It’s time! The leaves say it, the frost on your windshield says it, and the dusting of snow at the ridgeline says it. Winter is coming, and we are stoked. There are still a few weeks before the resorts open and the backcountry is skiable, so here are 5 steps to get your ski gear in order.
Right Size: Sizing boots and skis for kids (and you)
For a well-fitting boot:
Toes should touch end of boot lining when standing straight up. This is because when skiers flex forward while skiing, their toes will naturally pull away from the front of the boot. If the boot is too loose, their heel will lift inside the boot, giving them less control of their skis and developing bad habits as they try to compensate.
If in doubt about your boot size, you can do a shell test at home. To do a shell test, remove the boot liner and step into the boot. Your toes should lightly be touching the front of the shell. If you have more than two fingers of space between the back of the boot and the heel of your foot, the boot may be too loose. Anything less than one finger of space, and it could be too tight. If you’re looking for a second opinion, stop in and we’ll do it for you!
How to size skis:
Skis for beginner children and teens should be mid-chin in height, with a ski that is narrow under foot and has some “shape” to it. Intermediate skis should be about nose to eye in height and can be a little wider underfoot. For advanced skiers, you are looking for a ski that is forehead height or taller. These more aggressive skiers may also appreciate both a more narrow shaped ski for carving and a wider ski for powder days. These guidelines can also apply in general to adult skiers.
Safe Gear: Check your helmets, boots, and bindings
Helmets have about a 5-year lifespan – assuming no crashes. A helmet should be replaced after just one significant crash. Each season, inspect your helmet foam for cracks, wear, or compressed areas. The helmet should also fit snugly and not wobble on your head; a slight amount of movement is okay.
Boots matter too:
Boots should be checked for wear on the sole, specifically the toe and heel pieces, which can wear thin over time. Thin toe and heel pieces create an unreliable release of the bindings and are a safety hazard.
Bindings are just a series of springs – and springs wear out over time. Each year, binding manufacturers release a list of their past products that are still certified for use. Once bindings fall off that list, ski shops can no longer work on them, even if the binding still appears good. Your local ski shop can help you look up whether your binding is still certified for use. At the beginning of the season, you should also have your bindings tested by a certified binding technician.
Waterproof Wear: Dry = Warm
Jackets and Pants:
Jackets and pants benefit from a regular “technical wash” a few times during the season, depending on how often and how hard you go. Technical wash products keep your clothes clean and breathable, but also maintain waterproofing. When you start to notice that water no longer beads up on your clothing, it is time for a waterproofing treatment. There are several products available, and Nikwax is one we recommend.
Leather gloves need to be treated with a good leather balm every year, pre and post season, and sometimes even during the season if you’re out a lot. We recommend being careful using products such as Snow Seal, because we have noticed that it can dissolve the stitching. Instead, consider using products such as Hestra Leather Balm or Nikwax Glove Proof – which also works well on fabric gloves.
Fast Skis: Stay in tune
Make sure your skis are working for you, not against you. Skis accumulate dust and rust over the summer, and they need a good tune and wax to perform their best. A bad ski with a good tune will beat a good ski with a bad tune all day long. Stop by to chat with one of our certified technicians, or check back on the blog for more detailed posts on ski maintenance.
Passes: Get them early and cheap
On our local hills, Halloween tends to be the cutoff for discount season passes. Make sure you get them early – Nyman’s sells season passes to Sundance Resort up through Halloween.