Buying vs Renting Skis [When it Makes Sense to Buy Skis]

Updated August 27, 2023 by Brianna Lee. This post contains affiliate links at no added cost.

When it comes to skiing, many people have a hard time deciding whether they should buy or rent their equipment. There are pros and cons to both options, and it can be tough to decide which is best for you. Fortunately, we broke it down for you so you’ll have an idea if you should buy skis or stick to the rental skis.

ski gear top mountain

What it Costs to Rent Skis

If you’re planning a ski trip, you’ll need to factor in the cost of renting skis. Ski rental prices can vary widely, but typically range from $60-$100 a day. That can add up quickly, especially if you’re planning a longer trip.

It makes sense if you are going somewhere and need to rent powder skis and you don’t have them. It doesn’t make sense if you are a season passholder at your local ski resort. The latter should own skis and in the former situation you may want rental equipment.

There are a few ways to save money on ski rentals. First, check with your hotel or resort to see if they offer any discounts. Some properties have arrangements with local rental shops that give guests a break on the price. Also be sure to check with ski shops near the resort. Sometimes it is cheaper to rent at the local ski shop instead of the resort.

You can also look for package deals that include lift tickets and rentals. These can be a great way to save money, but make sure to do your research so you don’t end up paying for more than you need. A good trip shouldn’t have to break the bank.

What it Costs to Buy Skis

Skis are not a cheap investment. A good pair of skis can cost anywhere from $400 to over $1,000. And that’s not including the cost of bindings, boots, and poles. Once you begin buying ski clothing and you buy your ski boots, your wallet might have no powder left in it.

Unless you are serious about skiing then renting ski equipment is most likely the way to go.

There is a wide range in prices for skis because there is such a wide range in quality. The materials used to make skis vary widely in price, and the manufacturing process is also very labor intensive. In addition, the design of skis has to account for a lot of variables, like weight, height, and skiing ability.

Advanced skiers usually ride much more high-performance skis than a beginner.

All of these factors add up to make skis an expensive purchase. But if you’re serious about skiing, they’re definitely worth the investment. In just one season you can pretty much compensate for owning your skis if you head to the ski resort a lot.

Compared to rental equipment, buying your own ski gear can save over the long run.

Stop With The Rentals!

Get your own skis. It’s totally worth it.

Should You Rent for the First Year Skiing?

skiing child in pink

If you’re new to skiing, you may be wondering if you should rent skis for your first year. The answer is yes! I rented it for the first two years. It felt like ages before getting my own ski gear but the wait was worth it. I saved up for the ski boots I wanted and the exact pair of skis that I had been eyeing.

Renting skis is a great way to get started without spending a lot of money on equipment. You can also try different types of skis to see what you like before you buy. If I hadn’t tried a few pairs of demo skis then I wouldn’t have found the perfect pair.

You might just find that some of the demo ski rentals are too high performance for your riding style and you want something with a better cross over to the park.

It also makes sense to rent skis for kids. They grow quickly and that means they are going to outgrow those skis before you know it. Boots too!

If you are just starting our renting skis then keep these tips in mind:

  1. Make sure to get the right size! Skis that are too big or small will make it harder to balance and control your turns. The staff in the ski shop is usually more than happy to help people with sking
  2. Ask the rental shop staff about what type of ski would be best for your skill level and the conditions you’ll be skiing in. Again, the ski shop staff knows the conditions best. Pick their brain but don’t hold up the line.
  3. Be sure to return the skis in good condition – clean and with all the bindings intact. Just because you are getting rental skis doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for them. Treat them as if you owned them for the day.

When Should You Buy Skis?

When it comes to buying skis, there is no hard and fast rule. Ultimately, the best time to buy skis is when you’re ready to ski a lot and enjoy skiing. Like I mentioned, I rented for my first two years. I grabbed my first skis at an after season sale even though they were still brand new. The discount for the end of year model was well worth it.

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind that can help you make the best decision for when to buy skis. For example, if you know you’ll be skiing a lot in the upcoming season, it may be worth investing in a new pair of skis sooner rather than later.

On the other hand, if you’re not sure how much skiing you’ll be doing or if your plans might change, it may be better to wait until closer to the ski season to buy skis. You can’t get better discounts than the end of season sales on skis. Be sure to check your local ski shops for discounts and even the ski resort shop.

When Should You Rent Skis

When it comes to renting skis, there are a few things you should take into consideration. First and foremost, if you are traveling to a new area or are new to the sport altogether, it is probably best to rent skis. This will allow you to try out different brands and styles of skiing before you make a purchase.

Additionally, renting skis can be more economical than buying them outright, especially if you do not plan on skiing frequently. Finally, keep in mind that tons of people rent skis so be sure to book in advance if you plan on renting skis at your resort.

Can You Save Money Buying Skis?

ski equipment new

Of course, you can save money by buying skis! Having your own ski equipment is one of the easiest ways to save money skiing aside from backcountry skiing. You can find some great deals if you know where to look when finding your skis.

Here are a few tips to help you save money when buying skis:

  1. Shop around – compare prices at different stores before making a purchase.
  2. Don’t be afraid to negotiate – many ski shops are willing to haggle on price, so it’s worth asking. Especially if it is near the end of the season. You’d be surprised how many people don’t ask the ski shop if that is the best price they can do. Ultimately, they want to make a sale like a new car.
  3. Consider buying used – you can often find good deals on slightly used skis that are still in great condition. Discounts on used skis can be significant so don’t turn up your nose at used gear.

Stick to our tips and you can save money on your next ski purchase and get the gear you need to hit the slopes! The biggest one is shopping around. A lot of the time online retailers are cheaper than a local shop since they have less overhead.

While it’s nice to support your local ski shop, keep in mind you can get new skis shipped to your house too if you know what you want.

Why It Makes Sense to Rent Skis

Ski rental shops will have a variety of equipment to choose from, so you can find the perfect fit for your needs. If you don’t have skis for the conditions then you should probably rent. If you don’t have powder skis then don’t try to hit the powder with your groomer skis. Just rent for a fun day on the slopes.

Conditions on the slopes are one of the biggest things that still pops into my mind for renting some demo skis.

Buying Skis – The Benefits

winter sports skiing kid

When it comes to skiing, owning your own gear has a lot of benefits. Having your own skis gives you more control and flexibility when it comes to skiing. You can choose the right skis for the conditions and terrain, and you don’t have to worry about renting gear that may not be well-maintained or suitable for your level.

A pair of your own skis are almost always better than rental. You will know how they ride and already have a feel for them. The benefits of owning skis far outweigh the negatives.

Skis Pay For Themselves If You Ride Alot

Quit renting if you ride a lot. Get a pair of your own skis.

The Payback Period of Buying Skis

The payback period of buying skis is relatively quick if you ride them a lot and especially if you only ski one season. For the average person who skis 20 days per season, it would take approximately less than a year to break even on a pair of $800 skis.

20 days x $60 a day is $1,200. Sure, that may be a bit high but you get the idea and it’s not out of the unordinary. I’m not suggesting people would rent 20 days but rather if you plan skiing 20 days then you should have your own skis.

Buying vs Renting Skis – Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it is better to rent gear when first starting out. Later on, when you have a better idea of what you need, you can buy the gear that you need. Owning your own gear gives you the freedom to use it when you want and how you want.

You can shred it up at your local resort, throw it in the car for a ski trip or fly across the country, all while staying comfortable on your own skis.

Brianna Lee writes for Proper Peaks and lives in Duluth, MN. Her favorite thing about skiing is glades. If you want to find her out on the slopes then that is the first place you should look for her bright pink helmet.

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