AS WINTER NEARS, the familiar butterflies return citing that eagerness to get out on the mountain. If you live in a ski town, you can access the backcountry which will scratch that ski-itch but if mountains aren’t in your backyard, don’t ignore the itch; go through your preseason checklist like I do:
1. Dust off the Sticks – That’s right, if you haven’t pulled them out yet, now is the time. If they’ve collected a little dirt give them a good wipe down with some warm well-diluted soapy water. After wiping them down, bring them to your local ski tech for a pre-season tune and binding calibration. Save your knees, get your bindings tested every year to ensure they’re releasing correctly. My go to tuning wizard is Brit at the Big Sky Repair Shop. With over a decade of tuning under his belt he delivers one mean tune.
2. Avy Gear – If you’re venturing into the backcountry, avalanche safety gear is a must. Be sure you’re not missing your shovel handle, probe deploys, first aid kit is fully stocked, and don’t be a cheapskate, replace your year old beacon batteries; no use getting yourself or buddy killed over a $3 buy from C&P Grocery.
3. Ski Wear and Accessories – Pullout the outerwear and baselayers, it’s ski season! Suiting up is one of the final checks to ensure nothing’s missing since your last ski adventure. And trust me things get lost. I’ve wound up with mismatched gloves, missing poles, to broken goggle lens and none of them were fun realizations and the last thing you want is to pull up to the mountain and figure it out there. Have no fear though, picking up new gear is exciting and Big Sky Sports has you covered; everything from clean socks to GoPro cameras and accessories.
4. Brain Bucket – Always check your helmet for dents or cracks not only at the beginning of the season but throughout. It’s good practice since the majority of helmets out there are only rated for 1 impact. So if you knocked your noggin last winter, pick up a new one, it could save your life.
5. Ski Pass Photo – Show off your creative side or wear what your Mom would have never dressed you in for picture day. I once pointed out a black eye that my best friend gave me just so I could remind him every time we were out riding. It’s your photo so take it how you want it to be taken; great pass photos are true keepsakes.
Following this list will assist in making a stress free and fun first day on the mountain. And if you’re proudly wearing a smile, I’ll know it all worked out. See you out there.