What You Need to Know about Renting or Buying Skis

May 29, 2019

When planning a ski weekend in the Alps, choosing a destination, booking your accommodation and flights, and purchasing a ski pass are not the only things you need to do…

‘To bring or to rent my skis?’ is another important decision that should be made during the planning process. In fact, it should be near the top of your decision list, not down there with ‘where are we going to eat?’ or ‘are we planning non-skiing activities?’ as it may impact what flights you choose to book.

Bringing your own skis may seem like the perfect option to avoid the queues at the ski shop, but lugging them to the slopes can be a pain. Whether it’s trying to squeeze them into a taxi, with the driver freaking out about his precious car, trying to understand your airline’s luggage rules and ski carriage costs, or making your friends wait while you drop your skis off at the over-size check-in at the far end of the airport.

But renting… You may avoid the transport hassle, but the queues, disagreeing with the rental guy about the sort of skis you’re planning to rent, calculating your stats in kilos and centimetres, storage availability or only having two brands of skis to choose from is a whole other struggle.

In reality, it all comes down to personal preference. So here’s my best advice – whether you’re bringing your own skis or renting them.


Bringing Your Own Skis

There are plenty of advantages of bringing your own equipment, the most important being you’re simply more comfortable with your own skis. You know how they work, you’re an expert at skiing with them, and they’re all set to your preferences.

The downside is bringing them with you. On the tube or in the taxi, on the plane… And we haven’t even talked about the airline charges yet.

When flying with your skis, make sure to:

  • Use a travel bag designed for your gear. They range from a basic zip-up bag to plastic tubes for full protection.
  • Check the airline’s policy on flying with skis and pay any extra charges in advance as they will always be higher at the airport. Some airlines may require a specific type of bag and weight restrictions vary.
  • Get your skis serviced before you go. Only too often we get asked in-resort where people can get their skis serviced on their first morning skiing and then finding there is a long wait.
  • Check the conditions and the forecast. There is no point going to all that trouble taking your prized fat powder skis with you and then finding it is hard packed piste only skiing and you end up renting something else anyway.

We recommend flying with Swiss Airlines #flyswiss if you’re bringing your own gear. They carry them for free – which is why they are justified in calling themselves “The Skiers’ Airline”.


Renting Skis at the Resort

Ski resorts usually offer skis and other equipment at reasonable prices. It can take a while to find the perfect skis, both due to queues or rental guys disagreeing with your preferences, but there are plenty of state-of-the-art shops offering a great service.

Some shops even let you book your equipment online and deliver it to your hotel in advance, which is perfect if you know exactly what you’re looking for (and can save some time and money too!). You’ll pay more for the service, but it takes the hassle out of standing in line and lugging gear to your hotel.

The good thing about renting is that you can sometimes try the newest gear and even switch between makes and models during the week to test different options or make sure you have the right skis as conditions change.

Starting on a different set of skis each trip can mean a bit of time to get comfortable at the start and it can also become expensive if you have a long trip planned and want the latest gear, but most rental shops can work with you on price if you’re staying longer.

If you’re brand new to skiing, renting equipment is recommended. It’s best to get familiar with the equipment and learning what you like or don’t like before buying gear that you may end up not liking.

If you’re a more experienced skier, you may choose to rent skis to match the snow conditions or to try out some new technology by renting a demo before making a purchasing decision.

Just remember that whatever shop you use, don’t just go for the cheapest price you find online. Think about the location of the shop too, which can be hugely important logistically in some resorts. Often the option of shops that offer storage at the lifts or on the slopes can be a key factor in some of the more traditional non-purpose built resorts.


So, Which Will It Be?

Ultimately, it comes down to overall cost and convenience and the details of your trip.

Compare the cost of renting or bringing your own and the hassle of standing in line and getting fitted to transporting your own skis. Which is worth more to you?

Check out the rental options in your chosen resort and the logistics of your hotel and the shop locations before deciding. Be realistic with yourself about how fussy you are!

Either way, life will be much easier if you have planned ahead. After arriving at your resort at the start of your ski weekend, doesn’t a drink in front of a crackling fire sound so much nicer than trying to convince the rental guy of your DIN setting or trying to find somewhere to get your own skis serviced for the next morning?

Whichever you go for, one thing I definitely recommend investing in is ski boots. Make sure you have a proper fitting consultation. The perfect ski boots will ensure your feet don’t end up hurting!


Ready to Go?

Whichever option you choose, we’re here to help you plan.

If you want to buy a pair of skis; as a Momentum Ski customer, you’ll have access to an exclusive discount at Snow + Rock stores.

And if you want to rent, we work with a number of shops where we know the owners and that they offer a great service. Shops that we recommend offer a good range of skis as well as deal with groups efficiently to reduce queueing when everyone shows up at the same time.

And if you want to bring your own skis, we’re happy to help you find the best option for transport.

Get in touch today and let’s talk about planning your ski trip.

And let me know, do you prefer bringing your own skis, or renting them?

Amin Momen

Amin Momen