Winter is finally here and it’s time to embrace the winter wonderland that is Whistler. If you’re planning to hit up Whistler Blackcomb to slide on snow this winter, you probably have two main objectives: to have fun, and not get hurt. The most sure way to accomplish both of these objectives? Take care of your gear. Beyond your personal skill level, having well-maintained gear is absolutely essential to having a good time in the mountains. Here are some tips on personal gear maintenance and how to keep it in pristine condition throughout the winter.
Proper gear maintenance is a year-round routine, although less intensive in the offseason you’ll surely set yourself up for success year after year if your routine begins when you put your gear to rest for the summer. When you’re storing your gear, as tempting as it may be to leave it “as-is” after a long season and tuning is the last thing on your mind (did someone say bikes?!), it is absolutely essential to store your gear for the summer in a cool, dry place (i.e. don’t leave it outside), and leave a layer of wax on it. This will ensure that the base won’t dry out, your edges won’t rust, and you won’t need to do much before your first day on the hill.
FIRST DAY OF THE SEASON
Speaking of your first day, having well-kept gear in the early season is as important as ever. Be sure to scrape the wax off your board and tune your edges. Tuning edges can be key if the winter starts slow – you’ll thank us when you’re carving icy groomers while the rest of the skiers and riders slide around helplessly – fresh edges keep you safe in compact conditions. Get the pros to check it out at because you most likely weren’t putting your edges to the test shredding in the last skied/boarded spring conditions. And if you’re gear’s getting pampered it means you can embrace some apres of your won, check out “How to Party In Whistler” for inspiration.
DAILY GEAR MAINTENANCE
Yeah, we said daily – don’t be scared, this one isn’t intense. After each day, have a look at your ski’s or board. Run your fingers down the edges to notice any burrs, check for dings in the base. If you’ve got scuffs along the edge, this can affect your control on the hill, and you’ll want to buff them out. Dings can be especially hazardous—even if it’s a small ding, you’ll want to either get it professionally repaired, or use some p-tex to fill It in. Water in the base of your sliding stick(s) can lead to delaminating, which is an irreparable problem and might cost you a pair of skis or snowboard.
If you hit a rock and have bad edge damage that affects your riding, immediately stop riding – this can affect your own safety, the safety of others and your gear could be done for good if you don’t act fast. Beyond a full broken in half ski/board, there isn’t much the professionals can’t fix, so don’t think “Oh, it’s already broken, so I’ll just keep riding it.” Avoid further damage and the possibility of letting water get into the base, and head to a professional to help fix that board and let it live on for years to come.
WHAT ABOUT WAX?
Fair question and a crucial one for gear maintenance 101. For the casual skier, waxing every 10 times you get up the mountain (as long as your bases aren’t getting dried out – looking white of feeling dry on the bottom) would be smart, but it never hurts to baby your skis. Take care of your gear, and your gear will take care of you. You won’t get stuck on traverses, you’ll save yourself a headache, and maybe most importantly—you’ll be faster than all your friends.
Happy shredding is safe shredding and safe shredding means taking care of your gear. So happy shredding this season friends, we hope this “gear maintenance 101” blog gave some insight for another great season on the slopes!