THE BLOG
05/02/2014 01:42 pm ET Updated Oct 14, 2014

How to Care for and Store Your Ski Gear in the Off-Season

The end of ski season always brings me mixed emotions. On the one hand, I hate to see winter go. Yet, on the other, I'm happily anticipating summer.

Still in between the fun of winter and summer there lies something that no one really likes, but everyone needs to do -- spring cleaning.

The Soft Stuff

No matter how many times you've skied this winter, your ski coat and pants are probably dirty. Between riding lifts, loading skis and occasionally falling down, ski clothes take a beating all season.

Most outerwear is treated with a durable water repellent (DWR). This is what causes water to bead up and roll off, instead of soaking in. Over time and with each washing, this treatment will wear off. To preserve and revitalize this coating, you need to take special care with your ski pants and jackets.

Smart Washing

There are a couple of ways to protect and revive the DWR on your clothes. According to the experts at GORE-TEX, a good way to protect your clothing is to wash your outerwear in cool water on the gentle cycle with a powdered detergent. Put the clothing through two rinse cycles to ensure that there is no detergent residue, dry everything on low and then go over the outside of the garment with a cool iron.

If the DWR is already compromised, follow the same washing instructions except this time, use warm water and apply a spray-on waterproofing before tossing the clothes in a warm dryer. Follow up with a warm iron, as needed.

Having completely destroyed a couple of rain jackets by not washing them properly, I now flirt with overkill. I use NIKWAX Tech Wash and their spray-on waterproofing, TX.Direct, every time I wash our ski clothes (other brands include Tectron and Revivex).

I also try not to over wash them. We ski a lot, almost every weekend, and I probably only wash our outerwear twice each season unless something is really nasty.

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Smart Storage

Once everything is clean, I like to hang our jackets and pants in the closet, while storing everything else (helmets, gloves, neck gaiters, and so on) in our boot bags where it will be ready to go when winter comes around again.

And speaking of boots, thoroughly dry them out after your last ski day, buckle them up (not too loose, and not too tight) and pack 'em right back in the bag.

The Hard Stuff

Taking the time to prep your skis at the end of the season makes good sense from a financial and practical point-of-view.

On the financial side, you've got some serious money invested in your set up, so why not take care of it? And on the practical side, if you tune and wax your skis now, you'll be ready to ride as soon as the lifts start turning.

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Here's what we suggest:

  1. Have your skis tuned, or tune them yourself. Clean the bases and sharpen the edges.
  2. Using an all-purpose wax. Apply a 1/8 inch coating to the bases. Let the wax harden and do not scrape it off. If you don't DIY, ask your ski shop to apply summer wax.
  3. Strap the skis together, base-to-base, without touching.
  4. Store your skis (laying flat or hanging) in a cool, dry place away from sunlight and avoid humid areas like basements.
  5. Come winter, just scrape and go!

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Visit here for more tips on ski waxing, including a list of tools and step-by-step instruction with photos.

This post originally ran on the Liftopia blog.

By Kristen Lummis, The Brave Ski Mom (@BraveSkiMom)

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