New To Ski

Should I Rent or Buy Ski Clothing? (When Does It Pay To Buy Your Own)

by Kenny Jarvis | Updated: October 27th, 2022
Ski-Equipment

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It’s always exciting researching and booking your first ski vacation and there is plenty to organize before you get there, including whether to buy your ski gear or just rent it. Here we have the answers.

If it’s your first trip and you’re not yet sure if you’ll take to skiing, it makes sense to rent. However, if you’ve been before or you know you’re going to be an enthusiast, then buying is going to be a better idea.

It’s important to learn about the pros and cons of buying vs renting, so you can make the right choice.

yellow ski pants

What Clothes and Equipment Do You Need to Go Skiing?

Key Takeaway: Skiing can be an expensive hobby, especially if you need to buy all your new gear at once. Traveling with ski equipment in your luggage can be tricky too, which is why renting is always a tempting option.

Skiing Equipment

Most ski rental shops have a wide range of skiing gear in different sizes off the shelf but it’s best not to assume. So, if you’re going down the renting route, it’s a good idea to pre-book so you’re not caught out. Make a checklist of the items you’ll need so you’ll start on the slopes fully kitted out.

Ski equipment

For Skiers

For boarders

Clothes

Plenty of layers are essential for a safe, successful ski holiday. Get good-quality, lightweight, breathable layers to keep you warm. For base layers we recommend merino wool which is warm and wicks away moisture to keep you dry. Skiing is a lot of fun, but not if you’re freezing cold! Make sure you buy or rent these items.

skier in complete cloth

Safety Equipment

While snow sports are fun, you should always consider your safety too. Depending on your destination, you’ll most likely need the following:

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Many items of safety equipment aren’t required but are recommended. You’ll only need the likes of avalanche kits and walkie-talkies if you are heading off-piste. Likewise, back protectors won’t really be required by beginner skiers on green slopes but they are a great idea for those skiing in the backcountry or close to hazards such as rocks and trees.

Renting Ski Clothes

Renting Ski Clothes

Regardless of your destination, you will find that ski hire shops often provide a broad range of ski gear.

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Tip: Historically, ski equipment tended to be old and worn in rental shops, but now most places these days offer high-quality gear. You should have access to plenty of options to get exactly what you need but do ring ahead to ensure the shop is carrying the stock you need.

Renting your ski gear in-resort beats bringing your own from home in several ways.

Pros of Renting Ski Clothes

  • It is easy on your budget – Skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports. You need a lot of gear, and it all adds up. The high prices you have to pay for new skiwear make renting more practical for short, infrequent trips to the slopes.
  • Not stuck with bulky clothes – When renting, you don’t need to fill space in your wardrobe with bulky skiwear. In keeping with Marie Kondo’s minimalism teachings, you don’t have to worry about where to store all your gear if you rent.
  • It’s great for fast-growing kids – Adults can easily use the same ski jacket for a decade but for kids you’ll have to change more frequently. If you’re buying gear, then they’ll likely need new stuff every year, so, renting for kids makes a lot of sense.
  • Travel lighter – Traveling with ski gear takes more than twice the luggage space of a summer vacation. However, when renting, you don’t need to worry about it. For those bulky ski clothes, you may need to take an extra piece of luggage.
  • Choose from a wide variety – When renting, you can swap equipment and skiwear as often as you want. This gives you plenty of experience of different brands and models, which can give you a great foundation of knowledge for when you eventually buy.
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ski equipment

Cons of Renting Ski Clothes

  • Long queues – If you don’t book your skiwear in advance, you may encounter long lines at the ski rental shop. Time on the slopes is often very valuable, so delays such as this can be frustrating.
  • Ill-fitting gear – Rented skiwear can sometimes be uncomfortable. Giving the shop staff accurate information about your skiing ability, goals, and personal measurements helps them find the best sized clothes for you.
  • It costs more in the long run – If you go skiing once or twice a year, then all those rental costs are going to add up over time. If you’re a frequent skier, then investing in your own equipment will be better for your wallet in the long-term

Buying Ski Clothes

Key Takeaway: Of course, the more you plan on wearing a clothing item, the more sense it makes to buy and not rent it. For a person who hits the slopes frequently, buying is a sound judgment.

Snowboarding Skiing man

Pros of Buying Ski Clothes

  • Custom-fit – Buying skiwear is a good idea if you are an avid skier. Not only can you find your ideal style, but you’ll also have clothes that are a good fit too. This will enable you to be more comfortable on the slopes.
  • No worries – If you have plenty of storage in your home, a nice set of ski gear can give you less stress. When planning your next skiing adventure, your clothes are all organized and you won’t need to worry about lines in rental shops or getting the right fit.
  • No rules – There are some clothes you can’t rent. For instance, some stores don’t let you rent goggles, face warmers, and gloves. So, in addition you may also want to get your own thermal underwear.

Cons of Buying Ski Clothes

  • Traveling can be a pain – Buying and bringing your own gear to the resort is both inconvenient and expensive. It’s bulky and you’ll have to pay for travel extras, especially on flights.
  • Buying limits your options – You’ll be wearing the same skiwear each time you go skiing. That being said, most people prefer to own what they’re wearing and update it over time.
  • Ski gear is bulky – Live in a one-bedroom apartment or in a busy family home? If so, finding somewhere to store all your skiing gear can be difficult for the 50 weeks of the year when you are not skiing.

Cost of Buying Vs. Renting

We’ve already mentioned that renting ski clothes is cheaper than buying them in the short term. Now, let’s establish how much of a dent buying and transporting your own skiwear will put in your wallet.

  • The initial purchase of ski gear will likely cost anywhere from $600 to way above $1,500.
  • Extra flight charges for the ski gear may be well above $100
  • You will also have to pay extra to transport the ski gear by bus or larger hired vehicles.

Renting ski gear may cost you between $25 and $80 per day. Therefore, a week-long ski holiday may only cost around $300 for all your rental costs.

But let’s say you go on 10 skiing trips. That new gear that you bought for your first trip would still be in good condition, and let’s say it cost you $1,000. 10 skiing trips with a rental cost of $300 each time would total $3,000.

As you can see, for one trip, renting is by far the cheaper option. But as you go on more skiing trips, the accumulative costs of renting quickly overtake the cost of the gear that you’ve bought.

You need to weigh these costs with how much you’ll go skiing. You’ll also need to decide which you find more convenient, not renting or traveling with your ski clothes.

Guide to Rent Ski Clothing and Equipment

ski equipment

If you’re looking to rent, then make sure you follow these tips:

  • Pre-book before the trip – When you pre-book skiwear, the ski shop ensures that everything is in stock and ready for you when you arrive. Additionally, you can often get great discount offers.
  • Collect your ski clothes and gear as soon as you arrive – It’s best to head straight to the shop and collect your gear. Alternatively, ask for it to be delivered to your lodgings. That way, you ensure that your first-day skiing takes off without a hitch.
  • Get your specs right – Ski-hire shops have much to offer based on your size, gender, skiing ability, and age. Be sure to give precise specifications of the gear and apparel that you want.

The Bottom Line

For those who haven’t had much experience on the slopes, it makes sense to rent.

However, if you fall in love with skiing and know you’ll be coming back every winter, then buying is the best option. You can, of course, mix and match by buying your own ski goggles and thermal layers, for example, and then renting everything else.

For most people who haven’t skied a lot, renting is better, as it’s cheaper for one trip, more convenient and easier. You still then have the option to buy your equipment if skiing becomes your passion.

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NewToSki.com is where over 1 million people a year come to learn more about skiing. I share everything I wish someone had told me when I was learning to ski. My name is Simon & I've been skiing since 2005. This winter, our family is taking a 3-month camper ski trip across the Alps. If you enjoy our articles, please join the free email club. We'd love to have you.
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