If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a skier or snowboarder who likes to save money. Well you’re in the right place. Not only can you find great deals on lift tickets here at Liftopia.com, but we’ve got the story on how to save money on ski and snowboard gear.
Let’s get right to it.
While many resorts sell their demo skis and boards in spring, many retailers put last season’s gear on sale in August and September. And, unless new “gotta-have” technology has been rolled out, buying last season’s gear is a solid way to save cash.
Utah retailer Ski ‘N See is typical with their Ski-O-Rama sale which began on August 22 and runs through this Labor Day weekend. At their sale, Ski ‘N See offers used demo skis and boards with bindings for between $300 – $400. New equipment from last season is also discounted sharply, while soft goods, like coats, pants and helmets are marked down 50-70%.
In addition, most summer sales also have steep markdowns on new gear. But these deals don’t last, with prices going back up as the winter approaches.
If Labor Day has come and gone by the time you read this, you may have missed some local sales, but many stores keep their discounted prices through September. It’s definitely worth checking.
Do Your Homework.
While buying a coat online is pretty straight forward, buying skis or a snowboard may require some research.
If you tried some skis or boards last season and know what you like and what you want, it’s easy: just get online and search for the best price.
If you don’t know what you want, Kayla Barnett of Ohio’s Aspen Ski and Board Company suggests reading reviews in the major snow sports magazines and online.
Choose the type of ski or board you want and then search for a good price. Once you find the price, call and speak directly to the staff.
Ideally, the person who answers the phone can answer your questions knowledgeably, make suggestions and help you determine the best gear, and the best deal, for you.
While you can find great deals on sites like eBay, if you are not 100% certain that you’re getting what you want, it’s reassuring to get help from an expert.
Swap For a Cause.
If you miss the pre-season sales and you want to touch what you buy, your best bet is a ski and board swap. Good swaps provide a place for ski shops and manufacturers to sell last season’s unused gear, as well a place where the general public can come and sell (or trade) their used and outgrown stuff.
One of the biggest swaps in Colorado is the Winter Park Ski and Board Swap. It’s a big affair with close to 60 vendors from across the western U.S. and large crowds. To get the best deals, and the best gear, Peggy Smith of the Winter Park Competition Center suggests getting to any swap as early as possible.
Ski swaps often charge vendor and admission fees. Typically, these fees benefit a race club, the ski patrol or a local charity. Plus, swaps are usually a bit of a party, where friends and ski buddies meet up after the long summer and get stoked for the winter ahead.
Rent Once or All Season Long.
Rentals are a great money-saving option if you only ski or ride a few times a season. Whether you rent from a shop or resort, you can rent or demo equipment for a day, a week or a season. This is an especially good option if you are traveling a long distance to ski or ride, or if you have children who are growing.
In addition to renting the hard stuff, you can also rent brand new ski and snowboard clothing from GetOutfitted.com. Choose from GetOutfitted’s inventory and they’ll mail clothing, goggles and even helmet cams to your destination. After you’ve used these items, mail them back. They’ll take care of the cleaning and make sure everything is as good as new for the next guest.
The Bottom Line.
Ultimately, saving money comes down to your preferences as a consumer. If you’re a person who knows what you want and you want it now and you want it new, it will likely cost more. If you’re willing to buying used demo gear or new gear and clothing from last season, you’ve got a lot of options for big savings.
Where do find the best deals? Are there specific sales that you never miss? Or websites where you’ve found great gear?
Ski Utah has posted the best ski swaps in Utah. Visit this link to see them all: http://www.skiutah.com/winter/blog/authors/yeti/2013-ski-swaps