I must admit an odd fascination with ski apparel and gear. I really don’t need another shell, any more fleece layers, or even another pair of skis. Yet I find myself surfing the internet looking for wonderful deals on such items. I usually refrain from unnecessary spending, but the search, itself, can still feel like an entertaining treasure hunt– scarily even in mid-summer. With holiday gift season in full swing, such searches are much more appropriate, so here are a few prime treasure troves.
Sierra Trading Post has much more than just outdoor stuff, so for ski and snowboard gear, go to “Sports & Outdoors” and then “Snow Sports” to find literally thousands of closeout and overstock items priced 35-70 percent off retail. If you sign up for DealFlyer e-mails, you can receive coupons that on occasion trim an additional 45 percent. For example, a nice pair of Grandoe Primo Elite GCS gloves ($90 retail) recently came all the way down to $32 with the DealFlyer coupon. The available brands include names such as Marmot, Obermeyer, Mammut, Rossignol, Salomon and even really high-end Bogner.
Backcountry.com does not have the quantity of huge discounts found at Sierra Trading Post, but by not relying on closeouts or overstocks, the Utah-based website has a more stable selection of merchandise. In other words, if you already have a specific jacket or skis in mind, Backcountry.com will likely have it in stock. If you’re trying to decide between a few different choices, the site can also be a helpful source of information. The site’s gear experts are available for live online chats. The website’s customer base tends to be rather hardcore enthusiasts, so the individual product reviews can also provide good insights.
Backcountry.com does have a secondary outlet website, Department of Goods. The outlet has some good deals, but the available sizes tend to be on the far ends of the spectrum. The company also runs SteepandCheap.com, a one-deal-at-a-time site that has some good values if you happen to check it at the right moment. In January 2011, the company unfortunately shut down Tramdock.com, a site with the same concept, but limited solely to ski-related products. The ski gear now rotates in with camping, hiking and climbing stuff at SteepandCheap.com.
The Clymb offers a variation on the one-deal-at-a-time sites by holding 72-hour sales on just a few specific outdoor brands. The site is open only to members, but typically approves new applications within a matter of hours or days at TheClymb.com. The prices are generally very attractive, but the best items do seem to sell out fairly quickly.
Other favorite stops include Altrec.com, MountainGear.com, Evo.com, and REI.com. In fact, there are so many online shopping choices that a referral website, Active Junky, rolled out in August to help sort through them. The site also gives out a little bonus money in the process. When customers go through Active Junky to an outdoor online retailer and make a purchase, Active Junky receives a commission, then gives part of the commission back to the customer as cash back every 90 days.
Whether shopping for yourself or the perfect holiday gift, enjoy the search. Share in the comments if you find any great deals.