Welcome back to our second installment of saving some dough. Now that you have the tickets figured out you’re probably thinking “cool all I need now is the hotel, and I’m good until January for all other details”….but not so fast! Equipment rentals are another area where shopping early can pay dividends, but not in the way you may be expecting.
If you’re planning on renting equipment more than a few trips during a season, you might want to look at the season rental. You might be saying, “Wait!! Isn’t is only about $25 a shot to rent skis? Why not just rent each time? I thought you were saving me money!” No….we’re trying to get you the best experience for your money. If you plan to ski 4 or more days, it’s probably worth considering a season rental over a daily rental for many reasons.
The first reason is simple…..to avoid the crowds. Our recommendation of a season rental is to merely deal with it once and be done! Unless there’s a reason to exchange later, a season rental will allow you to fill out the forms once, try on boots once, wait for binding adjustments once, and pay once!….and Bonus….the technicians, will not be stressed by a long line! So they will be able to fit your gear WAY better, provide more advise on matching you to your equipment, and most likely do all with a smile!
The second reason…..you’ll get on the slopes sooner for the best possible conditions! Typically, rental shops don’t open much before the chairlift is running. While you are in the cue for gear, you will certainly miss out on any chance of fresh tracks! At peak season, your “on mountain” ski shop may have a line out the door. Even if they have 4 or 5 technicians working on getting bindings adjusted, it will take a lot of time. You came to ski not stand in lines!
Reason three…..the skis used in daily rentals have a higher risk of equipment failures due to overuse, constant adjustments, and abuse. Quite often, daily rentals from one day are put directly back into the rental pool for the next with limited inspection until checked out to the next customer. This is especially true if you go during or after spring break. Trust me from experience, the last thing you want to deal with is walking down the slope when the equipment is broken. Luckily I was at Monarch which is a relatively small resort. I can’t imagine being on the far reaches of Vail’s sundown bowl!…..the run you would have to walk is named “Forever” for a reason.
The final reason…. your skills will improve more when you’re familiar with the gear. It’s incredible how different the same skis or board will feel the third or fourth day you use them. And hey, you might even find yourself calling the boss for a “sick” day since you have the gear on hand.
To be fair…..there is one downside about season rentals. If you do need to make adjustments on the mountain, it’s unlikely another company will touch it. You might get lucky, and they’ll loan you a screwdriver but don’t expect them to risk the liability of touching another companies equipment. That said, we still prefer to have season rentals and from a company that’s convenient to our house and has relationships built with ski shops near the mountain.
Below are some of the deals we’ve found for 2017 in and around Denver:
- Christy’s Sports (Multiple Locations) – $169
- Epic Mountain Sports (Winter Park) – $159
- Eskimo (Centennial) – $195
- Happy Sport (Littleton and Parker) – $179
- Larson’s (Wheat Ridge) Ski and Sport- $119
- Lenny’s (Aurora) – $139
- Ski Shop (Colorado Springs) – $169
- Sports Rent (Arvada) – $179
Note that the rates listed above here are based on information posted on each shops website and based upon a basic ski set up which works for the majority of skiers. If your skiers have improved and had starting to take on higher speeds or charge the bumps, you can consider a slight upgrade to the “performance” models. If you plan to use the rental as a test drive for purchase, it might be worth the extra money to go to “demo” skis.
Whichever location you chose, take your time when at the shop so they can understand your ability and your desired outcome for the season. Note their terms and conditions for exchanges mid-season as well. We found a great deal one season only to have equipment failure result in a lower quality product exchanged mid-season… their policy was the best effort based on availability, not a guarantee. We were quite disappointed with the exchange and ultimately terminated the season rental in early February (out of principle) and walked away from our funds. As a result, that particular shop is NOT one of the locations listed above.
Whichever approach you take, once you have gear in hand it will only be a matter of time before you’ll be on the slopes schussing down the hill. With that said, pray for snow and celebrate when Ullr Provides!!
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