Summerizing Your Gear
So, most of you should have done this by now, (unless you have a board out for backyard practicing), but if you haven’t here is a quick and easy guide to putting your gear away for the season that isn’t that difficult, especially if you are caring for it properly during the season.
Step 1 Clean all your soft gear.
Now, for those of you new to this, you should NEVER wash your waterproof/resistant gear in “regular” laundry soap, because it removes the waterproofing. There are several companies out there that have special detergent for washing your snow gear; the one I use is Nikwax. Make sure you have the right detergents and waterproofing stuff on hand and get to work. (further blog to come on this)
Once everything is clean, pack it away. I have a huge bag we put it all in and that keeps everything out of and off of it, because the cats love to sleep on my snow gear (including the bag I store it all in), don’t ask me why.
Step 2 Air out all the soft gear that can’t go in the washing machine.
For things like boots and helmets, I wipe them down with a damp cloth to get all the surface dirt off them and then let them air out for a couple days to make sure that they are dry and ready to be packed away. I’m lucky in that my feet don’t sweat like many of my friends, so I only have to leave stuff out for a day or 2 (I usually leave them out for the same time I let my soft goods that don’t go in the dryer hang to fully dry). If you have stinky feet, let them sit out a little longer to air out and consider investing in a pair of inserts to help with the smell and the dampness.
Step 3 Pull all the bindings that may still be on your boards off from your last trip/ride.
This shouldn’t be much since it’s not a great idea to leave bindings tight on your board, even if you are riding every day. If you're adverse to taking them fully off because you are riding on them all the time, just loosen them and tighten them up before you go back out to ride. This will avoid the infamous “Binding Suck” that you can get on the bottom of your boards that really sucks, pun intended, especially for racers looking for that perfectly smooth base. Once they are all off, clean them up and dry off any moisture by wiping them down.
Before putting them away, this is a great time to inspect all the parts to make sure nothing needs replacing. Waiting until the start of the next season could make it s you can't use them while waiting for parts replacements.
Here is a trick my dad taught me to make sure I remember angles, stance distance, and what parts go with which bindings. If you’ve never done this before, now is a great time to start, so gather the following things before you pull your bindings: 1. Get a quart size Ziploc bag for each pair of bindings 2. Get a Sharpie to write on the bags 3. Get a Zip Tie for each pair of bindings 4. Tools necessary to remove and clean the bindings along with a tape measure
As you pull the bindings off the board, mark a Ziploc with the name of the bindings (just in case they get detached by accident) and if they were bought for a specific board you can put that on there too. Then add the Front and Back Binding Angles (for example, +15 Front/-15 Back), and then the stance distance, so you know what holes to put them in. If you ride everything the same, then it’s no big deal, but I find that I don’t ride the same angles for riding the back bowls in powder as I do my Boardercross board for racing, so it helps me not have to remember everything.
Once you have all the information on the back and everything clean and dry, you can just run the zip tie through the baggie and zip tie it to the heel cup with all the parts inside the bag sealed up tight.
Step 4 Clean and apply summer wax to your boards. This is another opportunity to take a good look at your boards, especially those that you may not ride as often, but definitely those that your rode last.
Wipe down the top sheet on your board. You should be wiping down you board after you ride anyway, but, this is the time to really clean those binding marks as much as you can and just keep your board looking good for a long time to come. Never use harsh chemical cleaners on your board, top or bottom. Mild dish washing detergent and a soft cloth will do wonders if you care for your board regularly.
If you are like me, and ride the crappy Mid Atlantic East Coast Snow, your bases probably need to be cleaned. I usually do this for the boards I’m taking to Nationals before I go and as the snow quality out there is usually MUCH better, it’s not necessary to do it again once I come back. A hot scrape will do wonders to pull out the dirt and junk that gets in your porous base throughout the season. There are plenty of videos out there on doing this that you can review, just remember to take your time in heating up the base and getting the wax to really sink in to grab all the dirt. (further blogs to come on waxing)
I clean up my edges, where needed, this usually just takes a gummy stone. DO NOT constantly sharpen your edges. Unless something happens to them, I usually sharpen them once a season. Edges are finite and unless you are independently wealthy and can afford a new racing board every season or 2 you need to take care of them and not take them off. Edges are also one of those things that unless you know what you are doing, take your board to someone that does and START LEARNING. (further blog to come on edging)
Lastly, let’s get some wax on that board. This helps keep the base from drying out and since you are going to cover the edges, it will also protect them from moisture and rust until the snow returns. No special expensive wax is needed, I get a couple 1 lb blocks off Amazon (I have lots of boards) and get to work.
Now, I’ll advise you to throw an old sheet, tarp, or something down on the floor of where you are waxing because you are probably going to be like me and end up with some on the floor and it’s a pain to scrape up when Dad sees the garage floor, trust me I know from personal experience. I don’t normally suggest anyone use the drip method when waxing as it tend to waste wax (especially for novice waxers) and tends to make getting the too much wax you put on a major pain, but this is the time to drip. You are going to put on a little more wax for a summer coat because it’s going to stay on for months and because you want to get it on your edges to protect them. The same process applies in TAKING YOUR TIME to heat the wax into the board. I know that getting it all off seems like a pain once you are back on the snow, but anything on the edges you miss, the snow will take off an it’s worth it to keep that base from drying out.
Once you are done, put them away some place cool, but dry. I do not suggest your garage in Virginia in the middle of summer as a good option.
Hope this helps, and though it sounds like a lot of work (and it is if you have a lot of gear), it’s worth it to take care of your equipment, especially when you don’t have unlimited funds to replace things and your gear in some cases isn’t easily replaced along with being expensive (Think Alpine Hard Boot Equipment).