Sad, but true: The time is near when skis and boards will go into storage until next winter.

Prep them for their off-season with a good cleaning and coat of wax that will protect the base during spring, summer, and fall.

It's easier than a full tune-up, as edge sharpening is optional.

Here's how:

Set the skis or snowboard on a flat surface - table or workbench - base up, held firmly in place by clamps of some type.

Wipe down the base with a clean, dry cloth.

Brush the base with a stiff brush. Some people use wire, others consider this anathema and use only nylon bristles.

Melt on cleaning wax by holding a stick of wax to a warm - but not too hot - iron, over the skis, and dripping a line of wax drops from one end of the ski to the other.

Iron the drops into a smooth coating. Then scrape it off with a plastic scraper. This wax was only to clean the bases by picking up every speck of dirt, oil, or grease.

Then brush the base again with the stiff brush.

Then melt on another coating of wax that will remain on the skis, protecting them through the down time.

Make sure they are not sitting on concrete, but either hanging on the wall, or sitting on wood.

When next season rolls around, scrape off that wax, check the edges and sharpen as necessary, and hit the slopes.