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How to Put Your Ski Gear Away for the Summer

With tips from Doug Evans, a guy who never puts his ski gear away.

Colorado-based skier Doug Evans—aka @dougtheskier—skis 12 months a year and has for the last 235 months. That’s nearly 20 years of not missing a single month on snow. That even includes the day in March 2008 when he skied on one ski with crutches and a boot cast after breaking his leg. “I ski snow patches and strips, mostly in the Colorado Front Range, that I’ve discovered over the years,” Evans says. “Some are well known, others are not. Drought years are difficult and require a lot more work for much lower quality skiing.”

Despite skiing 12 months a year, Doug Evans still has some pro tips for storing your gear over the summer.

Despite skiing 12 months a year, Doug Evans still has some pro tips for storing your gear over the summer.

 As this ski season winds down for most of us, it’s that time of year when we begin to think about putting away our ski gear and pulling out mountain bikes and camping stuff. And yes, we realize it’s a bit senseless to ask the guy who never stops skiing for tips on how to put away your ski gear for the season, but Evans has to take care of his gear better than most, since he demands year-round use from everything he owns. And, it turns out, he does put things away.

“I usually don’t even think about putting away gear until the lifts close in Colorado in June or July,” he says. “In the mid-summer months, I ski on a 100mm underfoot ski with alpine bindings, since the snow is usually firm, skinning is usually no longer an option, and approaches become hikes. I stash away the fatter skis with AT bindings and most of my warm ski clothing.”

Here are tips on how to care for and put away your winter gear to keep it going through as many seasons as possible.

Clean and Wax Your Skis

“It’s good to clean any of the dirt off the bases of your skis as soon as you’re done skiing,” says Evans. Wax skis but don’t scrape off the wax (that’ll protect the base material from drying out) and store them in a cool, dry place like a garage or shed without a leaky roof to prevent rust from forming on the edges and the oxidation of the bases.

“Some folks turn down the DIN on their bindings but be sure to stick a piece of tape or sticker on the toe piece to remind you to turn them back up before skiing,” adds Evans. “I have friends who have grabbed skis in mid-August and forgotten to turn the DINs up. This resulted in a prerelease on the first turn. Also, at the beginning of the season I like to cycle my DINs—turn them all the way down and back up—to make sure there’s free movement in the binding springs. If you are not a ski tech, get your bindings calibrated by a shop if you have any suspicions of binding damage.”

Boot Care

Make sure your boots are dried properly before you put them away. “I always pull my liners out after skiing in order to dry them and keep undesirable odors to a minimum,” says Evans. “After they’re dry, I put the liners back in and buckle the boots. I’ve made the mistake of leaving a pair of unbuckled boots in a hot car trunk after a summer road trip to Montana. The cuffs completely straightened out and were hard to buckle for a while. Heat moldable liners can obviously be affected by hot storage methods.”

Outerwear Maintenance

Make sure your down jackets aren’t crumpled up tightly in the bottom of your pack—ideally, they should hang or be stuffed loosely in a bin. “I pack away clothing I’m not using—jackets, gloves, hats—in dry containers, like large plastic tubs, or backpacks that I’m not using,” says Evans. “I always empty the pockets, because I once left an energy bar in a jacket pocket in my garage and during the summer, a mouse chewed through the jacket to get to the prize inside.” You can read up on Flylow’s suggested product care for washing and applying a new Durable Water Repellent, a good thing to do at the end of the season. Also, if you need anything repaired—zipper repair or patches—now is a great time to take care of that.

Remove the Batteries from your Beacon

“I remove the batteries from my beacon to prevent corrosion,” says Evans. Be sure to follow your beacon manufacturer’s guidelines, update any software, and remember to put in new batteries before your next backcountry ski day.

Clean Out Your Pack

If you’re not using your ski pack in the summer, clean it out so there’s no snack bags or food waste leftover, clean and dry your water bottles or hydration bladders, and store everything away. “Any packs that I’m not using get packed up with winter gear and stored away,” says Evans. “Sun and moisture do the most damage to gear so always keep things in shady, dry places.”

Restock Your First Aid Kit

“I carry a small first aid kit for day missions and a bigger kit for multi-day trips,” says Evans. “I try to check and replenish it a couple of times a year. I also check expiration dates on any meds and hand warmers in first aid kits. And be sure to unfold any emergency blankets or tarps to check for tears.”

Farewell, ski season... see you next fall.

Farewell, ski season... see you next fall.