Check the binding settings, make sure they get back to where they were last year if you released them over the summer…and no don’t crank them back up to 17, I’d recommend knocking them back maybe a din or two for the first few ski days…you’re not in top form…I think it’s better to come out than to wake up in ER. Also make sure those boots still fit properly…you can do this or take them in to Sturtevants and have them test the bindings…it’s much cheaper than ACL surgery.
Wax…if you haven’t in a awhile…why not? I believe you can’t wax a ski too much. WSB’ cycles as I call them-the more the merrier…wax, scrape, brush. Skis should have at least 3-4 of these cycles before being skied on….I typically put 15-20 on a brand new pair of skis. I use Swix BP88 base prep a a first couple cycle wax…a little tip…scrape while skis are still warm and you’ll pull out all that old stuff that builds up in there. Brush them out with at least 10-12 passes of a medium horsehair or combo horsehair/brash brush…using both is best…combo then horsehair. Brushes are available at Sturts also. After 3-4…or 15-20 WSB cycles, I typically for the northwest use Swix CH7 wax…it seems to be pretty fast and economical in most conditions we see. If you know it’s going to be warmer than about 30* I’d go up to the CH8..colder than about 24 I bump down to CH6. We’ll get more into wax in future posts re: Fluoro, hot boxes etc
Do your clothes still fit…try em on…might need to get over to Sturts to grab a new pair of pants. Check the goggles, helmets and the gloves too! Does anything need to be re-waterproofed for the season. Grangers and Nikwax have some great products you can get at Sturts if need be.
Boots…PUT THEM ON! So many folks don’t put their boots on before they hit the parking lot that first day and you know what…your feet hurt…imagine that, these boots never hurt last year…what gives? Well your feet spread out over the summer AND your feet are not acclimated to being in boots…so put em on…maybe 3-4 times for 10-15 minutes at a time. And don’t sit in front of the TV eating ice cream…walk around a bit in them(but stay off the wood floor or you’ll get yelled at)…your feet/calves will be happy you did that first day.
Is the car ready, snow tires on, chains that fit…anti freeze levels good…fresh oil change…a first aid kit, extra blanket and some flares in the car…got plenty of wiper fluid. I know its all common sense but that’s not all that common any more is it….be ready.
Ok now we’re ready…and headed up the hill. Main thing today is “get your ski legs”. Try not to bust off down the Queen or Upper International at mach schnell for your first run…that’s how people get hurt and seasons end on the first day. Take it easy…get a feel for the snow again, over emphasize turning, make sure to control your speed. Feel those edges work. I like to revisit the fundamentals the first day..pole plants, good balance, maybe some skiing on 1 ski to help with that, over exaggerating some of my movements to “wake up” my body. Like anything, common sense prevails and we want to have a long, enjoyable season, when you get tired…quit…even if you’ve only skied for an hour. If that’s your limit than so be it…trying to go all day is another reason so many people get hurt in the early season. It’s also a great day to take a lunch break…you’re not acclimated to the altitude yet and likely sucking wind pretty hard…a little break and a $17 cheeseburger are a good way to “ease your way in” so to speak.
Here’s some more tips from our friends at Renton Sports and Spine Physical Therapy.
3 Areas of focus to get your body ready…no it’s not too late
Legs…wall sits, lunges, squats, heel raises, planks, lateral jumps…get a Skiers Edge Machine!
Single leg stance on foam roll or pillow…try closing your eyes, slackline…if you dare….hip hinges with a dowel
Flexibility-exercises…hold stretches for 30 seconds
Calf stretch, quad stretch, low back stretch, hamstring stretch, hip rotators