A wise friend once said, “The days stretch on forever, but the seasons fly by.”
She was talking about raising teenagers, but her comment makes me think of summer. No season flies by more quickly.
One day you’re at the beach and the next day the kids are in school.
One day you’re summiting a 14’er and the next day you’re digging out your ski gear, evaluating what still works and what needs to be replaced.
So, just in time for summer ski gear sales, here are some tips to help you figure out if it’s time to invest in new stuff.
Helmets: Do you know how old your helmet (or your child’s helmet) is? If not, it’s time for a new one.
Helmets have a life of about 3-5 years, because the foam and plastics in helmets deteriorate over time. No matter if you only ski a few times each winter, or a few times each week during the winter, it’s important to update your helmet, especially if you have fallen hard or your helmet has taken any heavy impact.
If you know your helmet is more than five years old, it’s time to go shopping.
Even more important, if you’re looking at your child’s helmet, make sure it fits. If your child is less than 12 years old, there’s a good chance he or she has grown over the summer.
Goggles: With a new helmet, often come new goggles.
Not all goggles work with every helmet. Ideally, the top of the goggles will align with the bottom of the helmet and there will be no gap. Good fitting goggles are designed to maximize ventilation and enhance your line of sight, all without the dreaded “gaper gap.”
You may also want to consider replacing goggles if you had trouble with fogging last season, the lenses are scratched or if the elastic in the band and/or the foam around the eyes is degraded.
Skis, Boots and Bindings
Skis and Bindings: Like helmets, skis and bindings also deteriorate with time, and updating them can be just as important for your safety.
Plus, BONUS! It’s fun to get new boards.
All skis will break down over time and with use.
A good rule of thumb is to consider new skis (or a snowboard) after 80-100 days of use. For some, this is one season. For others, it could be 10 years.
Changes in technology, your ability and, if you’re a kid, growth, will also dictate whether you need new boards.
In some cases, you may not have a choice about replacing your bindings. All bindings reach a point of no return, not because they don’t work but because all ski shops have a list of currently approved bindings. If your set isn’t on it, the shop can refuse to work on your skis.
Why? Because old bindings are considered unindemnifiable. That’s an insurance term that protects ski shops and techs from being sued if your aged bindings fail to release and you break your leg.
Boots: Boots, too, have a definite shelf life. Many boots “pack out” after 50 or 60 days of use, becoming looser and losing the tight performance fit that helps you turn efficiently.
You should also consider new boots if you can’t get your old ones dry or if they’ve gotten really stinky. Using a boot dryer after every outing will prolong the life of your boots, but at some point, if you’ve got sweaty feet, it’s better to start anew.
Hit the Sales
Labor Day weekend is now the de facto start of the winter shopping season with many ski shops and big box sporting good stores offering last-chance deals on last season’s gear. Many of them also discount their new gear as well.
Additionally, shop on-line, especially at sites like SierraTradingPost.com where you can combine steep discounts with online coupons.
Last summer, my husband needed a new helmet. Shopping in July, he scored a $150.00 ski helmet for $42.00.
That leaves him with $108.00 to spend on lift tickets…or beer.
Portions of this post originally published at Liftopia.com on September 22, 2014.
- How to Save Big on Kids’ Ski and Ride Gear, August 28, 2013.
- How Do I Tell if My Kid’s Skis Fit? October 7, 2010.
- Gear Junkies: Gear Strategy, Part One, August 10, 2010.
- Swap, Talk and Click: Gear Strategy, Part Two, August 12, 2010.
- Trade, Borrow and Beg: Gear Strategy, Part Three, August 17, 2010.
© 2015 – 2017, braveskimom. All rights reserved. Any use or publication of content, including photos, requires express permission.