Check you ski equipment

If you grabbed some new snowsporting gear at the Labor Day sales around the lake, great.

I'm sure you looked it over carefully before pitching out the plastic. If not, here are a couple of quick checks you can make to make sure everything is right or works.

If you bought skis, take them one at a time and hold by the tip. Look down the surface to check the edges and the Ptex for bumps and pits. New skis encounter a lot of bumps en route to shops, so be sure and check brand new ones right out of the box for dull or burred edges. Edges should be clear and without nicks or burrs. If there are those imperfections, get out the stone and file and clean them up. If you race you'll want 90-degree edges but for most of us a bevel of 2 or 3 degrees is recommended. If you've got the tool you can add the bevel if needed; if not repair to your local ski shop.

Take a straight edge and run it up and down the ski crosswise. If the edges are high, you're facing railroad tracks. If the Ptax is high, you're on skids. Fixing this is something for a pro to smooth out, but make sure that it gets done. If you don't smooth the surface you'll either have a hard time turning or a hard time not skidding around.

No need to text the flex in the time honored way of hold a tip with the tail on the floor and pressing with a hand. Unless you've got something to compare the flex to it doesn't mean much. This is not a problem with new skis usually, but demos or used skis may be too soft. As skis are used the longitudinal fibers flex and snap, weakening the ski. And there's nothing that can be done to restore them.

Much of the above applies to snowboards as well.

New or used, bindings need to be checked every season as springs weaken, rotary pieces bind. Just because they worked fine last year there is no assurance they will this year. Again a trip to the ski shop is in order. More on all this when the snow starts flying.

As for yourself -- If you spent the summer hiking the Rim Trail you're probably ready for snowsporting. If not and you've just been playing tennis or ball, you probably want to start working on the legs. Everyone has a favorite exercise for this. One of the best, however, is to put your back to a wall or against a plastic exercise ball against a wall and sink down until your thighs are not quite parallel with the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can, up to perhaps five minutes. Rise, then do it again.

Rope jumping is another way to get the legs nimble. And if you live in a two-story house running up and down the stairs 10 times a day will get things rolling. OK, so just walking up and down 10 times is OK. You might try yoga-style deep breathing exercises on the stairs.

Another fine warmup for skiing is a dry land version of hop turns. Find a level place and jump back and forth twisting the body on every jump. Hop turns get skiers ready for the bumps and powder when getting air is critical.

Outdoor events

Sporting Rage is out kayaking again this Sunday at 9 a.m., heading for Fallen Leaf Lake off Highway 89 past Richardson's Resort. Same as before, call before 6 p.m. for reservations, fee is $69,95 and includes breakfast, lunch from Java Joe's and all gear and instruction needed. Phone 885-7773.

I don't know if this qualifies as outdoor action, but the Cornfield Maze at Bartley Ranch Regional Park in Reno opens today. It consists of 8-foot-tall corn on a five-acre field with twisting corridors leading to an exit. Or a dead-end. While smart hikers will be able to figure it out in about 30 minutes, those of us with weak internal compasses may take up to an hour. The maze will be open through Oct. 31 from 4 p.m. on with weekend hours. Fee is $5.50 for adults, $3.50 for those 4 to 11 and free for those 3 and under.

At Alpine Meadows Sept .20 there will be the world premiere of "Soul Slide" by Unparalleled III. Screening will be in the Alpine Meadow Lodge at 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 and it's an all-ages film. A raffle and DJ music will follow. Call (530) 525-6962.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.


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