When you were little, did your mom break out her checklist one sunny day and just go to town on the spring cleaning? Some may remember the almost-possessed sparkle she had in her eyes as clothes were pulled out of closets and piled on beds, rugs overturned, and the contents of cabinets strewn about. You ran to your room to guard your toys, fearful the mom tornado would come clear the clutter in one fell swoop.
Today, in my house, something similar happens. And while I may act just as possessed as my mother did back then, I can’t equivocally say that I’m dusting down cabinets, vacuuming curtains, and yard saling piles of clothing. Instead, I wait for a sunny day to retire my boots for flip-flops, and begin swapping out my winter gear for the summer lineup.
Maybe you have a spring-cleaning regimen of your own? Or, maybe spring cleaning is the farthest thing from your mind, as you pull your bike off the wall and head south. If the later is more your style, this post is for you.
Step 1: The Dry Out
Don’t wad you gear in ball, shove it in the corner all muddy and spent, and call it a day. Instead, separate your skis, pull your bindings off your snowboard and your liners out of your boots, and hang clothing and accessories out to dry. No one wants a pigpen tagalong when the early-season day is deep.
Step 2: Base Preparation
Skied straight to the car on last run? Well, it’s never too late to practice good gear-preservation habits. First, clean the base of your skis or snowboard with a citrus base cleaner (ALWAYS use the natural, eco-friendly kind). Next, run a file down the edges, shaving off the burrs (if you’re too lazy, just use a gummy stone to eliminate the rust). Lastly, drip a layer of very hard wax onto your base. We prefer to use Bluebird’s Cold Wax (always local, always eco-friendly). And don’t scrape it!
Step 3: Remove Mineral Buildup from your Poles
Don’t get stranded in the backcountry with a pair of collapsible poles that stick. Eliminate this aggravation now by full expanding your two part-poles (careful now, don’t get aggressive and pull them apart). Take a cotton ball and a little isopropyl and wipe the lower shaft of your poles to remove the white deposits. Let dry, then collapse them about half way and lock ‘em off for storage.
Step 4: De-funk Your Clothing
Depending on your mid-season maintenance, this could be gnarly. First, remove random items from the pockets, clip off you ski pass, and pop your outerwear into the washing machine. Use warm water and natural, fragrance-free detergent. If, despite your best efforts to look fresh, your outerwear has stains (ketchup or lift grease, maybe?) then break out the OxyClean. This stuff works wonders! For a more eco-conscious version, make your own.
When the wash cycle is over, hang your gear out dry until just damp, and then throw it in the dryer. Contrary to popular belief, the high heat of the dryer actually opens the pores of your technical fabrics, allowing them to work better.
So before you head to the desert, or somewhere even more luxurious, take a sec to prep your gear for storage. And while you’re off peddling your bike or paddling your board, remember us folks stuck in the high country, riding out the weather and making the fuel for when you return home.