March 30, 2013

Skiing in Maine: You and your gear deserve a comfy summer


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The only reason, frankly, that I store my stuff at home is because I display my skis in my barn in close proximity to my canoe, kayaks, camping and fishing gear, bikes and motorcycle so that every time I make a decision about what summer diversion will occupy a particular day, I can be visually reminded that before too many months I'll be able to get back on them. Silly, perhaps, but it works for me.

A word of caution: The experts tell us not to hang skis by their tips, and not to store them in a ski bag over the summer, as moisture might cause some problems.

And don't neglect preparing your boots for the offseason, especially if you want them to fit properly for the next season. Needless to say, when you use your boots, moisture is created inside them. Left unattended, it can make your boots smell terrible or, even worse, mold may develop. I have a lifetime of ski seasons attesting to that.

Remove the liners and then clean the inside of the shells thoroughly with a damp cloth using mild soap and water.

Next, remove the insoles from inside your liners, then wipe them (top and bottom) to clean them. Try to avoid any repeated rubbing in one area, as this can damage your insoles and liners. Experience has taught me also to never put liners or insoles in the washer or dryer.

Let air dry for at least a day, then put everything back together and buckle or (for you traditionalists) lace them up. If you fail to do this, the material in your boots start to take on a different shape, which will mean they won't fit as comfortably next season. Buckle or lace them snug enough to keep them in the proper shape, but don't over-tighten as this can stretch the material.

You shouldn't store your boots on a basement floor, in a crawl space or an attic, or any environment that is damp or has high heat. They should be stored standing upright in a cool dry area of the house, like a closet to help keep them clean. It's also a good idea to put a plastic grocery bag loosely over your boots to keep out dust.

Following these steps before putting your equipment away for the summer will not only guarantee longer life, but a much easier transition into the 2013-14 season.

John Christie is a former ski racer and ski area manager and owner, a ski historian and member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. He and his son, Josh, write ski columns on alternating weeks. John can be reached at:


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