Buying vs. Renting Ski and Snowboard Equipment
Whether you're a hobbyist or a dedicated winter sports fan, you've probably weighed the pros and cons of equipment rental and ownership. Ultimately, your decision will rest on several factors, including the piece of equipment in question. Some of your gear is a great investment opportunity, while renting may be the better option for other items.
Discover if you should buy or rent skis, a snowboard and accessories before your next trip to the mountains below.
Advantages of Renting
Renting is usually the best option for skiers and snowboarders who meet one or more of these conditions:
- You're new to the sport and aren't ready to commit.
- You want to test out a specific piece of gear or brand before investing.
- You're not sure which size you're most comfortable with.
- You do not go skiing or snowboarding very often.
- The equipment is for a child who isn't done growing.
- You don't have the money to make a large, up-front investment.
- You don't have the space to store your equipment at home.
- You ski or snowboard on multiple terrains.
Since renting can take up valuable mountain time, Buckman's Ski and Snowboard Shops lets renters place rental orders before arriving at the slopes. With this option, you can start snowboarding or skiing as soon as you arrive and pick up your gear!
Advantages of Buying
While it's the right choice for some, buying is suitable because:
- You get to keep and acclimate to your gear.
- You can take your equipment wherever you travel.
- You can customize each piece with features and upgrades.
- There are no time restrictions for how long you can use the equipment.
- There is a limitless inventory of types and sizes to choose from.
- You only pay once instead of each time you go.
- Ownership means you can skip long rental lines and spend more time on the slopes.
It's also worth noting that buying isn't always the more costly option — you may be able to find decent secondhand gear to use until you're ready to make a more significant investment.
Should You Buy Or Rent Ski Gear?
Should you buy or rent skis and other gear? Consider the following:
- The cost of maintenance versus purchasing: Before you buy or rent ski equipment, compare the upfront cost of a new set of skis to the ongoing cost of daily rental fees, storage and maintenance. Regular maintenance includes polishing the edges with a ski stone or file, applying hot wax, and sharpening the edges. If you rent, the rental shop takes care of that and inspects skis for quality before each rental. When you own your skis, it's up to you to handle the maintenance or find a professional who can do it for you.
- The user's age and experience: Depending on your child's age, you might want to wait on any large investments, like boots, helmets and skis, until they've finished growing. Before you buy or rent kids' skis, you should also ensure your child has had enough time to experiment with skiing and exploring the different types to know which equipment to focus on. The same is true for adults new to the sport, who should rent equipment until they're certain which types of snowboarding and skiing they are interested in.
Should You Rent Ski Boots or Buy Your Own?
Your boots and bindings are just as essential as your skis or snowboard. If you have any plans to ski or snowboard again in the future, your boots are the first place you should invest your money. While many boards, skis, poles and accessories can be adapted to suit your needs — at least to some extent — boots are trickier because everyone's foot is different.
Those with wider or narrower feet than standard size may not find an appropriately sized boot available for rent. When you arrive to rent snowboard boots, you might find some rental shops — like those on-site at a resort — do not have the inventory space for a range of lengths or widths. You'll then have ill-fitting boots, leading to discomfort or pain that interferes with your ride and ruins your day.
Buying your own boots gives you the chance to select your specifications, including the features, flex level and lace type. You can also choose the most comfortable liner for the shape of your foot and sock thickness, including custom molded and heat-moldable options.
Once you have your boots, it'll be easier for a professional to pair you with the right board or skis.
Should You Buy or Rent a Snowboard?
Whether you should buy a snowboard or rent one depends on:
- The cost of maintenance versus purchasing: Snowboard maintenance costs can add up. To keep your board edged, even, polished and buffed, you need a file and file guide, a scraper, iron, snowboard wax, scour pads, tuning vises and more for a smoother riding experience. Snowboards also need to be stored in a safe place so you will want to consider a durable hanging rack into your purchasing cost as well as a durable travel bag.
- Binding installation: Your snowboard stance is everything while you're on the slopes. Mounted bindings differ between your left and right foot, and you want to find the best angles and width for your height and terrain. By purchasing your own snowboard and having the bindings mounted to your needs, you're setting yourself up for a more comfortable, adaptable experience.
Buying vs. Renting Accessories
Your helmet, goggles and apparel keep you safe. Some also have built-in features that make them easier or more comfortable to use.
Should You Buy or Rent a Ski Helmet?
If you choose to rent or buy, your snow helmet should meet all United States or European safety certification requirements. You should also look for a helmet with a multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS) for top protection against falls and impact.
While you can rent a helmet for an easy, low-impact course or single-day use, buying your own is more advisable because you don't know what impact it might've sustained before you rented it. When you buy your own helmet, you can choose one with special features, such as:
- A visor to protect your goggles and give you a clearer field of vision.
- Your preferred ventilation level to avoid overheating.
- Your choice between in-mold, hard, soft or hybrid shells.
- Your exact level of MIPS protection, depending on your trails and experience level.
- The chinstrap length, fit and adjustability.
- Built-in audio and camera mounts to record your view or listen to music.
- A color or pattern that matches your board, skis or boots.
Can You Rent Ski Goggles?
Many rental shops don't offer goggle rentals because they require a specific fit. Proper fit is crucial to protect your eyes and skin from wind irritation or stray debris. Investing in your own pair of goggles might be your best option if you wear glasses since you need a special over-the-glasses (OTG) style to fit over your frames.
When you buy goggles, you can also choose the best level of padding for your comfort and ensure the perfect fit with your helmet. Plus, if you own your goggles, you're free to apply anti-fog treatment as often as you'd like.
Fortunately, goggles are fairly affordable, and you can use them for multiple applications, including snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and even snow blowing around your property. Goggle accessories, like covers, shields and cleaning wipes, will help you protect your investment throughout the season.
Can You Rent Ski Clothes and Snowboarding Apparel?
You can sometimes rent or buy ski clothes and snowboarding apparel at the mountain depending on the piece. Determine if you should rent or buy snowboard equipment and ski accessories whether you need:
- Outerwear: You can sometimes rent outerwear pieces together, including pants and jackets. Renting is the perfect option if you've never gone skiing or snowboarding before and want to give it a try for the day. Keep in mind that rental shops can only carry so many sizes on hand, so you might not be able to find your exact size right away.
- Inner layers: Your inner layers, like your undershirt and thermals, should be an investment. Rental shops do not offer them as an option because they come into contact with skin. Skiing and snowboarding do not require specific inner layers — you just need the best weight to sit comfortably under your outer layers that also wick moisture away from your body.
- Gloves: Some places may include ski or snowboard gloves in a bundle available to rent for the day. But investing in your own pair ensures the best fit for your hand size. You might want to bring your own pair if your hands are smaller or larger than standard sizing or if you prefer extra grip or special features, like touchscreen compatibility.
- Hats and scarves: Hats and scarves are useful for staying warm when you're not actively skiing or snowboarding and are not typically available for rent.
- Socks: Rental shops do not offer socks because they come into direct contact with your skin. A quality pair of snow sport socks will keep you warm and dry, and you can wear them for non-sport purposes, too, like winter hiking or sledding.
Should You Buy or Rent Ski Gear and Snowboarding Equipment?
Buying or renting your snowboarding or skiing equipment comes down to these factors:
- Your budget: Purchasing gear to keep may be more expensive than renting equipment, but renting the same item multiple times could add up to more than you would've spent on the investment. Consider also the ongoing costs, like servicing, maintenance and storage, if applicable.
- How often you participate: How often do you go skiing or snowboarding? If this is a one-time trip, save your money for lodging and winter clothes and rent until you know you enjoy the sport. If you're a regular on the slopes, you might consider investing to save money long-term.
- Where you go: Do you always ski and snowboard in the same conditions, or do they vary? For instance, if you always snowboard out west, a powder board might be a good purchase. If you do cross-country skiing, powder snowboarding and mountain boarding — and don't have the budget to invest in all three — rent the gear for sports you do less often.
- Your commitment level: For some, winter sports are a fun way to pass the time on a vacation or an occasional hobby they do for fun with friends. For others, it's a lifelong dedication, a way to meet fitness goals or a key part of their winter season. Your commitment to the sport will help you decide whether owning your gear is a worthwhile venture.
- The user's age and experience: Since kids grow quickly and are prone to changing their minds, avoid any serious gear investments until their growth spurts are over. You should also wait until they've demonstrated a genuine interest or love for the type of skiing or snowboarding they're engaging in. If you're an adult, consider your experience level — do you have enough experience with different types of boarding, skiing, brands and conditions to be certain of your investment choice?
- Brand loyalty: Brand isn't as critical as performance or correct sizing. But many boarders and skiers feel confident when they're using their favorite brand's gear because they have come to expect a level of quality from it. If you know you love a product, you might not be able to find it in rental shops or ski resorts. Consider investing in your own so you always have access to it.
Some items, like your boots, goggles and apparel, are important investments if you plan to participate in the sport regularly. Other pieces of equipment, like the skis and snowboard themselves, are great to rent while you explore your size, type and brand preferences.
Shop or Rent Equipment at Buckman's Ski and Snowboard Shops
At Buckman's Ski and Snowboard Shops, we are family-owned and pride ourselves in offering the best customer service in the business. We're passionate about providing the best gear and equipment available because we're skiers and snowboarders ourselves — we know the right investment can change your entire slope experience.
We are happy to offer weekend, weekly and seasonal in-store rentals with bundling options at an affordable rate or free shipping for most online orders over $50. Whether you're renting or purchasing, our experienced professionals can match you with the right products for your chosen sport, terrain, stature, preferences and budget. Find a retail location near your favorite slopes, or shop our online inventory for industry-leading gear and accessories.
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