- Check for damage to the shell and cuff. Look for bent buckles, missing screws and canting hinges. Look for cracks in the plastic, especially if the boots are more than five or six years old (even very durable plastics can grow brittle after years in the sun and wind). Look carefully at wear on the boot soles, especially at the toe and heel where the boot interfaces with bindings. If the soles are badly worn, especially if worn asymmetrically, it can adversely affect binding release function. Where outsoles are replaceable, check the condition of the screwheads holding them to the main shell. You’ll want to replace the outsoles before those screwheads are worn off.
- Where damage needs to be repaired, consult your bootfitter or another expert ski shop. Most buckles can be replaced, some cracks can be welded, and many outsoles can be replaced.
- Store boots in a dark, cool, dry place.