By BCA Ambassador Mike Duffy
We thought the snowmobile season was over in March, but it has kept delivering powder into June this year. I think I put away the sleds three times — but now kayaking is taking up my time and this is the final storage. Not only do the sleds need to be taken care of in summer, but also your avalanche gear needs to be ‘summerized’ and prepared for storage. My goal is to get all my summerizing done now, so when the snow hits the ground, I’m not scrambling to get gear ready. Don’t be the person at the first level I class of the season who can’t find their gear and their sled doesn’t start.
4 Easy Steps to ‘Summerizing’ your Sled and Avalanche Gear
1. The Sled: Clean, wash and inspect. Make a list of what needs to be done to get it ready for next winter. I tape this list to the instrument cluster. I add Star*tron enzyme fuel treatment or ethanol fuel stabilizer and run the sled for about 5 minutes. My Ski-Doo E-TEC engine has an “engine storage mode” which preps the engine for summer storage with simple pushing of buttons. Watch the Ski-doo E-TEC Engine Summerization Procedure Video and/or check your owner’s manual for details of what your manufacturer recommends. The E-TEC procedure can be different depending on model and year of your Ski-Doo. Please check your owner’s manual. I top off antifreeze and oil. Clean the clutches and lube the suspension.
2. Avalanche Gear: Make sure you don’t leave any food in the pack or your tunnel bag over the summer. Makes for a disgusting science experiment. Once again, I inspect all my gear. Inspecting seams, materials, cables and connections on Float packs. Going through contents and checking to see if anything needs to be added for next season. Pack is stored in a cool dry place and ready to go with contents inside. I also inspect my shovels and probes. I double check the function of my transceivers to make sure they are working properly. Take the batteries out of your transceivers to avoid corrosion from battery leaks. Inspect battery housing for corrosion on terminals. Take care of any problems now. Purchase fresh batteries and have them in storage next to your transceiver.
3. Clothes: Once again, inspect and wash. For washing, I have had good luck with Sport Wash. Treat outer layers with Nikwax TX. Direct spray-on waterproofing. Water just beads off. Waterproof your gloves. I store my gear in large plastic containers and a BCA duffel bag. The duffel bag contains all the clothing and BCA MtnPro protective gear I need to go riding. I grab the bag, my helmet bag and I’m ready to ride. Make a list of what clothing needs to be replaced and start shopping early.
4. Goals: Even though it may be 85 degrees out, I’m still thinking of winter. Good time to set goals for next season and figure a path to achieve them.
- Riding techniques you want to master.
- Places you want to ride.
- Avalanche safety classes to take.
- People to ride with.
- Mods to your sled.
- Events to attend.
Summers are short in the Rockies, so we make the best of them. Enjoy the off season.
Mike Duffy provides professional avalanche education for mountain riders through his company Avalanche1.com.