The sun is shining, the bumps are soft and the mountain chickadee is calling for cheeseburgers – all signs of spring at Heavenly. And with spring in the air we know there are only a few days left of the ski season.
Now is a great time to start preparing for next season by buying discounted gear and taking care of equipment for summer storage.
Finding New Gear
There are some great deals around South Lake Tahoe – all products in True North, Butterbox, Burton, Mine, Oakley, Breeze and the other Specialty Sports Venture (SSV) Heavenly retail locations are currently discounted 20% – 60% off! Furthermore, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 pass holders get an additional 10% off with a flash of their season pass.
I was particularly impressed with the 2011 K2 Hardside Skis on sale for $299 (MSRP $875) at the Heavenly Sports store at the California Lodge. The Hardside was designed as a touring ski. But at 98 under foot it is also a great all mountain ski – giving float in powder with carvability on the groomers.
If you are starting out or know someone who is, you can pick up a new set of Salamon X-Wings with a binding for $299 as well.
Another great place to find deals is in the Cal Lodge store upstairs in the apparel section. An Armada jacket originally listed at $285 is now going for just $85.
Protect the Gear You Have
Repair Shop Supervisor Jim Fox knows that spring also means that it’s time to prepare equipment that will be unused for the next three to four months.
“For skis, you want to back your bindings down,” Fox says, “Take them down to the lowest setting. What that does is save your springs, which in turn will prolong the life of your binding.”
He says the other vulnerable area on both skis and snowboards are the metal edges. Moisture can cause the edges to rust. He also recommends cleaning the bases. The base structure collects impurities from various places like car exhaust or a dirty storage area. Maintaining the base will also help extend the life of equipment.
“For skis and boards, what you want to do is scrape, have the bases cleaned and apply a storage wax,” Fox says.
Cleaning before applying the wax is crucial according to Fox because otherwise dirt moisture can be sealed in under the wax.
He also has some clever tips for storing other types of gear, like lacing up board boots and buckling ski boots.
“Make it think the foot is in there to help retain the shape,” Fox says.
He also recommends putting all your winter clothing in a bag or backpack so it’s organized and ready to go when you need it in the fall. But he suggests putting helmets and goggles in last, so they are not squished in the bottom of a bag. All of this gear should be stored in a dry place, preferably inside your home. He says people living next to the ocean need to be especially careful because of the salinity in the air.
The repair shop can get your gear prepped for the summer for $15, which includes a cleaning and a storage wax application. Some people might recommend tuning your gear now, so it’s ready in the fall. But Fox disagrees, saying that it’s best to tune for the temperatures at the time.
“We can’t predict what kind of wax we need or base structure we’ll need to apply. Ideally, you want to stick with the basics – Put your storage wax on and a basic grind recommended by the manufacturer. Then you can come back and we can dial it in and apply the correct temperature blended wax. At the beginning of the season you’ll want this tuned up,” Fox says.
Don’t forget, the best way to prepare for next season is to lock in your season pass status. With just $49 by April 14 you get the lowest guaranteed price and six buddy tickets.