Essentials: Board Care

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside Magazine, November 1994

Essentials: Board Care
By Seth Masia

Why is it that we'll carefully ponder how to spend $1,000 on ski equipment but not think twice about how we transport or store it? Here are some strategies for protecting your investment.

Cover Up Your Skis
After four hours on the roof rack, your new boards can arrive at the ski area detuned. A nice coating of road salt will rust the edges, leaving them soft, rounded, and rough, and oil and tar can soak into plastic bases, imparting a gluey quality to glide performance. So buy a stout ski bag to cover everything up ($30 or so will get you a sufficient, coated nylon model) and secure the whole shebang to the roof. Inside the bag, lash your skis together with a couple of padded straps--putting base on base will scratch them.

Air Out the Bases
Even a slight amount of moisture can cause the edges to rust, so at day's end give your skis a quick wipe with a dry, clean rag and air them out in the cabin. You also might want to polish the edges with a whetstone--not a file, which can remove a lot of metal and still not smooth out the big burrs--running it lengthwise, flat against the base. If you're calling it a season, get a wax job to seal the bases' pores. Polyethylene bases and edges can progressively dry out.

Mind Your Boot Liners
Boot liners won't dry if left in the shells overnight. Pull them out and remove the insoles if you can. If you're storing your boots, make sure the liners are thoroughly dry, place them back in the boots, and stuff them with paper. The concern is to preserve not the shape, but the lining: Mice have been known to raise their young in otherwise empty boots.

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