Ski Care and Maintenance

          Whether you own handcrafted skis/snowboard or a commercial brand, the care and maintenance is about the same. Basic care can go a long way to increase their longevity. Here’s a simple rule, use the ski racks at the mountain. It surprises me how many people just leave their skis laying near the racks for people to ski over, walk on and trip over. Please, do not drag your skis across the parking lot! Yes I see this all the time.

          I have 2 maintenance plans for my skis, the Après plan and Post-Season plan. Much of the ski care can be done yourself. There are many online videos that demonstrate how to repair, sharpen and wax skis so I won’t bother making a video. If you don’t have time, tools, space or knowledge to maintain your boards find a reputable ski shop to do this work for you.

The Après Plan –

          I use this plan after a day of skiing so they’ll be in good shape for the next time I want to hit the slopes. Take a minute to wipe off the excess snow and water. Use a Velcro tie when transporting your skis to the car, home or slope side condo. Securing the tip and tail is best. But if you only have 1, fasten it at the tip. This keeps the skis from scissoring which can dull your edges.

          Skis can pick up a lot of road dirt/salt when driving home, so wipe the skis thoroughly top and bottom. Check the bases for any deep scratches, dings or divots. Check the edges for dullness or burrs that may have been caused by rocks, dirt, trees, etc.

          For any divots that may expose the ski core, repair with p-tex. Sometimes p-tex will not hold in place. In this case use epoxy.  Let the epoxy set according to the manufactures instructions and then scrape smooth so it’s flush with the base. A good ski shop will able to make such a repair as well.

          Run a ceramic stone over the edges using a file guide to remove any burrs and polish the edges to keep them sharp.

          Wax is your skis best friend. Keep the skis waxed. A whitish appearance on the base indicates oxidation. Basically it’s plastic rust. Recondition the base by scraping and cleaning the base. Then wax the base thoroughly. Carry a small bar of wax and a green Scotch Brite pad or cork in your ski bag. In a pinch you can rub on a good coat of wax and buff it with the cork or Scotch Brite pad.

          There are a multitude of waxes on the market. Unless you’re racing or the snow is super wet/dry or you just like to spend money, use an all temperature wax. They work great for the majority of snow conditions. And remember, any wax is better than no wax.

The Post-Season Plan

               Eventually the ski season ends and biking/golf season begins. It’s time for long term storage for the skis. Store the skis in a cool dry place, preferably off the basement/garage floor in a rack. Ultraviolet light breaks down and weakens plastic. If your skis have a plastic topsheet (which most do) and you were to leave them in the sun for days or weeks on end, eventually the graphics will fade and the topsheet/base become weak and brittle.

               Minimally before storing the skis/board, wipe them down clean. Inspect the skis for any base or edge damage. Check for any repairs you might have to make before next season. Don’t ignore the bindings. It doesn’t hurt to wipe them down and give them a quick shot of WD-40. You could store your skis/board at this point. I prefer to apply a base coat of wax. Any wax will do, even paraffin. It’s cheap, it seals the base, protects from oxidation. Let it drip over the edges and leave it. This will help prevent rust. Don’t worry about scraping the wax off at this point.

               Don’t ignore the top sheet. I like to remove any little plastic furls on top sheet with a razor or 220 sandpaper.  Since I use wood veneer on my skis they may get chipped. Give it a light sanding and touch up with exterior polyurethane. Check the sidewalls. Some custom skis use wood sidewalls. To keep them looking great touch up any bare wood with exterior polyurethane, linseed oil, or tung oil. Even a coat of wax will work.

               Before you ski your first lines next season you may want to have a stone grind done on the base. This should be done at least once in the life of the ski to get the base flat and add structure to the base. For the everyday skier/boarder (dozen or so ski days) if the bases are in good health there is no need to have them stone ground again. The ski base is only 1.2-1.5mm thick so be sure a stone grind is really necessary.

               When the snow starts to fly again, scrape off the wax you applied earlier in the year. Apply an all temperature wax. If your edges are already in good shape your good to go for another season!

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