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Deciding if you should buy, rent, or lease the ski or snowboard equipment you need to have an enjoyable time on the mountain is not an easy decision. For some, the first question when deciding between renting, buying, or leasing is the cost associated with winter sports. However, there are a few more important factors that need to be brought into the discussion before you make your decision.

Beginner, Intermediate, or advanced?

Your skill level can play a huge influence your decision whether to own, lease or rent gear. If you are a beginner, then renting has its benefits. You might start as a skier and realize after a couple of trips to the mountain that skiing isn’t for you and you’d rather snowboard, or vice versa. Renting ski or snowboarding gear allows you to figure out if you enjoy the sport and it is a great introduction to ski and snowboard equipment. However, rental gear is often nowhere near as good as retail gear in terms of performance, fit, and the ability to progress yourself further into the sport.

If you’ve been skiing or riding for a couple of seasons you will start to figure out what you prioritize as far as performance and comfort go. Intermediate to advanced skiers and riders usually have their preferences somewhat dialed in so buying gear that fits those wants and needs is important to ensure a good experience on the mountain. As you grow into the sport as a skier or snowboarder, the runs you want to do and riding style you have may become more aggressive or more one dimensional (carving focused, soft snow focused, bump runs etc.), so it is important to have your own equipment. For riders and skiers who go often and are comfortable on the mountain, it is recommended to own your skis or snowboard to enhance skiing efficiency, performance, and comfort. Having gear that is specific to your skiing or riding priorities and current abilities will help you grow into the sport as well as make those winter activities more enjoyable for you and the crew you get out there with.

How often do you go skiing or riding?

Another factor in deciding between owning, renting, or leasing gear is how often you ski or snowboard on average each season. For example, if the average daily rental fee is around $60-120 per day per person and you only go a couple times per year, it may be more cost effective to rent. However, even if you only ski a few times per season, over the years the rental fees will add up quickly. If you go skiing or riding five times a year, three seasons of rental fees will be roughly equivalent to cost of purchasing your own gear. Cost aside, dealing with rentals is often a hassle and isn’t generally an enjoyable way to kick off the ski day. Having your own gear just makes things a little bit easier.

What’s my age again?

Rentals for younger children make a ton of sense. This is quite simple; it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to buy a very young kid gear right out of the gate. Young kids are best served by rental equipment as they may not end up skiing all that often while they’re little.  For growing children or more serious skiers/riders, it makes sense to lease, as their size can change abruptly but you still get better gear than your average rental. Adults or kids who are just about done growing obviously do not have this problem because other than some weight fluctuations, their bodies and foot size remain mostly consistent.

Leasing your gear (Just like leasing a car)

Another, and somewhat practical, option is seasonal leasing. In theory, leasing your skis or snowboards annually, or every other year, guarantees that your gear will be fresh every season or so. This is a step up from full on rental equipment. Also, leasing solves the issue of kids outgrowing their gear or renting every time you show up to the mountain. This method is also good for adults looking to try something new without having to commit to buying gear right away.

BYOB: Buy your own boots.

Ski and snowboard boots shouldn’t be treated like bowling shoes. Boots are the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to ski/snowboard gear. You should have your own boots. It’s okay to rent while you get your bearings and get exposed to the sport but having the correct boots for your feet is essential. Boots are the most important item in terms of performance, comfort and being able to have a great day on the hill. Being in properly fitted boots allows you to get the most enjoyment and performance out of your day at the mountain. Your ski or snowboard boots  should never be a factor in how long or how often you get out on the hill. To fully enjoy the day and get the most out of your skis or board, you need a pair of boots that fit correctly. Rental boots are usually built for the widest feet and the widest ankles, most people have neither of these. If you’re progressing into the sport or have been skiing/riding for a while, purchasing a pair of properly sized boots should be the first thing on your to-do list as your putting together a set-up.

Maintaining Purchased Equipment

If you purchase skis or snowboard, annual maintenance and repairs keep your gear performing optimally. Along with maintaining performance, proper upkeep will extend the time between purchases of new equipment. Bringing your equipment to professionals is often recommended, however, if you are interested in maintaining the gear yourself you can purchase a tuning kit.  Ski or snowboard tunes can range from $50-$100 depending on how much work you need or want done to your equipment. Keeping skis or snowboards, tuned, waxed and ready to ride is the best way to ensure you have an awesome day out on the mountain.


No matter what gear you end up on, just remember: You can’t Après if you don’t ski. #SENDIT

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