Ski and Boot Maintenance
Keeping you kit in good condition not only saves you money, but ensures your skis and boards are performing to their very best for as long as possible.
New skis tend to come waxed and ready to go, which is a good thing as you want to get out and use as soon as you can! This factory wax tends to be enough for a week’s use, depending on conditions. If your skis do not get any scratches on the bases or edges and if the edges do not need sharpening then all you need after this is a hot wax to make them as good as new.
If you feel that the edges do not offer you the grip they did at first, or if you can see/feel scratches in the base of the skis then you want to take them to a good ski shop for a bit of TLC. They can advise you on which service you need to get the skis ready to go again. At the end of the season if you're only going to do one thing, make sure you wipe your skis down with an old towel to make sure they’re dry before you put them away. Otherwise a layer of rust can build up on the edges.
If the edges are corroded when you take your skis out for your next trip, the bases probably needs a base grind and a good waxing. A full ski service starts from around £35, while a basic service is around £20. Not all snowsports shops do an equally good job at tuning skis, so ask around for specific recommendations.
You could put your skis in for a full service before you put them away for the summer, then next winter you’ll be all ready to go. It can also be a good idea to coat the bases and edges in a thicker layer of wax. This process is often referred to as storage wax and your local shop can do this for you.
If you fancy a bit of DIY, you can keep the bases from drying out by giving it a storage wax yourself: Apply a thick layer of hot wax, iron it in to the bases and over the edges, let it dry and don’t scrape it. Tools to wax your skis can be bought at all good snowsports shops. It’ll prevent the bases from drying out and won’t allow rust to form on the edges. Next winter you'll need to give the bases a good scrape before hitting the slopes.
Ski boots need to be dried out thoroughly at the end of each trip before they are put away for storage. In most ski boots you can take the liners out of the shells, which can help the drying process. If you remove your liners to dry them, make sure they are somewhere warm and dry but away from any direct heat source, especially if you have a heat-mouldable footbed or liner.
When putting your ski boots away it is best to do up the buckles and straps roughly in the position they're in when skiing. This helps to maintain the shape of the boots and can reduce potential pressure spots developing in the shell. It’s also best to store your ski boots, once fully dry, away from direct heat and light and in a well-ventilated location and ideally in a boot bag.
You should also check the soles of your ski boots regularly for excessive signs of wear. Walking in them on tarmac, grit or other hard surfaces can quickly wear down the heel and toe pieces which can significantly affect the boot's functionality and safety in the binding. If the heel or toe becomes too worn it may not work properly in the ski binding.
The good news is that most heel and toe pieces on ski boots are replaceable. You can buy protectors for the soles of your boots that also offer increased grip on snow. These do need to be removed before stepping into your bindings though. The main brand of these is Seirus Cat Tracks.