Skiing and other snow sports/to buy or to rent


Hello Lisa.

I am shopping for used skis.  My budget doesn't allow for new, but I'm trying to calculate if buying used skis plus the cost of their maintenance is really cheaper than renting yearly.  Used skis are probably easier on the cash flow as I don't spend $800 up front on new. I like the convenience avoiding the rental process and bringing my own skis to get on the slopes quickly.  My family and I ski about 5-8 times per year and live in the Northeast, where ice, groomed, and granule seem to be the norm, and in that order.  I am a DIYer, but don't yet know how to sharpen or wax skis.  I'd like to learn to save costs.

I can ski blues and am learning black diamonds.  I would like to be able to ski anything and like control and stability. I'm not an adrenaline addict, but a 41 year old who avoids pain.  I haven't broken anything...yet.

All this said, what is your advice on buying used?  Can I get my money out of them?  Should I just rent?  Should I buy, what type of ski would suit me best?  All mountain? traditional rocker/camber blend? What brands are the most durable?

Thank you.

Hey Samantha,

Buying used skis is an economical way to enjoy newer gear with less expense. I would recommend getting skis not older that 5-6 years due to technology advances. I would also recommend going with an 'all mountain' type ski as they perform best in all conditions.

As for where to buy, a good source is your local shops that rent skis. Don't look at the everyday rentals! Look at the DEMO skis that they are selling. Most shops change out their demo fleet every two years. Most demo skis are used very little and are maintained very well. Demos are usually higher end skis and bindings so skiers can try before they buy. The end of ski season is when the demo's go on sale. Prices might seem high but are usually 50-70% off original.

The other options are ski swaps (usually before ski season), Craigslist, and eBay. These are usually good but unless you can examine the gear, verifying the condition can be a problem. You will always want to examine the gear yourself. Look for base scratches and gouges, top scratches are not much of an issue, and damage to bindings. I recommend talking to a rental shop person about demo's to educate yourself on what to look for in regards to wear and tear.

Doing your own tune ups is not difficult and can save money if you have more than a couple pairs to maintain. Go to YouTube to see lots of how to videos and then decide if you want to DIY.

Hope this helps.
Keep on skiing,

Skiing and other snow sports

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I can answer questions about downhill skiing, telemark skiing, & freeride snowboarding. Feel free to ask me about techniques, riding styles, conditions, equipment, etc. I can also give information about many ski areas along with links to other informational sites.


I have been downhill skiing for 40 years, snowboarding for 18 years, and telemarking for 8 years.

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