Is it necessary to prepare my skis for off-season storage?
Yup. First, it's a good idea to apply a coat of wax to protect the bases from "drying out" during the summer. Any wax will do; no reason to waste the expensive stuff. Don't scrape it. Just leave it until next winter. If you're not equipped, the local ski shop can put on the storage wax.
The shop guys may also recommend backing off the tension on binding springs by loosening the DIN down as far as it will go. (Of course, they'll also advise you to bring the skis back in the fall so they can charge you again....I mean, crank them back up.)
Can you do it yourself? Geek would never recommend it. Why? Because he's afraid of getting sued. But some skiers have been known to do this, being careful to mark where their DIN was set. The down side is forgetting you loosened your bindings, then remembering as you're launched out of your skis on your first run next season. Oops, you'll say. I backed-off my bindings to 2. So if you forget to do any of this, it might be just as well. Store your boards in a dry, cool place and your skis will be fine until the snow flies again. ¿The Gear Geek
Have a question for The Gear Geek?
Write Joe Cutts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use It Or Lose It
Do I hurt my skiing if I lay off the weights until fall?
There are plenty of ways to keep muscles toned without setting foot in a gym. One option is to set up a small weight set in your yard: a bench, a bar, a few dumbbells. If you don't have the dough¿or desire¿to assemble a backyard Bally's, try lower-cost equipment such as exercise tubing or an exercise ball, or scrap it altogether. Push-ups, pull-ups, stomach crunches and wall squats are a few examples of exercises that don't require gear (for more ideas, scan Ski Fit on skimag.com). And good old summer fun¿hiking, mountain biking, trail running, inline skating¿are effective complements to strength-training. But don't ignore your muscles. Stop working out, and you can lose strength quickly, at about half the rate of gain. But even a token weekly workout can keep you in the game: Research shows that in just one 30-minute strength session a week, you can gain 60 to 75 percent of the strength of someone who does the same routine three times a week. Translation: A half-hour a week in the summer can save your butt. ¿The Trainer
Have a question for The Trainer? Write Kellee Katagi at email@example.com.
Seek Help, Fast
Is there any way to improve my skiing during the summer?
Not long ago, I stood with former gold-medallist Phil Mahre watching an international slalom race in Colorado. Noting how technique had changed since his day, Phil remarked, "It's like these guys are on Rollerblades."
He's right. Watch tapes of last season's Winter Olympics in Salt Lake. See how the best slalom skiers show very little up and down movement, but spread their feet apart and smoothly roll both skis from edge to edge. There is no pivoting of the skis and rarely any skid¿just arc-to-arc carving. Balancing on inline skates is identical to standing over the sweet spot on a modern slalom ski. There is little margin for error. You can't be too far forward, and sitting back will put you down in a second.
Given the short shaped skis available to us these days, inline skating is even more effective for cross-training. I'm not talking about skating on roads and bike paths. Find a wide paved area with a gentle pitch. Try a local school or mall. Set up some traffic cones in your parking lot, and "run gates." Wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads and wrist protectors, and "ski" this slope all summer.
The real beauty of inline skates is that their rubber wheels won't skid. Turninng them feels just like carving. The more miles you skate, the more ready you'll be to make precise turns and impress your friends next season. ¿The Professor
Have a question for The Professor?
Write Stu Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org