At Start Haus, we have some of the most passionate, knowledgeable and savvy customers around – but everybody makes mistakes. Over the years, patterns emerge, and our top ski testers, bootfitters, tuners and experts weigh in on the most common mistakes – and how you can avoid them.
1: “People don’t wax their skis often enough – most of the bases that come into Start Haus are dry. That makes them slow, the bases aren’t as well protected, and if they get really dry, the bases can get warped. Some people wax every time they ski, but you should at least every 2 or 3 days on the snow.” – Collin, ski tuner.
2: “Not drying skis off and leaving them on the roof rack or in the car all night is another big one – the edges will rust and ruin your tune. Wipe them down with a towel and keep them inside. It also helps to pull them apart instead of storing them base to base.” – Collin, ski tuner.
3: “Skiers need to be honest with themselves and realistic about where and what they’ll actually be skiing, rather than what they dream of skiing because of the pictures in the magazines or shots in a ski film. Don’t get swept up in the hype of the latest trend when it may not be right for you. In Tahoe, that may mean a narrower ski than you think, for example.” – Jim, Start Haus owner.
4: “Ninety percent of the boots we see bought at big box stores are the wrong size. People buy them to be comfy and cushy out of the box … but then the boots break in. When the boots are new, they shouldn’t be painful, but they should be firm. It takes about 10 days of skiing for boots to brake in and be comfy. We build a foundation with a footbed, make the adjustments that need to be made, but you still need to break in the boot.” – Jason, bootfitter.
5: “A simple one is getting your heel properly seated in the heel pocket. People put their feet in boots and their toes feel too tight, but you need to properly buckle the boot and flex into it a couple times to seat your heel to get the correct fit. If the toes fit without doing that, the boot is probably too big,” – Doug, bootfitter.
6: “Putting ski boots on cold is a big one. You should get boots as warm as you can – don’t leave them in the trunk overnight. Your feet will be cold all day, they’re harder to put on and get off, and they’ll be less comfortable. Get a boot drier like this or a heated boot bag like this.” – James, bootfitter.
7: “When you’re buying a binding, you’re buying the housing, not the DIN rating. This is getting more important with wider skis – I’ll see people that are technically in the right DIN range with the binding, but the frame is just overpowered by the skier, so they don’t get the same control over the ski. The body of the binding can’t handle the shock.” – Phil, sales.
8: “The worst I see is people wearing cotton as a base layer – it absorbs moisture and keeps you cold all day long. You’re best bet? Pick up a synthetic or wool base layer, you’ll be warmer, dryer and more comfortable.” – Jennifer, soft goods sales.”People who don’t wash their clothes is another big one.
9: “Dirt and oil are ruining the DWR treatment on your pants and jacket and clogging up the pores on the waterproof membrane, so your shells won’t keep you dry. Get a detergent made for technical outerwear – like the TOKO wash – and follow the directions on your clothing label.” – Jennifer, soft goods sales.
10: “People get too aggressive with their goggles – they’re a piece of eye wear, so you don’t want to manhandle them. I see a lot of goggles with severely scratched lenses or broken straps – don’t use the finger of your gloves and don’t pull too hard on the straps.” – Allison, warranty & special orders.
11: “I see people with helmets that are too big all the time. It should fit like a firm handshake – snug but not tight, it shouldn’t rattle around at all. You should also replace your helmet after a good crash, or every five years.” Jennifer, soft goods sales.