One of the biggest questions that comes up for those heading off on destination ski vacations is whether or not to bring their own gear. This post is here to help.
Yes, there are perks to packing up your own equipment: clicking into the skis you’ve been with for years, basking in their familiar flex and turn radius when exploring new terrain on a new mountain. You know they’ve got your back, you know that – to some degree – they’ll perform when things get tough. There won’t be any waiting in line at the rental shop to frantically get geared up before the lift lines swell on a holiday weekend. And there’s also this: you’ve already paid for them anyway.
So why rent your ski gear? When it comes to the ultimate ski vacation experience, there are plenty of reasons. Here are our top 6:
1. No Luggage Hassle
Forget about schlepping that oversized ski bag through airports and worrying about extra baggage fees. Leaving the skis and poles at home means avoiding the biggest travel glitch of misplaced, delayed, or overweight baggage issues as well. We recommend bringing your own boots, and slinging them over your shoulder as a carry-on to be sure they get to your destination safely. It really doesn’t look so strange in Salt Lake City and Denver Airports.
2. Powder-Perfect Skis
You may have the newest, coolest model of a carving ski on the market this season, and we’re sure this is making for fun turns on the icy slopes of northern Vermont. But in the Montana cold smoke? No way. My first couple of trips out West were spent on tiny slalom carving skis, and between the weight and proclivity to sink to the bottom of any powder field, the gear became an issue. Leave the fish sticks for your local weekend routine and splurge on renting fat skis for fabulous Utah powder days.
3. Professional Fit
Rental shops at major resorts are not the ones you may have grown up with at local mom-and-pop hills. These full service businesses employ professionally trained staff who know how to fit for your skiing ability, height, weight, and terrain preference. If you try your setup for a day and notice the flex is too stiff or the edges too grippy, simply head into the shop at day’s end and get geared up even better for the rest of your vacation.
4. Demo Thrills
Ski vacations are great opportunities to demo all the latest gear from the top ski companies on the market. Hey, you can even demo a different pair each day. This is ideal for those thinking about buying skis and hoping to give them a test drive first on the slopes. The cost is comparable to renting gear, and you may even catch the resort on a special festival weekend when companies set up their own tents at the base and rent the season’s newest models for free.
5. Package Deals
Many resorts— even small ones -- bundle equipment rental with lift tickets and lessons, especially when it comes to beginners and kids. If this is your first time on the slopes, getting gear that fits is crucial, and purchasing an entire setup is unnecessary until you fall in love with the sport and decide to pursue it on a regular basis. It’s also known that kids grow out of their gear every 1-2 seasons; pros in the rental shops can suit the little ones up appropriately, and be sure to ask about a bundled cost with group lessons.
6. Personalized Kits
The new big thing on the ski rental market is the personalized kit. Companies like KitLender put together everything from outerwear to equipment personalized for your tastes (as if you were choosing them in a shop). Your kit is then shipped to your ski vacation destination – yes, right to your hotel door – and is ready to use when you arrive. Return shipping materials are provided. This is a favorite option for those who like the latest gear and clothing each season without having to purchase every season.
Scoping out this season's ski vacation options? We can help you save big. Get the best deals here.
Wondering what else to pack? Read our short guide on What to Wear For Your Ski Vacation.