cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

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nick evets
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cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by nick evets » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:36 pm

Lately I've been taking one ski vacation a year, and renting. Recently I bought a pair of boots, as my feet are wide and rentals simply don't fit properly.
This leaves me still needing to rent skis/poles/helmet (maybe $30/day?) vs. buying -- say $500 -- and having luggage costs, since I'm flying.

It's pretty small potatoes, but wondered if anyone decided to just exclusively rent. Traveling with skis is a hassle, but so is standing in line waiting to rent/return.

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Smorgasbord
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Smorgasbord » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:51 pm

A ski bag and a boot bag usually count as a single piece of checked luggage, so your travel costs might not be that high. While some airlines insist that only ski boots be in a boot bag, most will let you put anything in the ski bag. I find that it takes most of my casual clothing and underwear to properly pad my skis when flying. :D

p0nyboy
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by p0nyboy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:53 pm

If you're just doing 1 ski trip a year keep renting. Its probably going to cost you $50 round trip to check skis.

WhyNotUs
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:58 pm

easy choice, keep renting for once a year
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open_circuit
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by open_circuit » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:03 pm

Buy a ski condo and keep your skis in the locked owner's spaces. Rent the condo out. Profit?

For a couple days per year, I'd rent at the destination. If you are going to travel with skis, you then have to haul them around with you the entire way. Seems like too much work to me.

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Alexa9
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:07 pm

I would buy skis if I lived near the mountain and I skied ~5+ times per year.

barnaclebob
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:30 pm

Are you renting them and turning them back in every day on the trip or renting them once for the whole trip?

You can buy used skis or wait until late season to buy them on sale for pretty cheap too.

randomguy
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by randomguy » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:39 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:30 pm
Are you renting them and turning them back in every day on the trip or renting them once for the whole trip?

You can buy used skis or wait until late season to buy them on sale for pretty cheap too.
You would still have to store them, carry them on the plane, and get them waxed. On the other hand you get some equipment that fits properly and you are used to. I guess for a week long vacation, I would be buying and a weekend I would be renting.

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nick evets
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by nick evets » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:47 pm

barnaclebob wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:30 pm
Are you renting them and turning them back in every day on the trip or renting them once for the whole trip?

You can buy used skis or wait until late season to buy them on sale for pretty cheap too.
I'm renting the day I arrive, typically, and returning when I leave. It's about $100 with taxes -- having my own boots doesn't really save much on the rental. But it's a hassle because there's a direct correlation between desire to hit the slopes, and number of people waiting ahead of me to rent.

I hadn't known until the last trip that ski boots + ski bag = 1 item as far as the airlines are concerned, so if I have to check a bag -- and give bulky winter stuff, that's a given -- it probably wouldn't cost me any more to fly with skis.

It's probably still cheaper financially to rent, but awful tempting to pick up a used demo set...

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rcjchicity
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by rcjchicity » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:54 pm

For 1 trip a year, definitely rent. Owning your boots is the biggest deal for an infrequent skier, as the wrong pair of boots ruins the whole trip.

Years ago when I was taking 2-3 ski trips/year, I bought boots/skis/poles. A few years after that, I got married and then a couple of kids came along, so I've been averaging < 1 trip/year. On one of those trips I ended up leaving my gear at my sister's house in Colorado instead of schlepping it back to Chicago. In the long run it would have made a lot more sense to rent, as now my skis are old, but underused (I've purchased newer boots since then).

I don't own a helmet, so I end up in the rental shop despite owning ski gear...

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Bengineer
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Bengineer » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:43 pm

I'm in the rent camp. I skied a fair bit when younger and owned several pairs of skis at a time. With a bit of arrangement, you can pick up near top of the line, nearly new "demo" (meaning skis like you'd buy, vs "rental market") skis that are sharpened and waxed when you arrive and keep them your entire stay. As a bonus, you can exchange them for something different, enabling you to find the sweet spot for your skiing style / snow / terrain if your first choice isn't quite right. The fairly rapid yearly changes in ski shape & technology are yet another reason to rent.

I think you're right in getting your own boots and customizing the fit. It makes all the difference in your feel and control of your edge and balance transition. Renting "demo" boots until you find the right model and then buying makes sense too.

alfaspider
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by alfaspider » Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:49 pm

Cost wise- it's worth noting that you can often purchase skis and boots very inexpensively if you buy used or certain closeouts. I skied for 50+ ski days on a complete set of boots/skis/poles/bindings that cost around $400 in total- and this was far from low-end equipment- it would have been $1,500+ at retail. I started skiing on stuff that was equivalent to what was being rented at most rental counters for around $200. Some boots with heat-molded liners can be re-molded.

There is something to be said about owning your own skis beyond the pure cost factor. You get exactly what you want- not just what's available at the rental counter. It's also worth noting that rental bindings tend to be much heavier (to allow for greater adjustment), which adds weight to the ski (as well as stack height). There's also the hassle of having to start your ski vacation by going to the rental shop.

Your ability level may be a factor. Someone who casually skis down cruiser runs skidding their turns won't see much benefit to owning. Someone always hunting for powder probably cares a lot more.

I also agree that owning your own boots may be a nice middle ground. Ill fitting boots are the worst.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by 2comma » Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:25 pm

I went to a ski-swap in Boise, long time ago, where they had new, closeout, demo and used and got some decent stuff that all fit me for maybe the price of 5 or 10 rentals. Anything like that you have access to? If you look at the price you're paying for transportation, meals, lift-tickets and lodging I don't think adding in the extra cost of some equipment you like is any great sin. Now if you're only going once a year it doesn't make much sense to drop big bucks on the latest and greatest equipment because you just won't be good enough to get any performance value out of them.
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Pablov
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Pablov » Tue Apr 02, 2019 1:29 pm

Start with the helmet!

We ski 7-10 days per year at different (larger) resorts and I've noticed a set of skis/boots/poles rents anywhere from 28 to 35 per day (regular equipment) and does not include the helmet. The helmet is offered separately and it can go from about 8-15 per day. Quite expensive if you ask me. You can get a nice/good helmet starting at about 40-60, so it pays itself off in a few days. And it is easier to carry and store than skis, boots and poles :)

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RootSki
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by RootSki » Wed Apr 03, 2019 9:16 pm

Buy the skis and then figure out how to add more ski days into your life. :sharebeer

I buy new skis every 3-4 years.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by MotoTrojan » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:12 am

I generally would rent in town and/or do a demo; skip the really dense lines.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by FireSekr » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:27 am

Buy

You’re going on vacation to have an enjoyable time. Waiting on a rental line when all you want to do is hit the slopes is not enjoyable.

If you pay $100/year in rental and go on one vacation a year for 5 years or more you’d basically come out ahead by buying too, but for me I just wouldn’t want to wait in line to rent or return.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Marylander1 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:09 am

Make sure to optimize your rental location, as prices rise sharply with altitude, even among locations in the same retail chain. Lines are short in the city; I waited less than two minutes last year to pick up, zero to drop off, and am surprised at the emphasis on line waiting in this thread.

Reserving in advance also gives lower prices, and sometimes reserving months in advance (like right after you buy plane tickets) gives even bigger discounts.

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motorcyclesarecool
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:31 am

Rule of thumb: If you’re not skiing enough to warrant buying a season pass, you should rent your equipment.

Much safer and more cost effective. Annual edge sharpening (Rust Never Sleeps), waxing, binding adjustment, and luggage fees will make it hard to break even. Also, your bindings are what keep your knees and hips safe; plastic becomes brittle and metal corrodes over time. After the 10+ years it’ll take to break even, I shudder to think of the condition the bindings would be in.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by catundercouch » Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:40 am

Former ski instructor here (and one who owns a dozen skis for different conditions).

Rent everything except boots. Why? Its a hassle to carry skis around, you have to maintain them, and they are really irrelevant. Changing skis doesn't change the ski experience much.

Boots on the other hand, make a huge difference in how you ski, and rental boots are typically horrible. Go to a good bootfitter and buy boots that fit, of an appropriate performance level, and take care of them.

I'd be perfectly happy flying into anywhere in the world and buying random skis for $5 at a thrift store to use. But I would shed great tears if I lost my boots, and only take them carryon.

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StevieG72
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by StevieG72 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:45 pm

Rent, it is not too expensive. On my last trip I rented from a ski shop vs. the ski resort and the price was about 50% less, better service too.
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Ztx
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Ztx » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:50 pm

catundercouch wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:40 am
Former ski instructor here (and one who owns a dozen skis for different conditions).

Rent everything except boots. Why? Its a hassle to carry skis around, you have to maintain them, and they are really irrelevant. Changing skis doesn't change the ski experience much.

Boots on the other hand, make a huge difference in how you ski, and rental boots are typically horrible. Go to a good bootfitter and buy boots that fit, of an appropriate performance level, and take care of them.

I'd be perfectly happy flying into anywhere in the world and buying random skis for $5 at a thrift store to use. But I would shed great tears if I lost my boots, and only take them carryon.
+1
I ski once a year for 3-4 days. I own boots but rent skis. It's hassle to travel with skis and maintain them etc. Your own boots make huge difference though. I would only own skis if I lived within a few hr drive from a ski resort and skied regularly.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Johnfmh » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:12 am

I skied 18 days this year and made three fly-to destination trips. I have been skiing 40+ years, and have skied all over the world and the U.S. For local, drive-to mountains in Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, I bring my own skis—East Coast All Mountain (Volkl RTM 84). For destination skiing, I always rent. Why?

1. Variable Conditions: Snow conditions vary widely. I sometimes need to swap skis midday as a consequence—wide for deeper snow and narrow for hard snow and ice. Spring conditions require different all-mountain skis depending on where you ski (Rockies, Pacific NW, New England, or Europe). West Coast all-mountain skis are typically wider under foot with a bigger rocker shovel up front than East Coast all mountain boards. Renting allows you to ski the best equipment for particular conditions.

2. Hassle: Traveling with skis is a hassle. It’s not just flying but dealing with them in general. On my last trip, I was in Keyport, WA, for business; and Seattle, Bainbridge Island, and Crystal Mountain for fun. Having to schlep skis to all these places would have been a real pain.

3. Convenience: If you rent demos and have your own boots (always bring your own boots or skiing can become a cruel form of torture), you generally are in and out of shop in less than 15 minutes. Demo shops also can provide some good intelligence on what trails to ski, where to eat, etc. After skiing, I generally store my demos overnight at the shop, saving me the hassle of schlepping skis to a car or condo and allowing the shop to wax the skis overnight. My condo at Crystal two weeks ago had 70 individual stairs to climb and no ski locker. At some resorts, demo renters can store their street shoes and other stuff in thecstore while skiing in the store.

4. Keeping up with changing technology. Ski technology seems to change rapidly over time. What’s new today will be ancient in three years time. Renting demos allows you to keep up and continually explore new technology.

Skiing is an expensive luxury but also one of life’s best experiences. Renting allows me minimize off slope hassles and maximize on slope experiences.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:24 am

nick evets wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:36 pm
but so is standing in line waiting to rent/return.

This is 100% why I won't rent.

Took my child snowboarding for the first time last year. Renting the gear would have been $30. Instead, I bought a used board and 3 sets of boots (to grow into) for $160. Will keep for this child, plus child +2 and sell down the road for $160.

Long lines in hot buildings that smell like dirty socks is not a fun start to a skiing day. Buy used if you really want to quantify the expense.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by smackboy1 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:03 am

I generally bring my own helmet and boots and rent skis and poles. I don't trust rental helmets are not damaged and rental boots have a terrible fit. I also always carry my boots in the the cabin with me so lost luggage doesn't ruin my ski trip.

I always get the high performance rentals or the demo skis because the fleet rental skis suck. Renting on the mountain has the advantage of easy resolution if ski/binding breaks. Renting off the mountain has better selection of brands and types of skis.
Disclaimer: nothing written here should be taken as legal advice, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by YttriumNitrate » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:39 am

motorcyclesarecool wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 6:31 am
Rule of thumb: If you’re not skiing enough to warrant buying a season pass, you should rent your equipment.
So that's what, 3 days a year? :D I'm only slightly kidding as that's about how long it took me to break even on a Tahoe Value pass five years ago.

Edit: 3 days may have been an overestimate. The Tahoe Value Pass goes for $499, and the ticket counter price at Heavenly is up to $164. Adding in the buddy tickets discounts for friends who didn't buy a seaon's pass, the pass could probably pay for itself in two days.

Johnfmh
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by Johnfmh » Sat Apr 06, 2019 6:14 am

ddurrett896 wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:24 am
nick evets wrote:
Tue Jan 09, 2018 1:36 pm
but so is standing in line waiting to rent/return.

This is 100% why I won't rent.

Took my child snowboarding for the first time last year. Renting the gear would have been $30. Instead, I bought a used board and 3 sets of boots (to grow into) for $160. Will keep for this child, plus child +2 and sell down the road for $160.

Long lines in hot buildings that smell like dirty socks is not a fun start to a skiing day. Buy used if you really want to quantify the expense.
This is a good point. There’s a huge difference between renting in a demo shop and renting from the general rental area. I would never rent intermediate, noodly skis in the general shop. Demos are a different story. Many demo shops at mountains are ski in/ski out, which allows one to try 3-4 pairs a day. Many have a boot up area for guests and in Europe, some shops even serve champagne and hors d’oeuvres (Strolz at Lech for instance). Most have you in and out in less than 15 minutes if you have your own boots. Price is a big difference as well but you get what you pay for. Expect to pay between $35 and $65 a day for demos depending on where you rent and for how many days.

There’s a lot more info on skis at pugski.com

ralph124cf
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by ralph124cf » Sat Apr 06, 2019 8:34 am

For those who complain about rental lines: Get to the resort the afternoon before and rent the skis right after the lifts close. You won't be charged for the overnight part of the rental, and you will be able to get a fresh start in the morning with no waiting at the ski shop.

Ralph

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ohboy!
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Re: cost analysis on buying vs. renting skis?

Post by ohboy! » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:00 am

I have had my skis for 10 years. Some k2s. Paid $300 for skis used and $150 for boots and $100 for a hard case carrier. Skid an average of 5 days per year. Always fly southwest or drive so skis and boot bag are free. 50 days at $550. Maybe two tuneups over that time for an additional $50 or so.

I’ve been thinking about getting new skis and boots because the technology has advanced. However this winter I skid 4 days, never fell, topspeed 60mph. Think Ill stick with them for now.

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