This year’s hints on how to save is real similar to the post we made last year. First of all, you need to be ready to jump on a ski or snowboard deal when you see one. If you wait, you may be out of luck. This ties right in the second point I’d like to make. Just as the merchants in 2010-11 didn’t buy as much inventory and thereby reducing their exposure to a poor season, the same will hold true for the upcoming season.
Many of the top skis and snowboards were sold out by last January with all the powder that had fallen in the West. Most of the ski areas like Snowbird, Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley were getting pounded. Since there is not as much excess inventory, you probably are not going to see a lot of blow out sales this Fall.
For you the customer, this is not good news, as much of last year’s gear has already been sold. Chances are, you aren’t going to find the 60-70% off that you did 2 seasons ago. If you get 40-50% off, I think you should be pleased.
So when is the best time to buy skis, snowboards, apparel, and gear? In my experience, the best 2 times are in mid-March to when the ski lifts shut down in the Spring. Then, from about the end of August until mid October.
Get to the tailgate sales held throughout the country and pick up some great used equipment. This is especially true if you are just trying to add to your quiver. Need some rock skis, then a tailgate should be tops on your list.
Also, most of time, the tailgate sales are held by or in conjunction with ski and snowboard shops. At this time, they are usually having a sale themselves with some good markdowns. Additionally, the tailgate sales usually have shop staff on hand to help aid you, even in the purchase of someone else’s stuff!
This is basically the shop version of the typical Black Friday sales for the rest of the retail industry. Find out when the Winter sport shops in your area having their parking lot sale and plan on going. You never know what you are going to find at a great price.
Once November rolls around, and the colder temps hit, the demand for Winter related items begins to go back up. So if you wait until the lifts start running to buy your ski and snowboard gear, then you may have missed the best deals (but not all the deals).
What about Black Friday and Cyber Monday and will there be deals? Yes, I think there will be good sales and plenty of good shopping. However, for the majority of you, I wouldn’t bank on finding your best deal.
The best deals will probably be available well prior to the time around Thanksgiving. I think you should look at Black Friday and Cyber Monday as way to add or to potentially add to your equipment list as opposed to using that long weekend to fulfill your list.
Many of the smaller handmade and independent manufacturers are having pre-season sales. And once the season starts, the only way a deal is going to happen is if there’s no snow. And if there’s no snow, you probably won’t be buying skis or a snowboards anyway. By the looks of the long range forecasts, there should be plenty of snow this season 🙂
So get ready for the Labor Day weekend sales as this is usually a good time to begin the ski and snowboard equipment search for the new season.
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– Lane Lawrence