Getting your gear dialed is one of the most important parts of ski and snowboard pre-season. But while most of our focus is on getting boots fitted and choosing matching outerwear, we often neglect the most important piece of winter equipment: our cars.
After all, without our metal steeds, most of us wouldn’t even make it out of the driveway, much less to the slopes.
To make sure our whips are ready for opening day, we put together a pre-season checklist. Here are a few tips to get on the road, and on the slopes, in great shape when the snow starts to fly.
Practice putting on tire chains
They may seem self-explanatory, but in the heat (or ungodly cold) of the moment, many people don’t have the slightest clue how to put on tire chains. Instead of waiting until you’re slipping off the road on a mountain pass, pull up a YouTube video and practice putting on your chains or cables in the comfort of your own not-yet-icy driveway.
Trust us, it might just save your ski day.
Don’t overlook roof storage
Yeah, that Subaru Forester has some pretty sweet trunk space, but with the right roof rack or roof box, that backseat gets a whole lot roomier (not to mention safer in an accident). Thule and Yakima have been the kings of the transport game for the better part of the last two decades and offer everything from a simple ski rack to a roof box capable of fitting multiple skis, boards and boots.
Check your defrost setting
OK, the heat is working just fine, but is your defrost setting functioning? This is usually a quick fix at the mechanic, and it can be the difference between seeing the road and driving blind with a layer of ice on your windshield.
No one needs to lose precious minutes on the way to first chair by chipping frost off the glass with a credit card.
Waterproof and then waterproof some more
Keep your car happy by adding a little extra protection this winter. Rubber floor mats go a long way toward preventing dirt, grime and snowmelt from ruining car interiors and they cost about $15 each. Trunks can also be outfitted with heavy-duty rubber matting, perfect for tossing in wet boots and soggy base layers.
If you want to take it to the next level, Rubbermaid tubs make great, scentless storage for those smelly ski and snowboard boots. (Just don’t leave them in there overnight unless you enjoy pulling on frozen-stiff gear in the morning.)
Do your tire research
“Buy snow tires” is possibly the most generic winter-driving advice out there, but it can mean a whole lot of different things in a whole lot of different situations. Live in a mountain town? Highway commuting to your skiing? Need to cross mountain passes to access the goods?
All of these things, plus the type of snow your region receives (icy, wet or dry), will make a huge impact on what type of tire you need. Take these factors into account and also examine your vehicle’s traction features — all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and traction control are not synonymous — before dropping in on one of your most important investments of the ski season.
More winter driving tips from GrindTV