by Jack Cook and Patrick Moore
With the arrival of noticeably earlier evenings, cool mornings and the turning of the leaves, we can begin to look ahead to the upcoming winter season. Planning ahead will also help you beat the inevitable rush at your local shop and ensure that you have access to the best selection and service. Follow these easy steps to ensure your gear is in top shape for the season.
1. plan Goal events
Before pulling out any of your gear, the first step is to review the calendar for the upcoming season. Identify your key events and consider the likely conditions. Wikipedia is a great resource and has summarized climate data by month for almost any location. This information will guide your decision-making around certain equipment needs.
2. Skis you Have
Start by wiping any dust from your skis that may have accumulated over the off-season. Inspect your skis for any major damage that may not have been addressed last winter. Pay particular attention to punctures in the top sheet, gouges in the sidewall and any delaminations in the base. Rectify as necessary.
Now would also be a good time to apply some fresh glide wax. After scraping and brushing the summer storage wax, iron in a layer of warm (i.e., yellow) glide wax. Allow to cool, then scrape and brush. Then, iron in a layer of colder (i.e., blue) glide wax to ensure maximum durability. Leave this wax on the skis and, when the season begins, simply scrape, brush and head out the door.
3. Skis you May Need
Considering your goal events for the year, ensure you have the right skis to provide the best chance of success. Do the characteristics of your skis match the climate of your events? Do you need to consider adding to your fleet? If so, fall is the time of year because it's when the best selection is available. Your coach or local shop will be able to provide guidance.
Stone grinding is also an option that warrants strong consideration. If you have a favourite pair of skis, a fresh grind will flatten the base, reveal fresh base material and impart new structure in the skis. Discuss your goal events with the grind shop to make sure the selected structure is appropriate.
4. Review your Wax Box
Starting the season with a well-organized and well-stocked wax box is a joy. Review your wax box and stock up on any staple products that are running low. Clean your brushes and clean and sharpen your scrapers. Replace your old and worn-out corks. Consider your goal events and ensure that you have the necessary waxes for those venues. Plug in your iron to ensure that it is achieving and maintaining temperature properly.
5. Other equipment
Carefully inspect your poles for signs of cracks or other damage. Replace worn-out handles and straps as necessary.
While wearing ski socks, put your boots on to double-check the fit. Inspect to ensure that zippers and buckles are in good working order.
And don't forget about your bindings. Open and close your bindings to confirm smooth operation. Make sure that the bumpers are seated securely and free of tears or cracks.
6. Gloves and Mitts
Gloves and mitts seem to wear out and lose warmth more quickly than any other piece of skiing clothing. Not to mention they tend to accumulate wax and other questionable substances! Start the season with fresh handwear appropriate for where you ski.
Spending a few minutes reviewing and planning for your equipment needs before the snow flies will allow you to transition straight to snow when winter finally arrives. And it will be here before you know it!