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How to store cross country skis

Skis hanging on a rack
Knowing how to store cross country skis properly helps prevent them degrading from season to season and ensures they’re ready for great gliding next winter (Image credit: Kyryl Gorlov)

Where do you store your cross country skis when you’re done with them for the season? In the garage with your tools? Hanging on a rack on your front porch? In the back of your truck? Wrong on all counts if you want them to be in good shape for next year. Knowing how to store cross country skis properly helps prevent them degrading from season to season and ensures they’re ready for great gliding next winter. 

What is the best way to store skis? 

It’s easy to just stash your cross country skis somewhere out of sight. After all, you don’t always know which ski day is going to be your last of the season and sometimes you’re just excited about the warmer weather. But when the snow has well and truly melted, if your cross country skies are still lying in your basement or stashed in a bag somewhere, they’ll be left open to oxidation and warping, which can dry and degrade the bases and rust the edges over time.

Once you’re sure you’re not going to use your skis again till next year, dig them out along with the rest of your kit and prepare them for storage. 

Skis and other gear stored in a garage

It’s easy to just stash your cross country skis somewhere out of sight like the garage (Image credit: laughingmango)

1. Clean your cross country skis 

You don’t want to pull out dirty skis next winter and small particles of dirt can lead to rusting edges or speed up degradation. Grab a sponge and a bucket of lukewarm water with a little dish soap and give your skis a quick scrub. Rinse the soap off (you can use a hose) and wipe them down with a clean towel and let them air dry for an hour. 

At the same time, you might as well give your cross country ski boots a brush off and wipe down. Then, while you’re waiting for your skis to dry, you can wash your ski gloves

A man waxes skis

Give your skis a good clean and wax before you store them and they'll be in tip top shape for next season (Image credit: Yelizaveta Tomashevska)

2. Wax your cross country skis 

Waxing your skis definitely helps them perform, so long as they're waxable skis and not fish scales. You may not be thinking about this if you’re getting ready to store them for months anyway, but it also keeps the bottoms from drying out. Follow the instructions in our article on how to wax skis and as a bonus benefit, when you pull them out for next winter, they’ll be ready to glide! 

3. Leave your bindings alone 

Ignore any outdated advice about adjusting the bindings – new cross country ski bindings are designed with tension and you could lose that if you release them. 

A messy closet with skis and other gear

An interior closet in your home that is temperature controlled and away from sunlight is ideal for storing skis (Image credit: Marc Dufresne)

4. Store your cross country skis 

When your skis are clean and waxed, they are ready to be stored. It doesn’t matter whether you store them horizontally or vertically. What’s most important is that you find a dark, temperature controlled area in your house that is neither too humid nor warm. This might discount handy storage areas like your garage, basement and attic unfortunately, but an interior closet usually works great as does the area under your bed. You should store your boots with your skis since they require the same conditions.

Finally, if you use a bag to carry your cross country skis around during the season, don’t store them inside this bag, which can trap damp.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Adventure.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.