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The cost of ski equipment can add up quickly, especially if you are just starting off. Probably one of your biggest, yet most essential expenses will be your skis.
A new set of skis can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000. Unfortunately, you need the boots and bindings too if your skis are going to serve you at all. These add on yet another costly purchase. The total price for a ski setup can range from $600 to $1500.
Because there is a wide gap in price, it is hard to know if you’re getting a good deal. There are several variables to keep in mind that will significantly affect the price. So before you head to the sporting goods store, we will break down how much you should expect to pay for new skis based on the variables that change the price. You will then feel confident that you can find a quality pair of skis and not overpay for unnecessary features.
How to Choose the Right Pair of Skis: What to Consider
1. Your Experience Level
A well-seasoned skier will not buy the same skis as a beginner. Skis are designed with the user’s ability in mind. Advanced level skiers can expect to pay more for skis than a beginner will. So if you are a beginner, buying the most expensive skis will not ensure that you’ll ski better. In fact, buying skis outside of your ability level will only make skier more difficult and less enjoyable.
If you have many winters of experience skiing, chances are you will be skiing faster and turning more aggressively. Therefore, you will need more stable skis such as performance skis to hold up under the intense use. Because of their sturdiness and resilience, performance skis will cost more.
On the other hand, beginners need skis that are designed with more flex and shape. They allow the skier to control the ski with ease and comfort at slower speeds. These lightweight, flexible skis are almost always cheaper than performance skis. Buying them new will only put you out around $400.
2. Your Size
The only time you will buy skis outside of your ability level is if you are a heavier skier. Weight is equally important to ability when it comes to buying the right pair of skis.
Much like the more advanced skier, the heavier skier will put more force on the skis than the lighter skier. The ski will obviously flex more with the more weight that is on it.
So, if you weigh over 200 pounds, consider finding a ski level above your current ability. For those just starting out, using skis meant for intermediate skiers could be beneficial as the extra weight will have the same effect on an intermediate ski as a lighter person would have on a beginner’s ski.
Meanwhile, if you weigh less than 105 pounds, you might find that sticking with a beginner ski is better for you even if your ski level is more advanced. Otherwise, an intermediate ski or an advanced ski might not bend and flex the way they need it to because they are not able to exert enough force.
Your weight can greatly affect which style of skis you end up buying. Unfortunately, if you are heavier, you will need to pay more for more advanced skis even if you are a beginner. Otherwise, if you are much lighter than average, you could get away with buying the cheaper beginner’s skis even if you are a more experienced skier.
3. Your Style
The skis with the coolest graphics are always going to be more expensive than the ones with the generic, solid colors. If you’re okay with forgoing the fun designs, you will save a lot of money. While a sick graphic can start a lot of conversations, you have to decide if getting the perfect look is in your budget or not.
4. Your Pride
If you’re okay with wearing last-season skis, you can find new skis at discounted prices. As the new season’s skis start filling up the showrooms, ski shops are rushed to get the old equipment out of the way. Being willing to get last year’s models could save you tons. Otherwise, you can expect to pay much more for the latest and greatest.
Before you write off buying last year’s skis, keep in mind that most manufacturers make minimal changes in their designs from year to year. There may be some minor improvements, but it probably won’t be enough of a change for you to be able to tell the difference on the slopes.
Many times new graphics are the only changes made to the updated skis. If it’s not going to affect your skiing ability, then don’t pay more for the newest skis.
If there is some significant change since last season, make sure you research it well to decide whether or not it’s going to improve your day on the slopes.
5. Other Gear You Need to Buy
Skis are no good without boots, bindings, and poles. If you haven’t purchased the rest of your gear yet, you can expect to pay around $200 to $500 on boots, $100 to $200 on bindings, and approximately $30 for poles.
Thankfully, bindings and poles are pretty universal, and as long as the bindings fit well to your skis and boots, shopping for them shouldn’t be too complicated.
You won’t notice considerable differences in poles from one set to the other. $30 will get you a new set, but if you can find a lightly used pair, they can be much cheaper. Poles are the last thing you’ll want to splurge on or that you’ll need to update.
Your boots, however, can make all the difference as to whether you enjoy skiing or you’re completely miserable. Finding boots that are comfortable, warm, and easy to get on will probably be more difficult for you than shopping for skis. If you are going to spend a little extra on any of the items, make it your boots. You won’t regret it.
How to Save Money on Skis
There are little things you can do to keep the price of your ski setup down. Just keep these following tips in mind:
1. Buy Out of Season
You can save hundreds of dollars by buying last season’s skis. You probably won’t even notice the slight changes made from the previous year. If you want new skis without the original price, shop the clearance section.
2. Buy Gently Used Gear
Not all used skis are a good idea. However, if you can find a pair of gently used skis either at a ski swap or on Craigslist, you will save a lot of money. Just make sure you see their condition clearly, so you don’t buy any that are beaten up. Ideally, these people bought them new and only used them once a year or two ago. They’re just making room in the closet now, so you might be able to get them for less than $100.
3. Don’t Get Sucked in By the Pretty Colors
I know they match your new ski coat, but those eye-catching graphics come with a price. If you’re trying to get the best deal, ignore the artwork and colors altogether.
4. Do Your Research
Going into a ski shop with no idea what you’re looking for or what you need puts your fate entirely in the hands of the salesperson. For the most part, people will want to help you and aren’t trying to take advantage of you. But you will be a lot more confident in your purchase if you know ahead of time what you want.
5. Consider a Bundle Package
Some shops offer skis, boots, bindings, and poles all for one flat rate. Before bundling your equipment, make sure you know what each of the included items sells for separately. That is the only way you’ll know if you’re getting a good deal or not.
Is Renting Worth It?
Renting is a really great option if you are just getting started. That way, you can decide whether or not you’re ready to invest in this sport. Unfortunately, renting can also be expensive. While most smaller hills offer ski bundles for around $30 a day, some larger resorts charge up to $80 a day. So if you are thinking of renting, call ahead of time for the price. In the long run, it might save your money to buy your own set of skis. It will definitely save you time.
Buying skis is a great way to embrace the sport. It will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. You will avoid long lines at the rental shop and paying high prices for rentals. You will also be most comfortable in your own gear. While it can be costly to get started up, there is an affordable way to find the right equipment that fits your needs and your budget.