Which is good, because my other favorite pursuit — skiing — takes a ton of gear and organization (thankfully, there are no tires to change!).
Although it’s still summer, here’s a short list of what you and your family will need when the snow flies.
At a minimum, you’re looking at:
- Long underwear/base layers
- Ski socks
- Fleece/medium weight sweater
- Ski pants
- Ski coat
And then there’s the hardware: skis, bindings, boots, snowboards. If you’ve got growing children or you’re a family new to snowsports, here are several reasons to consider renting equipment for the entire winter season.
Season rentals are equipment bundles that you rent in late summer or early fall, use all winter and return when the ski season ends. Ski packages include skis, bindings, boots and poles, while snowboard packages include a board, bindings and boots.
Because you only rent the gear once (and use it as much as you can), you only go through the rental and fitting process one time, well before the ski season begins. This will save you a ton of time and hassle.
Think about it: No more standing in a deep line waiting to pick up gear on a powder day. No more rushing in the afternoon to turn gear back in. You fill out the paperwork once. You meet with the ski tech who has time to ensure a proper fit and the gear is yours to use all season long.
Skis, snowboards, bindings and boots all wear out over time. If you know what you’re looking for, buying used equipment can save you money.
But, many of us, including me, don’t have the expertise to assess what we’re buying, especially when it comes to bindings and edges.
At some point, bindings get old enough that ski shops won’t work on them anymore. Likewise, metal ski edges can be worn down to the point where they can be sharpened no more.
If you are going to buy used equipment, find out how old it is, approximately how many days it was used and check in with a ski shop to make sure the bindings can be adjusted.
Or, go for season rentals. With season rentals, you’ll get professionally tuned and maintained equipment from reputable brands. Plus, many ski shops will tune your rental set mid-season. They want to ensure you’re having fun on well-maintained gear.
Kids grow and they don’t always grow at convenient times. If you buy ski or snowboard gear and it’s suddenly to small, you can trade with friends (your own personal ski swap) or buy more gear.
With season rentals, if your son grows three inches and his feet jump up a size between October and March, you can trade in his rental package for the correct size, at no additional cost.
Or, if your daughter has accelerated from a “never-ever” to an all-mountain ripper, you can trade in her short skis for a set more appropriate to her growing abilities.
Sometimes, you can even switch out skis for snowboards, or vice versa, if your children fancy a new challenge.
Season rentals generally run between $99 and $199. This makes them a great value whether your kids end up riding every weekend, or hang up the gear mid-season.
Adult Gear, Too
If you’re an adult who is new to snow sports, season rentals make sense for all the same reasons: ease, quality and value. Season rentals start you off on professionally fit, well-maintained equipment. Just as with children’s rentals, you should expect big-name, high-quality brands.
If you’re not 100% ready to commit to snowsports, season rentals can save you money and provide a solid foundation upon which to learn and build new skills.
More Gear Strategies:
- Need New Ski Gear? Tips for Knowing When It’s Time, July 27, 2015.
- Ski Mom “Secrets” for New Ski Moms and Dads, November 4, 2015.
- Fitting Kids’ Skis and Boots, October 1, 2012.
- How to Save Big on Kids’ Ski and Ride Gear, August 29, 2013.
- The Hard Stuff: Getting Your Ski Gear from Here to There, January 10, 2012.
- Confessions of a Colorado Mom: My Kids Need to Learn to Ski, January 5, 2011.
- How Do I Tell if My Kid’s Skis Fit: The Brave Ski Mom Gear Guide for Skis (and Poles), October 7, 2010.
- Gear Junkies: Gear Strategy, Part One, August 10, 2010.
- Swap, Talk and Click: Gear Strategy, Part Two, August 12, 2010.
- Trade, Borrow and Beg: Gear Strategy, Part Three, August 17, 2010.
- How Do I Tell if My Kid’s Ski Boots Fit? And More Importantly, How Do I Keep My Kid’s Feet Warm? October 14, 2010.
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