The ski season is over for most of the northern hemisphere, and if it isn't yet, it probably will be soon. Now that the snow has melted and you're trying to overcome the depression of another season gone by, it's time to decide what to do with the equipment that has treated you so well all season long. So what do you do with your gear when it's done?
There are several different approaches to preparing your skis for the off season. You could just take them straight out of the car and throw it in the closet or garage. You could wipe them down and put away inside the house. You could add a coat of storage wax and put them away inside. You could even turn the DINs down, rubber band the brakes up and lift the heel piece lever.
What I find works best is to wipe them down, bring them inside and let them dry overnight. Then,de-bur the edges with a gummy stone, add a coat of storage wax (hot scrape first to get dirt and crap off, then add a thick layer of wax and don't scrape) and put them on a rack in my room. I don't touch the DINs or brakes, I feel that it's unnecessary to do anything with them and it's just asking to double eject on opening day because you forgot to reset your DINs in your excitement to go skiing again.
Why should you do all of this? First, wiping them down and letting them dry out decreases the chances that water will get into the core, if water gets into the core it will add weight to ski and eventually lead to rotting the core. It also helps prevent rusty edges, rust on the edges will eventually eat away at them, making them more delicate, not a good thing when you're bashing them into metal things. De-burring the edges is so you don't have to do it next season, it will also help remove rust. And the storage wax will help protect the bases and prevent them from drying out over the off-season, it will also make them faster at the start of next season, really important when skiing on sticky fresh man-made snow.
A bit simpler than skis, but there's still options. You could do nothing, leave them unbuckled, covered in dirt and throw them in the garage. You could wipe them down but leave them unbuckled and bring them inside. Or, you could go all the way and clean them off, buckle them up and store them inside.
One of the best things to do is to first clean off all the mud I can, then take out the liners and let everything dry out overnight. After everything is dry, replace the liners and buckle all the buckles and store them inside somewhere.
Cleaning off the mud is really just so that you don't have mud in your house. However, buckling the boots up is very important, it helps the shells hold their form which will help them maintain their fit over the course of their lifetime.
Outerwear and Base layers:
Really, there are two options; dry it out and hang it/store it, or wash it and hang it/store it. Pretty simple.
What I usually do is wash all my outerwear with Nikwax waterproofing, hang dry it and either fold it up and store it in a box or hang it in a closet. As far as goggles, gloves, hats and stuff goes, I let everything dry (or wash whatever smells bad), and then store them in a box. Base layers get a wash and hang dry and then hung in the closet.
The Nikwax will help reinforce the waterproofing on your outerwear, washing and drying all the stuff you've worn over the course of the season...well that's just common sense.
So why go through all the trouble? I feel that taking good care of your equipment will make it last much longer and make my life even better at the beginning of the next season. On top of that, all of this work tends to give me some closure with the ski season, I tend to want to go skiing less because I just did so much work to get my gear prepared for the off-season. Is everything I do necessary, probably not, is there more I could do, probably, but this is kind of like my post-season ritual. So what do you do with your gear at the end of the season?