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Time to pull out your gear before the Nordic season begins


December 02, 2010
As our clothing has gotten more high tech (or old tech with a softer feel such as Merino wool), the fabrics that are being used require special care. Using normal detergents ends up leaving residue that actually hinders performance AND can cause base layers to retain odors. In addition keeping the garments up to snuff in terms of wicking and breathing these detergents can also keep that gear looking new.

In addition to getting your gear clean and odor free, the last couple of weeks before the season really gets underway is also a great time to refresh those water-resistant coatings that our boots, jackets, and shell pants once had. Products like Scotch Guard, SnowSeal, Nik Wax, to name a few, can help keep water beading up on your boots and shell clothing all season without having a negative impact on the breathability of the gear. This is very noticeable when skiing during a snowstorm. After you've gotten your outerwear all clean you can also inspect it for any needed repairs, small holes, busted zippers, etc. can all be easily fixed. A quick trip to Ragged Mountain Equipment's basement usually will help you find the needed pieces and advice on how to best make the repair.

Now that you've got all of your gear out you can also check to make sure that your gloves and ski socks are in good shape. By inspecting your gloves often you can typically find when a seam is beginning to come apart and let your inner Betsy Ross fix those small issues before they become full on rebuilds (which is when I pull out the duct tape). By checking out your ski socks you can find the pair that has a heel that is a bit too thin and get them out of your gear bag before you head out for a 20km blister fest.

The other big advantage to doing this all now? It can give you a good start on your Christmas list for when the family starts asking you what you would like for the holidays. If anyone from my family is reading- ski socks and a new zip t-neck base layer (no amount of washing is going to save my 13 year old Craft top that has served me year-round for well over a decade).

For those looking to get on snow this weekend, Great Glen Trails should have limited skiing as they are working hard to host the Atomic Sprints on Saturday, Dec. 4. This race will take place at noon and features skiers from all over New England as they go head to head on a 1km loop. A great race to use as a season kick off or a great race just to watch, www.greatglentrails.

Now that we've taken care of the gear let's not forget to take care of the skis. On Monday, Dec. 6 head over to Jackson Ski Touring Foundation for Thom's Amazing Wax Demonstration at 9:30 a.m. Thom Perkins, Executive Director of JSTF, has waxed more skis than the Valley has skiers, and along the way he's learned a thing or two about how to make skis not only fast but also predictable in how they glide and grip. A great first timers' clinic or a refresher for the seasoned pro. If Monday doesn't work, Thom will be doing a special clinic on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 9:30 a.m. at the touring center, www.jacksonxc.org.

Sven Cole is a local skier and writer who has so far found six pairs of ski socks with holes and a few pieces of base layer that his wife has deemed a bio hazard, he'll be the one in line at the ski shop buying the sport wash by the case. Check out his daily ramblings at www.skiingwithsven.blogspot.

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