By David Potter

The fat lady hasn’t started singing yet, but I can hear her warming up in the wings. It’s been a great season and it’ll soon be over. Golfers and mountain bikers will replace skiers and boarders on the hills around Ellicottville.

But what do you do with your ski equipment when the snow melts? Do you just throw your skis in the corner of the garage? Maybe with your boots beside them? NO!

I have written about this before and it’s one of my biggest pet peeves—proper care and storage of your expensive and cherished ski gear. Most people lean their skis up against the garage wall at the end of the season and forget about them until the fall when the air gets a chill and the flakes start to fall again. This is not good for your gear.

Let’s start with what to do with your boots since these are the easiest. First, make sure the interiors are dry. Then clean the outside with a mild cleaner. Most importantly, make sure they are buckled. This will make them so much easier to slip back on in the fall. Finally, store them in a closet like you would a pair of very expensive shoes, which they are.

Now, the skis and boards take a bit more time. If your skis or boards are just left in the garage until the fall, bad things can happen. Concrete is moist and can and will sweat in the humid summer months. This moisture can work its way into them, especially where they rest on the concrete. Once inside, the moisture will start to cause delamination, which is the separation of the layers of the skis and boards. This will quickly ruin your favorite pair of skis or snowboard. I see this in at least one pair of skis each fall and I only tune the skis of my few friends. This can be prevented by storing your skis in a dry place like an interior closet. I hope I never walk into your garage to see your skis in the corner with the snow shovel.

In addition to all this, even more can be done to protect your investment.

Every spring, I do one last cleaning and tuning of my skis, along with the skis of the Usual Gang of Idiots. The first thing I do is clean the bases with a citrus-based cleaner. Spring snow is dirty. All of the crud of the full season is left behind as the snow melts. This leaves your skis with a nice coating of grease and dirt. The next thing I do is fully tune the skis including a nice layer of soft spring wax. This does two things. First, it makes it so much easier to ready your skies for the next season when you get them out of storage in the fall. And, secondly, the wax seals the ski and edges from any moisture that might attack the ski. This way you’re sure that your boards will survive the summer.

Of course, if you don’t have a friend like me, stupid enough to tune a dozen pairs of skis for free, you could always have it done by the ski shop of your choice. All of Ellicottville’s ski and board shops have professional tuners ready to help.

The most important thing is to take care of your investment so you can be ready to hit the slopes when the snow flies again. I’m already counting the days to opening day 2015!