NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Even before you actually hit the ski slopes, you’ve probably already forked over plenty of money to stay at the resort and ride the lift – so why spend more than absolutely necessary on equipment? Fortunately, there are several tricks you can use to cut down the cost of skis, snowboards and general apparel.
Renting vs. Buying
For avid skiers, it might make sense to buy equipment, but most casual skiers would be better off renting.
“Unless you ski all the time, it probably makes sense to rent rather than buy your equipment,” says Erin Huffstetler, who writes the Frugal Living Guide for About.com. Aside from saving you money, it will probably save you space at home as well.
Huffstetler says more and more ski resorts let customers reserve rentals in advance and may even offer discounts if the reservations are made far enough ahead of time. Alternatively, skiers can look to websites like Snapgoods and Share Some Sugar, which let users rent or borrow ski equipment from people nearby who may not need them every day.
Discounted Gift Cards
If you do feel like owning your own equipment, Huffstetler suggests purchasing discounted gift cards online for stores like Sports Authority, which can effectively save you 10% or more on your bill. Websites like Giftcardgranny and PlasticJungle, for example, are currently selling unwanted gift cards to Sports Authority with as much as $83 on them for 15% off.
Wait Until Spring to Buy
This won’t help those looking for cheap equipment in the immediate future, but as Huffstetler points out, if you wait until the tail end of winter, you’ll likely find some good deals.
“I would definitely be looking towards early spring – maybe even as soon as February or March you may begin to see some deals,” she says. “It’s the type of equipment that takes up space so stores want to get it out the door.”
In the meantime, you can try renting.