The most important thing you can do to keep your equipment long lasting is giving them the maintenance they deserve! After a couple fun sessions on the mountain, it may be time to get them Sharpened and Hot Waxed. But how often should you tune your skis/snowboard, and how can you tell work needs to be done?
Having sharp edges is very important to the safety of your ride. With a persistently sharp edge, your ride will be more consistent and you will feel more in control. If you attempt to carve on an unsharpened edge, your edge will not catch, causing a fall.
Michigan mountains are well known for their hard snow and icey conditions. This contributes to the wearing down of the metal edges. These edges also tend to rust overtime. You can look down the length of your edge to check for rust spots. Depending on the conditions being riden, and riding style, edges will wear at different rates. A good test to see if your edges need a sharpen is to gently scrape the back of a finger nail on your ski edge. If you it doesn't scratch some nail material off, it's time for some service.
Riding your skis without wax is like riding a bike with flat tires. It's never a bad idea to freshly wax your equipment. Wax allows the skis glide, by making them hydrophobic. This means the skis won't stick to the melting snow! Ski and snowboard bases are porous, this means that when heated, the wax permeates into the base of the ski to protect it from contaminates that could harm your ski. For in-between waxing's, there are hard waxes and pastes to rub on your base that will significantly increase your glide, however these waxes wear out more quickly and will need to be reapplied more often.
To know if your equipment is in need of some wax, look for roughed up or dry areas on the ski. There are different kinds of wax for separate situations. Temperature specific, high speed wax, etc. However, for most people, a universal wax will do just fine. Stop in to your local ski/snowboard shop and ask questions if you would like specific advice.
Keeping your skis/snowboard well maintained is the key to getting longevity out of your equipment. As every rider progresses, it's important to learn more about your equipment. Experimenting with different styles can help you find the perfect setup for your specific needs! Hopefully this article will give you a good idea of how you can inspect your own equipment. If you are ever unsure of something, don't hesitate call or stop in to your local ski/snowboard shop and ask. Professional service and advice from a local expert is priceless.