SkiTrax - - Contents - By Jack Cook and pa­trick Moore

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!

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