1. Take Stock: Go over any equipment issues while the season is still fresh in your mind, and address any fixes you’ve put off. It’s discouraging to bust out the gear for a new season and see that core shot’s still there, that buckle’s still bent, that basket’s still missing.
2. Get Them Tuned: Shops are busy in the fall, and so are you. Take your skis in now for the post-season tune and any other backshop business. While you’re there, it’s always worth asking if the shop is selling any high-end demo models at season’s end.
3. Or…Coat With Travel Wax: If you tune your own skis, give them an end-of-season tune, then slather on a thick coat of cheap, soft wax and leave it (don’t scrape). This helps keep your bases and edges clean, rust-free and uncontaminated. (Don’t forget to scrape the wax off in the fall.)
4. Clean and Store Boots Carefully: Boots get filthy, especially if you’re tromping around muddy parking lots on sunny spring corn-snow days. Take them out of the bag, clean them, and also clean the inside of the boot bag before replacing the boots and storing in a cool, dry place. Remember, two things love ski boots especially: mice and mildew. Plan accordingly.
5. Tuning Bench: It’s time to dismount the vises and put the tuning tools away. Take inventory of stuff that needs replacing (wax, brake holders, worn files) and get it done now. Scrape wax drippings off bench and floor and sweep up filings and wax/sidewall shavings. Store all tools tidily, keeping all the waxy stuff (scrapers, brushes, bars/vials of wax) separate from all the metal-working stuff (files, file guides, gummi, stones) so that waxing stuff doesn’t get contaminated with filings and files don’t get clogged with wax. Protect any file-guide faces that come into contact with your ski bases from damage: even a small nick can mar your ski base with every stroke.
6. (Do Not) Relax Binding Springs: Some grizzled veterans still do this because it gives them peace of mind to know that their release spring is relaxed and therefore not at risk of permanent deformity (or whatever), but this isn’t necessary anymore, if it ever was. If you do loosen, it’s crucial to remember to retighten in the fall (or risk prerelease and possible injury on your first run of the season). Tape a reminder to your toepieces with DIN values written down. And remember if you do touch your DIN settings you’re letting shop and manufacturer off the hook in event of a binding malfunction.