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The Case for Renting Skis vs. The Case For Buying Skis?

The arguments for and against buying skis are changing. Clearly, if  you live in or near a ski resort and doing a lot of skiing then buying skis makes sense from a purely financial point of view; equally if you only plan on skiing once year, then renting makes more sense. But what if you’re an average recreational skier who skis one, two, or three weeks each season?

The Case for Buying Skis

ski carrierIf you buys skis, you get to know your skis, you’ll get to know how they handle and get a real feel for how best to ski in them. Providing you’ve chosen skis wisely, you’ll have a pair of skis that matches  the kind of skiing you do, which is better than the “luck of the draw” approach that you can be faced with when renting skis. Your skis can also be mounted with bindings that are set up just for your  boots, rather than the multi-adjustable rental bindings.

At first glance, owning is probably cheaper but there are costs associated with owning, maintenance, and transport, which can whittle away that financial advantage. But it is likely to be cheaper in the long run to own skis than to continue to rent them:  Assume that a skier takes two week-long ski trips a year, and buys a pair of skis for $700. Let’s also assume that on those trips he has a ski baggage surcharge of $50 each way, and he also needs to service the skis once a year at a cost of $50. If the skis last for four years his cost per year is $250. In contrast, hiring decent skis is likely to cost $150  per week – $300 per year in this example. Only if our skier manages three or more trips a year, or keeps his skis for more than four years, does he or she save much money.

There’s also less hassle when you get to the slopes. We’ve all been there – the first morning of a ski trip, there’s fresh snow,   but rather than being on the first lift up, you’re in the rental shop waiting to get your rental skis.  With your own skis you can just clip in and jump on the lift.

The Case for Renting Skis

renting skisYou can choose your ski for the conditions – if you buy skis, you’re going to end up skiing your skis whatever the conditions. If   you rent, then you can pick a ski that’s suited to the snow conditions.  And you can potentially change the ski during the trip if   conditions change.

It’s less of a hassle transporting skis.  Carrying skis around is tough – they are long and unwieldy, and make getting on public   transportation and through airports more difficult. In addition, most airlines now charge for traveling with skis. If your trip involves renting a car at the airport to drive to the resort, you have to get a car large enough to fit the skis inside, or rent a ski rack. This means that, especially for short trips weekend trips traveling by air, it’s often cheaper to rent skis.

If you rent skis, you just hand them back at the end of the ski trip.   If you own skis, then you’ll have to either budget for an edge and wax treatment every few weeks of skiing. If you rent your skis, you always ski the latest models, though this might not always be the case in smaller or cheaper rental companies.   In contrast, if you buy your own skis then you’re likely going to be   skiing them for four years or more, and at by that time, they’re  probably going to be looking and feeling a little tired. But, your   trusty old skis can become a pair that you use for early or late season skiing when the snow conditions are less than optimal.

Basically, it depends on how often you ski and even how well you ski as to whether your buy or rent your ski or snowboard equipment.

(Adapted from an article on

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