Ski Patrol Tutor Paula Roberts

It’s always too easy to just put your ski gear in the cupboard at the end of the winter season and forget about it until next year. We can all admit to times when we’ve pulled gear out the day before heading to the mountain and suddenly remembered what we meant to fix or prepare.

As the nights get darker and days cooler, right now is the perfect time to get it all out and ensure it is “fit for purpose” ahead of another great winter on the slopes. And it’s worth noting that there are plenty of Easter weekend sales coming up to replace things that have seen better days.

Here’s my pre-winter checklist – take a bit of time now and you’ll thank yourself later.

Ski gear

  • Skis – make sure they’re edged, waxed and tuned ready for opening day
  • Bindings – check they still function well. In particular, check that brakes engage when the binding releases, the DIN setting is right for your height, weight and ability to prevent knee/lower leg injuries. If your changing boot size, the binding will need to be adjusted (you can find a lot of info online, or have a professional check it for you).
  • Boots – check buckles are in good working order, soles are not too worn, inner sole or foot-bed is in good condition, rivets are all in place, and the size is still right.
  • Eyewear – check your goggles are still good. Sunglasses need to be good enough for strong UV sunny days.
  • Helmet – make sure it hasn’t had any major knocks and doesn’t have any dents or cracks in it.
  • Clothing – check you have plenty of warm stuff for those early season cold shady days sitting on the chairlift.

Ski touring gear

If you plan to head a little further than your chairlift takes you, there are a few extra steps to take.

  • Avalanche transceiver – batteries should have been taken out at end of season; if not, ensure contacts are clean, new good quality batteries are loaded and check the transceiver works. Does it need a firmware upgrade? If possible, do some backyard search practice with a friend.
  • Shovel – check that both the handle and blade are in good condition
  • Probe – check it works first go when assembling
  • Skins – the glue can “go off” if stored in a hot place over summer. So, check the glue quality to make sure it is not going to stick to base of your skis! You can re-glue skins with reasonable success. 
  • Group emergency shelter – it’s worth thinking about having one of these. A BOTHY bag is a good lightweight option. Here’s an example:
  • First aid kit – ensure the contents are still good for use.

With a bit of pre-planning now, you can get to the mountain faster, have more fun and be safer! Enjoy