Summer Ski Care

Boulder Nordic & Cycle Sport Staff

As the snow melts and it's time to store your skis for the summer, remember to keep up the excellent care you've been providing your skis all season. Preparing your skis for summer and storing them correctly is vital; doing it right will ensure many more years of enjoyable skiing. Conversely, neglecting this can lead to reduced performance—or worse! 

The first step in preparing your skis for the summer is evaluating the condition of the bases: 

  • Are there lots of knicks and scratches? 
  • When you scrape your skis, is the base flat, or do you have to work your scraper to get all the wax? 
  • Are there areas of your base that don't seem to absorb wax? 
  • Does the structure still look defined, or is it starting to seem muddled?

The answers to these questions might point you toward a stone grind! A stone grind removes a thin layer of the ski's base, creating a fresh, flat surface with a well-defined structure. After you're done skiing for the season, spring is the best time to have your skis ground. The most significant benefit is that you're guaranteed to have your skis in hand well before you need them again. The other great benefit is that your skis come back to you prepped and with storage wax on them; there is no need to go through all the steps below. All you have to do is scrape off the storage wax next fall and enjoy!

If you do not need a grind, rest assured: preparing your skis for summer is straightforward. It may require a bit of elbow grease, but the effort is well worth it. You'll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to keep your skis in great condition.

The first step is to clean your bases thoroughly. If you're prepping classic skis, the first step is to get ALL of the kick wax off the ENTIRE ski. Of course, thoroughly cleaning your kick zone (including the groove) is essential, but kick wax has a habit of migrating all over your skis during the season. Take a moment to put some wax remover on a rag to clean your sidewalls and top sheet. Pay attention to the bindings, too. Once this step is complete, that's it; there's no need to put wax or tape over your kick zone—you're just going to put sticky stuff on it next year anyway! If you're storing skin skis, use a skin cleaner and finish with a skin wax.

Next, it's time to clean your glide zones for both skate and classic skis. After some good spring skiing, your bases are likely pretty dirty. We strongly recommend using a liquid glide zone cleaner for this purpose (for more on why we like glide zone cleaners and how to use them, check out this blog article). Before moving on from this step, brush out well, and see that your fiberlene comes up clean when wiping your bases. Also, double-check that all solvents from the glide zone cleaner have evaporated. 

Now, it's time to pick a storage wax. Old wisdom advised using a super-soft (e.g., yellow) wax, but we prefer something more practical. Utilizing a mid-range (e.g., red) wax allows you to protect your bases in the summer, and it will likely be good enough to ski on come fall—scrape and go! Holmenkol Betamix Red is our favorite for this purpose. Once you've picked your storage wax, apply a moderately thick layer, and that's it!

The final step is proper storage. Firstly, ensure that your skis aren't tightly bound together; if they're in ski ties, be sure they're loose. Storage under pressure for an extended period could affect the ski's camber and, therefore, its performance. Finally, find a cool place to store your skis. While some might think of keeping skis where it's warm, hoping to get the storage wax to saturate the bases, this is a bad idea. Skis are built using heat-sensitive epoxies, and prolonged exposure to heat could affect the camber of the ski or, worse, delaminate it. Yikes!

For more, check out our video on summer and travel ski care!