Renting Vs Buying Ski Stuff!
October 23, 2019
This is a good question and one which beginner skiers (and most skiers) probably wrestle with each winter before heading off to the mountains. There’s no simple answer and after asking all the ‘experts’ here in the Interski office, the most common answer was, drum roll… ‘it depends’.
It’s probably not the answer you were hoping for but let’s have a look at the reasons behind it.
Firstly, if you’re an experienced seasonaire who skis the Northern and Southern hemisphere most years then you have your own kit, which makes perfect sense and you probably wouldn’t be asking the question if you’re at this skill level.
Where the waters muddy is when you ski maybe a couple of weeks each season, feel confident on the slopes and fancy yourself as the next Bode Miller.
If we look at ski hardware first, then even if you’re ready to pull the trigger on the latest pair of Atomic Vantage TI skis or Hawx Magna 130 ski boots it might be worth renting a pair in resort to get familiar with them and to make sure they feel really comfortable and make skiing feel like you’re gliding through the clouds.
By renting skis and boots for a few days out in resort it allows you to make comparisons of the different brands available and if you really wanted to, you could even set up your own mini ski test during your break to find out which brands and ski type work best for you.
Even if you’re an experienced skier, then renting can make sense for those times when you want to try a powder ski on those fresh snow days or try out the lastest skis, with the latest tech.
Another consideration to buying your own equipment is the cost and convenience of ownership. With more and more low cost airlines flying to the airports within easy reach of ski resorts, the headline grabbing low flight cost is great, but you also have to consider those ski carriage charges.
Depending upon the airline you choose to whisk you off to your destination, you can be looking at paying upwards of £50 each way to check your snowboard or skis in and if not booked in advance, you may even find that you have to leave those brand new skis at home. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, you’ve got to lug your skis across the airport, find your car rental and then you realise that the 4 pairs of skis which have been brought along, don’t fit in the rental car.
Renting does make things easier, it removes some of the headaches and generally, if renting skis and boots in resort, you have the chance to rent the latest models at a fraction of the cost of ownership.
So that’s one side of the argument and after reading through the paragraphs above, you may think there are no reasons to buy your own equipment, but there is.
If you make several trips to the mountains each winter, then once you’ve taken in to consideration the rental charges, it’s probably just as cost effective to buy your own. Buying your own equipment also means that you’re familiar with your own equipment and you know that it’s comfortable due to your mouldered thermo liner or custom made footbeds.
So, that’s skiing hardware but what about software – ski jackets, ski trouser and all the other lovely accessories you’ll need to take.
Very much like skiing hardware, when you’re heading to the slopes that first time it can be a minefield knowing what to take, what brands are good, what features are needed and that’s even before you consider the costs attached.
If you’re skiing for the first time then renting ski wear really can make sense. The biggest customer complaint that we often hear relayed to us, from the hundreds of ski instructors we employee each winter, is that their ski group members complained of being cold and/or wet and uncomfortable; what a great introduction to snowsports and far from the epic experience we want them to have.
For obvious reasons, there are some ski wear and ski accessories that you wouldn’t want to rent. Wearing a pair of thermal bottoms the last week of the season which have been rented out for the past 10 weeks might not feel quite right. But for the big ticket items, items which you might only ever wear and use once, it can make sense.
If you’re still in the fortunate position to be growing yourself or have children or grandchildren who are still growing, then spending ££££’s on a ski jacket and ski trousers which might only be worn for a week during the ski season before being too small might be considered a bad choice.
Likewise, that bargain £15 ski jacket and £10 pair of ski trousers which you managed to pick up whilst doing the weekly food shop for your son or daughter might leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, but when your son or daughter is 1500m up a mountain in blizzard-like conditions, they might not be feeling quite the same!
The old idiom of ‘You get what you pay for’ unfortunately does ring true for a lot of ski wear purchases. However, instead of paying £300-£400 for a really good, all dancing, all singing ski jacket and £100-£200 for a pair of ski pants, for the cost of a takeaway on a Saturday night it’s possible to rent the all-important ski jacket and ski pants for your ski course.
As with renting your skis and ski boots, renting allows you to acquire very often the latest, most technical ski wear at a fraction of the cost.
Throw in to the mix that most ski wear can be rented in resort or sent directly to your hotel, then the hassle of all your luggage allowance being taken up due to bulky ski wear or having to wear 10+ layers going through the airport makes it even more convenient and cost effective.
Whether you decide to rent or buy there are a number of considerations to make, so look at the pros and cons of each and most importantly make sure that whichever way you decide to go, you are warm, dry, comfortable and safe in the mountains.