Ask the Professor: Summer Ski Storage

Fall Line

Dear Prof,My uncle, a lifelong skier, says to tie my skis together and place a block of wood under the bindings for the summer. Is this how I should store my gear?

Kevin Moriarty

Kalamazoo, Mich.

Your uncle's advice harkens back to the days when skis were made of wood, and they could go "flat" in the off-season if you didn't store them with a shim between the bases to preserve camber. Modern skis tend to have less camber and rarely go flat. But they still need to be prepped for summer and stored carefully. At the very least, have your local ski shop put storage wax on your ski's bottoms so that the base material doesn't dry out. Ideally, you should get a complete, end-of-season tune, so you're ready to go when the snow starts flying again. Once tuned, store your skis in a dry place. New skis can warp if they stay damp for months. Hang them vertically, so the tails don't sit on a floor where they can absorb moisture. You can also ask your technician to lubricate and loosen the tension on your binding springs. This ensures good function and adds life to the bindings.

Boots also need end-of-season attention. Before storing them, remove the liners and dry them thoroughly. Then place them back in the shells, buckle the boots, and store them in a dry place.

When you put them on again next winter, you might wonder, "Are these my boots? They don't fit any more!" If this is the case, chances are your liners contain "flow," a Silly-Putty-like material, and it has settled a bit. It needs time to remold around your feet. If the flow is cold, this takes a long time. To avoid unnecessary agony, put your boots on the night before your first runs next year, and walk around for a while¿inside, where it's warm. The flow will quickly return to all the right places, and your boots should feel fine your first day out.