Ski Holidays: Rent or Buy

There’s no doubt that ski  or snowboarding holidays need a lot more STUFF than, say strolling through an art gallery in Paris, lying on the beach in the Maldives, or (at least it feels that way sometimes) trekking through the rainforests of Borneo. You need warm base layers, a proper jacket and trousers, gloves, a hat and goggles, all before you even think about equipment.

Ok let’s think about the equipment. It can seem at first to be a strange netherworld where people talk performance specifications as if they are trying to beat the world record, and use all sorts of complicated words, probably just to confuse newcomers like you. When it comes down to it you need a ski or snowboard, then bindings (the bit that attaches you) and boots, both of which must be specific for ski or snowboarding. Skiers often also like poles, snowboarders, especially beginners, would be advised to get a helmet.


Snowboarding at Whistler


I can see you mentally adding up the costs, and mentally packing your suitcase – not looking so big now, is it? Do you really need all this stuff? And more importantly: should you buy it or rent it. We decided to do this the old fashioned way, with a pros and cons list!




Pros: Cons:
  • Simple solution
  • Some rental shops can have all the gear waiting in your hotel room
  • One-off payment
  • Minimal worries
  • Easy equipment replacement/fixing
  • Set-up help provided
  • You’re not investing in anything
  • Usually inferior quality equipment
  • Possible poor fitting of boots
  • Cost can be quite high




Pros: Cons:
  • You get exactly what you want
  • You can get cheap deals if you look at the right time
  • More up-do-date equipment with less damage
  • can save money with regular use
  • Resale value quite high
  • You’ll need a separate bag, which will be checked in separately (usually at a charge)
  • Damage or theft – it’s up to you to arrange a solution
  • Maintenance and care is yours
  • You’ll need to be able to store it at home


Getting some air on the skis in the Alps
Alpes de Haute Provence

So after all that, what have we decided? Probably that if you’re a first timer it’s best to rent, but that if you’re starting to get serious and skiing or snowboarding for more than a week or two a year, it’s probably better to buy. I say, err on the side of caution, live a life with less clutter, and rent until it really makes no sense not to buy! Some places even rent out goggles, gloves and outerwear too if you really fancy pushing the rental boat out, although don’t count on it – do your research before you go.


Now you’ve got the gear sorted – get your holiday without spending a penny too much.