The first skiing tracks are being laid and the annual snow dance has happened. It is time, winter is here. And even though every fiber in your body is poised for skiing, are you sure your gear is as amped as you? This is my pre-season checklist. Inevitably every season I have to track down my lost Hestra glove and re-locate the resident boot spider. Get your gear in-gear with this simple list.
Every November I pull out my many skis. AH! Where did all these skis come from? Do I need to address my serious ski hoarding issues?
But seriously, it is imperative that your skis are ready for first chair. The key is to feel up and down the ski, thoroughly checking for tattered edges and rough spots that could potentially catch on something. Look out for rust too! I make sure I carefully even out any rough nicks with a diamond stone. Next I make sure that my top 3 skis get a full tune-up. This entails me dusting off my tuning bench and beveling the edges of my skis. I bevel half a degree on the base edge and three degrees on the side. In order to have an aggressive edge you need a higher edge angle. After this is dialed in its time to wax. In order to maximize my skis performance I never go without a full pre-season tune up. Un-waxed skis will undoubtedly make your experience less enjoyable. I am also a big advocate of “de-tuning” my skis, which knocks down the intensity of the edges. I find this particularly important to do on my high performance raging carver skis. This season take your skis into the nearest shop and get them tuned and wax. It is mandatory maintenance that will dramatically impact the beginning of your season.
Once the boot spider is happily relocated into my summer gear pile I can begin getting my boots ready. I literally tear apart my boot (liners and all). I make sure that all components function properly and that my boots are aired out. Next I assess how beat up the soul of my boot is. Yes, I am the type of girl who trudges across pavement in my boots. If your soles are trashed it will change the interaction between your boots and binding, which is potentially dangerous. Make sure you have a shop tech look at your boots in your bindings and assess the overall safety of your set-up. Today many boots have replaceable soles that are easily interchangeable. Remember, boots don’t last forever and at some point you will need to break up with your ski boot and fall in love with something new. Boots are hands down my most important piece of gear. If you have been skiing the same boot for years, it’s probably time to upgrade your boots. I am diligent about always leaving my boots buckled and bringing them in at night. If you don’t the plastic will actually morph and your boot will take on an alien shape.
At the beginning of every season I make sure that my boots work seamlessly in all my bindings. Make sure that you check your DIN settings, and that they are correct. Last spring I watched one of the best skiers I know forget to adjust a binding and visited him later in the hospital.
What is a DIN setting? It is the release setting on your binding that dictates how easily your foot will release from the binding. DIN settings must be based on the individual skiers weight, boot size, height, and skiing ability. If these factors fluctuate the DIN must be adjusted as well. Furthermore if you trade skis with a friend for a run remember that those bindings are not set for you or your boot. Because bindings are one of the most critical safety components to skiing I always check my bindings pre-season.
Skis waxed, check. Boots aired out, check. Bindings set, check. Now that your gear is ready, you just have to pretend to be interested in the last leaves of fall. Snow is about to hit and the lifts are already creaking into gear. Make yourself a pre-season gear ritual and get pumped for all the powder to come.