How to Buy Ski Equipment

How to Buy Ski Equipment
If you've been bitten by the ski bug, there's good news and bad. The good news is that you're venturing into a winter wonderland of fun, exercise and beautiful scenery. The bad news is that buying good quality ski equipment will drain your wallet dry unless you know the secrets.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Getting Great Deals on Hard Goods

Things You’ll Need:
  • Access to the Internet Annual ski reviews Large selection of ski equipment from which to choose Small notepad
  • Access to the Internet
  • Annual ski reviews
  • Large selection of ski equipment from which to choose
  • Small notepad
Step 1
Wait until the end of the ski season before you make any major ski purchases. Dealers are constantly swapping out this year's hard goods like skis, boots and poles to make room for next year's. Most retailers and many manufacturers will wait until spring before advertising half-off deals on equipment. Try to avoid buying ski equipment during peak season.
Step 2
Talk to your local ski shop and see whether it's planning on liquidating its demonstration fleet. Most quality ski shops that demo high performance skis will want to get rid of them before the start of the next season. Plan to do your shopping research before the end of ski season, and take notes on which models you like and why. By the time ski season is over, you'll be an informed shopper, equipped with lots of notes and opinions on ski equipment
Step 3
Test drive a number of ski boots to determine which models you like and why. While you'll never get a perfect fit renting boots, you should be able to collect enough information to guide you in the right direction. Try several different sizes of boots in the same model to determine which fits your foot best. Be sure to try them out in the afternoon when your feet are bigger. If they feel good then, chances are they're the right boot for you.

Shopping for Ski Soft Goods

Step 1
Peruse your local ski shop or the ski shops at your favorite resort for the best selection and deals on soft goods. Soft goods are items of clothing like pants, parkas, gloves, socks, hats and helmets. Many sales feature high-quality soft goods on sale. Manufacturers will often discontinue certain lines just to make changes in the cosmetics; the fabrics and quality are still the same.
Step 2
While skiing at your favorite ski resort, check out what the ski pros and the locals are wearing, and jot down the names of the manufacturers you see. People who spend a lot of time on the mountain generally know which clothing is the most durable and keeps them the warmest.
Step 3
Look for the newer features in parkas and pants. Some fabrics breathe: When the weather is cold, the pores in the fabric close tight. When the weather is warm, they open up offering additional ventilation. Buy parkas and pants with "zips" or ventilation zippers. Look for items that have plenty of pockets, places for your car keys and features like a pocket to store your goggles or cell phone. Some even have plug-ins for your iPod.
Step 4
Open up your wallet when it comes to things like gloves and socks, things that will keep you warm and dry instead of leaving you wet and miserable. A hundred dollars may seem like a lot of money for a pair of quality ski gloves, but you'll be able to use them for years to come, so in the long run they're a good deal. Buy thinner socks made from polyester/wool blends that breathe when your feet get hot. Buy at least one good pair of long underwear. Your undergarments are the most important clothes you can wear.
Step 5
Unlike many other sports that depend on bulky outer garments, the secret to keeping warm and dry while on the mountain skiing is dressing in layers. Look for outer garments that are water-resistant and able to breathe. They should also protect you against the wind. Underneath the outer garment is the insulating layer. Look for man-made and goose-down products that move with you. Buy your garments big enough to let you move. Keep in mind when buying a parka that you may be adding several layers underneath it on cold days.

Finding Deals

Step 1
Ski equipment is known for having quick turnovers. Something you see this year will be gone next year. Where do they all go? Chances are they're going to lesser-known outlets and swap meets, so be sure to look there before paying full retail on expensive ski gear.
Step 2
Use the Internet to look for bargains on ski equipment. Contact the manufacturers or manufacturers' reps directly to see whether they're selling off this year's models. You could save a bundle.
Step 3
Don't discount the value of hand-me-downs. Often times friends and family members will take up skiing, only to quit after the first few seasons. The gear that they bought may be brand new, with plenty of life left in it.

Tips & Warnings

 
Do your research before making major purchases. Think about buying demo equipment.
 
Do your research before making major purchases.
 
Think about buying demo equipment.
 
Never scrimp on boots, skis and clothing that keeps you warm. Avoid buying off-brands of gear. Stick with the major names.
 
Never scrimp on boots, skis and clothing that keeps you warm.
 
Avoid buying off-brands of gear. Stick with the major names.

Article Written By Allen Smith

Allen Smith is an award-winning freelance writer living in Vail, Colo. He writes about health, fitness and outdoor sports. Smith has a master's degree in exercise physiology and an exercise specialist certification with the American College of Sports Medicine at San Diego State University.

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