How to Save on Ski & Snowboard Gear

Updated: When to buy skis and snowboards for the 2012-13 season

Updated: 2011-12 Ski & Snowboard Savings

Check out our listings of deals on Skis and cheap Snowboards as the 2011 gear is beginning to arrive into the various ski and snowboard shops. As you will see, the 2010 gear is getting thin in the most desired sizes, so pick them up while you can or you will be forced to buy a newer model. Many times, their is not a structural change, only a graphical change from one year to another. In this case, you would save a considerable amount of money if you‚were to purchase last years model.

Another way to save some cash is to look into your local ski and snowboard swaps. Catch the person who has to have the latest gear and get last years boards (hopefully with only a few days on them) for half price or less. This is how I picked up my first pair of Volkl skis (sans bindings) for $50!

So for skiers, take your ski boots with you as you will want to check to see if your boots will fit into the ski bindings. If they don’t fit, you will have to pay a ski shop to remount the bindings, so this needs to be factored into the total cost.

For boarders, take your snowboard boots so you know the bindings fit your boots and the snowboard is wide enough so your toes aren’t going to drag. Don’t forget to check the bindings so you can move them to your most desired stance.

Do some research on some skis or snowboards prior to the swap meet, so you are ready to buy when given the chance. Most people want to sell to the first person who fronts the cash, so don’t let a good deal slip away because you didn’t know the model being offered was comparable to the one you wanted. So do yourself a favor and do  some homework by going on the net or checking out last years ski or snowboard magazine back issues. The only ski and snowboard issues I save are the last years gear guides for this reason.

With skis or snowboards all you have to worry about is it the right length and the condition of the bases. Boots on the other hand are a little different. You need to try the boots on and make sure they fit your feet correctly. With many ski and snowboard swaps, the store(s) hosting the event will have  staff on hand to help out for boot fitting. Take advantage of this and don’t wait until you are home that you realize that the boots don’t fit like you had hoped.

While checking the boots out, take out the liner and see if the owner has had any custom work done to it. Then feel the inside the of the shell feel around again.  If you feel any irregularities inside the boot, make sure you ask if any work was done and why. Some work could be an actual enhancement to the boot and some could be a custom fit for the owner.

Ideally, you like the owner to have a similar foot as yours. If you have a thin foot, you probably do not want to buy a boot from someone with a wide foot as they will have packed out more of the liner.

Also, grab your favorite cup of coffee and get there early! You can’t get a good deal when the ski or snowboard you were looking for has already sold  since someone else beat you to it. Unlike the shops that may have many of the same size of a particular model, a swap is a crap shoot. You never know what model of snowboard, skis or boots someone is going to show up with to sell.

Two people could be offering the same board or skis at very different prices. Most sellers don’t want to spend all day at the swap as they just want to sell the goods and have the rest of their day free. So if they’ve priced their ski or snowboard right, it should sell. However, if you left empty handed after getting to the swap early, you may want to swing on back in the afternoon. This is the time that someone is more open to lowball offers. To some, its a hassle to post ski equipment on ebay and then have to ship it, so they may be open to any offer.

Finally, even in this economy, you will see the new models prices trending up. This will occur since most retailers stock levels will be about 50% percent of what there were two years ago, to reduce their level of exposure. So by stocking less, the merchant also will not get as good of a deal themselves from the manufacturers.

The lowered stock levels will also increase your risk of your model and size of ski or snowboard that you would like to purchase to be sold out. This occurred much earlier than anticipated in January last season, especially for helmets.

We will try to keep you updated on the best bargains available as the season progresses, however, if you come across a great sale, please let us know so we can post it for the other readers.

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