Getting away once or twice a year, when you’ve found yourself a nice winter holiday deal, may not justify the cost of purchasing expensive ski equipment, no matter how passionate you are about the sport. What you may not know, however, is that hiring doesn't mean you can't have the use of premium equipment, and if that's not overly important to you, there are options for you to save money. |
Get the right Winter Holiday Deal
When it comes to booking a winter holiday deal, some ski companies offer great incentives to their clients to rent equipment, working in partnership with local suppliers to provide discounts of up to 60% off the normal prices. Not only that - you can pre-book so your equipment is ready and waiting for you at the hire shop – saving time as well as money.
Rent the Right Gear
As you can imagine, some rental ski gear gets quite a thrashing throughout the season, so there's a constant rotation of new and used equipment. Naturally, as skis, bindings, poles and boots get older, their performance and responsiveness will reduce. The cost of rental equipment is set on a sliding scale, determined by the tech-quality of the models and how long they've been in use.
Please note that a ski rental pack will not include a helmet, which is classed as a separate item. It's strongly recommended (although not legally required in many countries) to wear a helmet, and if you're going to purchase one piece of equipment, this would be it – in order to know its provenance – even though all hire helmets should be safety checked and certified.
If you're on a budget and having high quality equipment is not really important (and you wouldn't know the difference), you can settle for the most basic skis, boots and poles. This kind of rental pack would contain safe, reliable skis in good working order - probably in their third season of use. The cost is low but your gear won't be the prettiest on the piste.
Middle of the Road
For beginners and intermediates who don't mind paying a little bit more, newer equipment (in its second season of use) is a step up from the budget pack. Skis and boots will be more responsive and easier to handle, simply because they are newer models and haven't had as much use. If you're looking to start as you mean to go on, this option is for you.
If you're a seasoned skier and looking to challenge yourself and ramp up your skills, renting new, more upmarket equipment will give you a taste of technology and technique. You'll be on equipment with less than two season's use, which affords you superior grip, handling and speed. As your skills increase, you'll be able to 'trade up' (usually once in the course of a rental period) to higher quality skis if you want.
Expert Gear for the Experts
If you're an expert skier and happy to pay a premium, you can expect premium gear to match, which won’t be identifiable as a rental if you care about the fashion factor. You'll be able to whizz down the blacks on the latest model skis (including high-tech off piste models) and boots that are a maximum of 12 months old. Again, this premium level will allow you to trade up or change if required.
When you've found a great winter holiday deal, renting your gear doesn’t have to mean you'll need to settle for a second-class performance. In fact, many advanced skiers prefer to rent (at the premium level) because it allows them to enjoy the benefits of the latest technology without outlaying huge wads of cash every season to purchase new model skis and boots. You almost have to wonder why you'd bother buying your own, don't you?
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for a great winter holiday deal in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley, Ski Amis is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.
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