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Ski and Snowboard Equipment | When To Rent Vs When To Buy.

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As the blog for an online ski and snowboard retailer you may be thinking “Obviously they think I should buy my equipment!” but hear me out. There is a time to buy and a time to rent which can help put you on the right path and give you the knowledge you need before you buy. 

In this article we'll take you through the various pros and cons so you can choose if it's the right time for you. 

Rental boot room - Racks to organise and dry equipment.  

Advantages of renting:

Flexibility – Need to change your sizing, binding, equipment half way through the week? No problem.

No Servicing Costs – Rental equipment should be serviced between customers so you don’t need to worry.

No Baggage – No oversized bags to haul through the airport or man-handle into your chalet boot room.

Advice – The teams in rental shops have heard every question before and can offer you advice on everything from equipment sizing to where to have lunch in resort!

Disadvantages of renting:

Basic equipment is unresponsive & well used. – We often hear from customers about the difference having their own kit makes. Having equipment that is fitted to you makes for much better comfort and performance, allowing you to ski longer and make the most of your time in the mountains.

Time Consuming. – When you pay to go on holiday the last thing you want to do is spend your time queuing for a fitting at the rental shop. Plus, you have to make sure your kit is returned at the end of your trip too.

Rental Boots. – Ski boots that are not fitted to you can be really uncomfortable, plus there is a hygiene aspect to sharing boots with someone who’s been exercising heavily on the mountain for a week.

Specific Rental Equipment – Heavy duty rental specific versions of skis designed to last but sacrifice performance and lightness.

Cost – Renting every time you go away is a constant expense while buying is a one off cost.

Rows of rental boots! - Organised for quick service. 

When should I consider renting?

If you’re just starting out, then renting can make sense. Your first time skiing or snowboarding is an information overload. Strange equipment, settings you’ve never heard of, and learning to walk in ski boots while carrying all your gear! This is where the knowledge of the rental shop teams comes in. They will set you up with a board or skis that is the right size and shape for you and give you a starting point.

Your initial time learning to ski or snowboard will then build on this where you can look at what you really want from your equipment, what’s comfortable for you, and how fast you are progressing. Before you have this information, it will be almost impossible to make a decision on buying equipment and our shop staff would always recommend you have some lessons on rented gear before looking at what might suit you.

Another time it may make sense to rent is if you’re looking to try something specific but don’t want to invest before you’ve had a go. A great example of this is split-boarding. They’re expensive and require a bunch of additional equipment and learning, so before you buy it’s definitely worth hiring one for a few days to see how you get on with the equipment and skinning up! 

Alternatively, if you bring your piste skis and arrive in resort to see 1m of fresh powder it could be a quick fix to run to a rental shop and rent some powder specific skis to make the most of the first day of freshies!

Expert advice, tailored to you! - One of our shop staff talking through the ski range.

Advantages of buying:

There are massive advantages to owning your own skis or snowboard, the main ones being performance, comfort, and longevity.

Firstly, having equipment that is tailored to you is way more comfortable. More comfort means longer days on the snow and quicker progression.
This is particularly important when it comes to boots, you're going to be in them all day so having a professional boot fit is definitely worth it!

The performance difference is huge! Rental equipment is designed to be bullet proof and survive years of abuse. Because of this it’s built heavier and more resilient but the trade-off is weight and response.

You can be super specific! Discovered that you love riding pow? Get a pow board, More into freestyle and park laps? Grab a true twin with softer flex. Want to rip steep couloirs? Directional twin with stiff response and a bit of float. The set up options are endless and because of that you can tailor your kit to exactly what you want to do!

Because it's your kit it feels the same every time you ride it, removing the first day of getting used to different skis/board, which can be a great help when it comes to progression. Consistency is key when it comes to progressing!

And finally, the gear you buy is only ever used by you, so it lasts indefinitely longer. This isn’t just about time on the snow, equipment that is constantly being disassembled and adjusted to suit new users will wear out sooner.  

Disadvantages of buying:

Servicing – If you own your own equipment then it’s up to you to keep it waxed and taken care of. Luckily there are some excellent workshops in the UK that can service your equipment before you go away.

Baggage – taking your own ski or snowboard gear away with you will always be a hassle. While ski/board bags have become better there is still no way to avoid the weight of it. However, a second bag is a huge plus when it comes to longer ski trips and airlines like BA let you check in sporting goods for free providing you don't exceed your baggage limit. 

The professional boot fit makes a huge difference! - Our shop staff are all boot lab experts and custom fitting is included when buying boots!

When to consider buying:

Once you’ve got a couple of lessons down and started to get a feeling for your progression you can start looking at buying your own gear.

Buying is a sizeable investment and there are so many brands and styles available it can be a bit mind blowing. Because of this we recommend chatting to one of our ski or snowboard experts who can help you narrow down what equipment will be suitable for your needs and budget.



So what’s right for me?

Ultimately the decision will come down to your commitment to the sport and your riding level.

In the initial stages of your skiing or snowboarding it is unlikely that you’ll need anything more advanced than rental equipment. As you progress and dedicate more time to being on snow then you will probably want equipment that is specific to you and what your goals are.

If you’re still learning and in ski school, renting is probably the most cost effective way to ski. However, once you’re looking at going more regularly it will actually be more cost effective to own rather than rent you kit.

If you’re in any doubt, our shop staff are always happy to offer totally free and impartial advice. They love talking skiing or snowboarding so don’t hesitate to give them a ring or drop them an email, and they're stoked to help others progress in the sports they love. 

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