When it comes to finding snow ski and snowboard equipment in ski areas, you can hardly turnaround without bumping into a shop that rents skis, poles, snowboards and the boots to match. From the convenience store on the side of the highway that has converted a section of the store to a buzzing ski rental shop in winter to the high-rent ski retailer a stone?s throw from the chair lift, you?ll find rental skis, snowboards and boots for kids and adults.
First, know what you need. For skiing, you?ll need skis and ski boots which are specially made to fit into the skis. These are not the kind of boots you want to don for a sashay around the resort. Their job is to hold you firmly onto those skis. They?re bulky and not terribly comfortable, but for getting from the bus or condo front door to the base of the lift, they work just fine (for snow boots that keep your feet cozy and dry when you?re not skiing, rent a pair from www.mountainthreads.com!). Snowboarding has the same board/boot pairing, but snowboard boots are infinitely more comfortable.
Ski boots and skis are rented in packages and often include ski poles as well for all except the youngest skiers. Snowboards and snowboard boots can be rented as a package too. I also recommend a helmet. Most people wear them these days, and the old, better-safe-than-sorry motto seems particularly relevant when you?re learning a new sport that starts with 5-pound boots and slippery waxed skis on snow. Many ski rental shops will include helmets as part of the rental package, especially for children. Check out package options that include everything you need.
Prices tend to vary with altitude, the higher you go up, the higher the prices. If you can find a place to rent in town away from the base of the ski resort, you?ll find lower prices. Careful though?if something goes wrong with the equipment, you?ll want to be able to take it somewhere convenient for a repair, adjustment or replacement. If you have to drive back to Denver or Salt Lake City for service, all the money you saved won?t seem like such a deal. The ideal rental shop is one with stores in town that offer lower prices AND with affiliated ski shops in the resorts where you can stop in if something goes wrong. In Colorado, Christy Sports, Breeze Ski Rentals and even Sports Authority have shops in Denver and in each of the major resort areas. You?ll often find that your pick-up day and drop-off day are not counted in your rental days, so you aren?t charged for the time you are transporting the equipment to your destination. Speaking of transportation, make sure you have a vehicle that can carry the equipment you need to rent if you are making a drive to the resort.
Rent in advance online. You can often find much better pricing if you make your reservation online in advance. Filling out customer details online will also save time when you go to pick up your rentals. You can skip the line of customers filling out paperwork and head straight to fitting your equipment.
These Sunday Saver posts are aimed at helping visitors to ski country save money, but I will share that consumer surveys conducted in some of the world?s largest ski resorts show that the least-satisfying experience of the entire ski vacation is the process of renting ski equipment. If you would rather spend a little more for a much more relaxing experience, consider checking out one of the companies that comes to your hotel or condo to fit skis for your entire group. No lines, no hot ski shops. A little spendy, but maybe worth it.