Our guests know we offer ski and snowboard rentals, but we are often asked about the rest of the package – the pieces that keep you warm out on the mountain. The right ski or snowboard clothing can make or break your day on the slopes, but it shouldn’t break the bank. Whether you are a first-time skier or rider, a large family planning a ski trip with the kiddos, or simply don’t want to haul a suitcase full of winter clothing, renting affordable, yet quality ski/snowboard apparel may be an option.
There are, however, a few things to consider when doing so. Renting ski/snowboard clothing and accessories has both pros and cons over buying. Below are some of our recommendations
What is the Value of Purchasing vs. Renting Ski Clothing?
When you purchase your own softgoods (jackets, pants, base layers, gloves, etc.), that’s exactly what they become – your very own, yours to keep. That means you have the freedom to choose your own personal fit and style, rather than being stuck with whatever apparel the rental shop may provide. You can also keep this clothing and wear it from season to season, for as long as you would like. In addition, there are many items that are not available to rent, nor would you want to rent these items such as socks, hats, and thermal underwear base layers. So, you will need to buy and pack these items anyway.
Often times, while you may be able to rent ski/snowboard apparel for a fraction of the cost of buying, the quality of that clothing may be less that what you want and need. This is especially true in more extreme alpine weather conditions, or for the avid skier/rider who needs better protection against the elements. Having proper quality winter clothing is particularly important for small children, who feel the extremes of cold temperatures much faster than adults. It can mean the difference between your child enjoying his/her time on the slopes or collapsed on the snow bank in a puddle of tears. Not to mention, many retailers offer warranties on all their gear – hard and softgoods.
If packing extra clothing is a concern – no worries – many soft goods brands have already considered this travel obstacle. These days, outerwear companies are becoming more consumer-friendly and designing products that are compact and/or collapsible like Patagonia’s Nanopuff jackets and pants. Made of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation, these items are lightweight and collapsible, yet warm and both wind and waterproof. Purchasing apparel made of this type of material will certainly save space in your suitcase and make packing for your ski trip much easier.
On the other hand, if your luggage is truly stuffed to the brim, renting clothing does allow you to pack less, not mention save on extra bag fees with the airline.
What Type of Skier / Snowboarder Are You?
There are definitely several variables to consider when deciding whether to purchase or rent ski/snowboard clothing. Among them are determining what type of skier or rider you are and how often you will ski or ride. Avid, hard-core skiers and riders who are out there crushing the slopes several weeks a season will definitely want to purchase their own gear – everything from apparel to their own skis and boards. For economical and practical purposes, it just makes sense.
For those who only ski or ride one week or one to two weekends per season, then renting apparel may be more cost effective – especially if you live somewhere warm and don’t need cold weather gear. If you are a first-time skier/rider and you don’t own any gear yet, and are uncertain if the sport is your cup of tea, you may consider renting as an option. If you have young children, they will grow out of any clothing you buy for them by next season. Renting certainly saves time, hassle, and of course, money spent shopping for winter clothing each year, especially if you are not ready to make the investment.
What About Purchasing Second-Hand / Gently Worn Clothing?
An alternative to buying brand new or renting your winter threads, is the option of purchasing gently used clothing from second-hand thrift or consignment stores such as Recycle Sports. Or, find a local ski swap in town that sells gently worn gear and clothing. These are all great options for the first-time or casual skier/rider and for families with children who are constantly growing out of both clothing and equipment. Again, keep in mind quality and value when deciding if this is the best option for your circumstance.
You can also check out ski/snowboard shop sales both in early season and also at the end of the season. Often, the best time to buy both clothing and equipment is either just before the slopes open from September to late October, or at the end of season, April to mid-May. Christy Sports’ Powder Daze sale kicks off at the end of August each year and is a great option for purchasing discounted ski clothing and gear.
Can I Rent Ski Clothing From Christy Sports?
If your ski/snowboard trip includes Steamboat Springs, then your best bet for winter clothing rentals is our very own Central Park Plaza Christy Sports. Uniquely, this is our only location that rents ski and snowboard clothing. Christy Sports here rents mainly ski/snowboard pants and jackets for both adults and children, and offers a discount when you rent both pants and jackets together vs. separately. As a bonus, Christy Sports also has a full rental fleet of skis and snowboards for all ages and ability levels. Not to mention, a large retail store to purchase any other items and accessories you will need.
Ultimately, the cost of ski equipment and clothing will vary based on how frequently you ski or snowboard, and how you get your gear – buy new or used, rent, or even borrow. Before making any decisions on outfitting you and your family this winter, simply take into consideration the cost and value of ownership, how often you will use the gear, transportation, laundry, and storage. Different skiers/snowboarders have different needs and there is an ideal solution for every type. Just do the math!
Whatever option you choose, not to worry, if you forget something, or the airline loses your luggage, or you simply decide lugging your equipment cross country is not for you, any of our Christy Sports locations can save the day! Most locations offer both rental and retail shops, where you have the ease and convenience of renting equipment, as well as purchasing any clothing that may have been left behind.