Winter is upon us. The weather in Bellingham is gloomy and grey. You may feel more depressed than usual, more solitary, more introspective. Unless, that is, you are one of those unique human specimens who look forward to winter. Why would you fall under this category? Because wintertime means snowy mountain passes, and snowy mountain passes mean hours of ski and snowboarding fun, and hours of ski and snowboarding fun means smiles on those crazy winter kids faces. There are few barriers that will successfully prevent a passionate skier or snowboarder from taking ride after ride down a mountain. However, if your equipment is not properly cared for, you may experience significant challenge to smooth riding, and may even find yourself crashed on the side of the trail rather than gliding swiftly down its center. Well, my snow-covered friends, the Outdoor Center has a special service geared just for you.

For a mere $2.00, you can service your downhill or cross-country skis, or snowboard, using all the center’s maintenance equipment. This includes brushes, files, scrapers, base cleaner, and more, plus safety equipment to protect your precious eyes, nose, and lungs from any toxic intruders that may try to invade your system while you are at it. If you have your own wax, you can use that, or you can purchase wax at the OC for $3.50. From there, the world is your oyster, or rather, your snow-covered fantasy land. “It’s a self-service repair shop, with mechanics on duty to help you,” said Dave Gertler, a Bike Shop Technician at the OC, who doubles as a veteran winter sport enthusiast. “We’ve always had a shop to repair and service our own equipment, but this is the first time in recent history that we’re doing it as a service for everyone,” he said. “It’s a good service. It’s a nice price, and you’re not going to mess up your room or make your roommates mad from dripping wax all over the floor.”

Scotty Dusek, a staff member at the OC who was in the process of waxing a pair of skis when I came in, said that it takes just 10 minutes to wax your equipment. If you are doing more in-depth maintenance, it still won’t take you more than 25. Waxing and proper care is an easy way to improve the performance of your equipment, which means you will be in a state of virtual flight as you sail on down a pass, instead of falling or just creeping along due to neglectful treatment of your gear. “Skis take regular abuse,” said Dusek. “The edges rust, you get a core shot… skis perform 75% better when waxed and tuned, and it’s also safer.” Gertler added that “if you ride regularly, you should be doing it every couple of weeks. It’s a constant upkeep.”

Gertler said that the service has already proved successful, and that students are really using it. You can bring your skis or snowboard to the OC anytime during normal business hours, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to get the job done. “Just don’t wait till the last minute on Friday to come in,” he said, as you may encounter a line. Just imagine: the “friendly staff, good times, and good music,” that Dusek describes as the ambience of the OC, can be all yours as you treat your equipment to some special waxing love.