With many of us unlikely to be able to get to the mountains and enjoy snow sports this winter, we should probably double check that our gear is safely stored and there aren't going to be any nasty surprises when everything gets pulled out of storage for the next shred.
Base Layers, Socks and other Clothing
It's a great idea to give all of your stuff a proper wash. With the sweat from doing sports and the beer spilled at Apres Ski, our clothing really takes a hammering. Often the technical pieces require special care or even had washing, so go through everything and give it a sort.
Repair anything that you've damaged and you'll get another season or two from it- sustainability should be a priority for everyone! A local seamstress can often repair a broken zip and it will be much cheaper than buying a whole new garment.
Some items may also need waterproofing again, with leads nicely on to...
Re-Waterproof your Outerwear
Washing, time, weather exposure and even general use can wear away the layer of waterproofing that is applied to outwear in manufacture. Most of us have experienced that horrible damp feeling when we've washed our jacket or salopettes and then get snowed on, realising that they're not as protective as they once were. I've mentioned this in a previous post too but that's because it really is worth doing.
Nikwax is a really great one to use as there are two parts to the process (Wash-In and Tech Wash) so it's very thorough. It's not expensive but can dramatically improve your experience on the mountain when the weather turns. They also have a spray on option if you just need a top up. This is a great product to have if you're living in the mountains using your gear a lot.
Don't forget to do your gloves too! Make sure that they properly dry out before you put them back in storage or you'll have stinky hands next time you use them.
Clean your Goggles
The bag that your Goggles came in or a Lens cloth are the best thing to clean off any snow residue from your goggles. Never use Glass Cleaner or any other non-goggle specific cleaning solution. Some Goggle Manufacturers do make a specific cleaning solution if you're really having trouble getting rid of something, but most of the time you won't need this. Never use paper towels, towels or any type of clothing to wipe your Goggle lens. This will creative tiny scratches and reduce the effectiveness of your Goggles.
Use a damp cloth and a little bit of mild soap, if needed, to wash the foam that comes into contact with your face.
Store your Boots correctly
Always store your boots at Room Temperature to avoid the shapes or liners being damaged by melting or becoming brittle. Be aware of underfloor heating!
Dry out the liners and you can always fill a sock with rice (tying a knot in the top) to put in each boot and prevent moisture build up, leading to mould.
Ski Boot specific:
• Always store your boots buckled up with the plastic overlapping correctly so that they don't change shape.
• Check the soles/bottom of your boots for excessive wear. If the soles become too worn, they can become too thin for the bindings and affect the release settings. You can usually replace parts of modern boots but if your boots are older, it might be time for some new ones.
• Check the tension of the screws as they can become loose over time and affect the performance of your boot. Just tighten them up (not too much though) with the appropriate Allan Key or Screwdriver.
Put storage wax on your Skis/Board
This one is super important as if the base dries out too much, it can permanently damage your equipment. If you don't live near somewhere that can do storage wax for you, everywhere is closed due to lockdown or you don't have the equipment (waxing iron- normal irons are too hot and should not be used) then at least get some rub-on wax.
Butta do a great Rub-On wax that is super affordable and they use natural products- not nasty chemicals. You can get some from most independent Ski Shops (support your local) or, if it's the only option, then from Amazon. Next time you get your Skis or Board serviced, they'll scrape the storage wax off and put the new wax on to your lovely, well preserved base/s.
The same temperature rules apply to Skis and Boards as to boots: try to store them in a (room) temperate stable environment.
Check your Safety Equipment
From Helmets to Avalanche Kits, make sure that your gear isn't damaged. A crack in a Helmet can go easily unnoticed but end up causing disaster in the moment that counts. You've now got plenty of time to get everything repaired or replaced. There's also so many great deals online at the moment as so many retailers are stuck with stock from last year.
Let me know if you think that I've missed anything off the list! The 'Rice-Sock' is a really great hack for keeping everything dry in storage, so give it a go.