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Ready… Set… Ride: Get Prepped for the Season

By Kerry Phillips
Utah Ski Corner

Whether you’ve taken some years off or have been itching to get back on the mountain since the last lift shut down before summer, chances are you might need to do a few things to make sure you are really ready to make the best of a full day on the slopes. In order to make the most of you time, energy, and money spent at a ski resort, you’ll need to make sure you have the right gear, fitness level, and attitude for a fun and safe day of skiing or riding.

Our first newsletter of the season is geared toward making sure you are ready to go when that first chair starts moving in November.

Getting in “Gear”
The first, and maybe easiest, thing to consider is what kind of ski or snowboarding equipment you have, and what kind you need.

Snowboard boots are known for their comfort, but fit can be just as important when them as it is with ski boots. Your boots can make or break your day riding or skiing.

Most manufacturers say boots need about 5 to 7 days in use to really pack out properly and get to where they should be for the best part of their life. In turn, boot liners should be replaced after about 10 months of use. After that point, they are usually too packed out or pressed down and can no longer sufficiently hold and support your foot as intended. Time sitting can effect pads and lining just as time in use. The materials break down over time, losing their fullness and elasticity.

Drying out your boot liners after use can help extend their life. Remove the liners to dry them or use boot dryers, rather than placing your boots on a heating vent or by a fire. You also want to store your boots buckled up or tied to help them retain the shape. Storing them in the trunk of your car during the winter can make them difficult to put on when you get to the resort.

Rental Boots
In choosing a ski rental shop, it is as important as any other factor to know how often they replace their gear, especially their rental boots. Although most shops take good care of their boots and liners, and take steps to keep them sanitary, they do get a lot of use. A reputable shop will replace the boots every 2 to 3 years to ensure comfort and safety.

Skis and Snowboards
Good quality snowboards are usually constructed much a like a ski. The life span of a snowboard or pair of skis is difficult to predict as several factors play a role in their aging. The safe ski-ability of your gear will most likely outlast improvements in design, technology, and materials. Of course skiers who hit the slopes more often and ski aggressively will wear out their gear much more quickly, especially those who ski on backcountry terrain that might include cliffs and rockier conditions. While many manufacturers say the core of a ski will last about 100 ski days, most modern skis should easily last about 10 years if they are cared for properly. Maintaining the skis’ bottoms, by keeping them smooth and well-waxed and keeping the edges sharp will help last longer. The same goes for snowboards, and making sure they are clean and dry before storing them at room temperature will help extend their life as well.

If you are a beginner or don’t plan to ski very often, it can be much more economical to rent your ski or snowboard gear. But, just as in choosing a quality ski shop to rent your boots, you want to know that the shop you rent from has safe, quality gear. It is difficult to know with a newer shop if they have yet established enough vendor relationships to carry the brands you want, or if they are forced to buy gear from other shops or resorts that they are ready to throw out.

If you choose a shop that has not only been around for a while, but is still growing, you are more likely to be assured that they are doing something right and in addition to good customer service, they will often have the best relationships with top vendors and buy new gear directly from the manufacturers. You will get not only the newest in technology and design, you will likely get safer gear as well.

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