SkierI remember as a kid renting skis when we’d head up to Lake Tahoe. They always seemed to be old and badly battered, with almost no options to choose from.

Fast forward to today and these rental shops are staying really current with their inventory, providing newer ski equipment and more enticing options. Whether you’re a beginner or a black diamond expert, you’re likely to find just the right ski equipment options to suit your needs.

So, considering the high cost and hassle of traveling with skis, which is the best strategy – to rent skis or to buy them?


More Than Just The Price

A good pair of skis can easily set you back as much as $1,000 or more. Add to that the $25-50 baggage fee (each way) each time you fly to your ski destination. That can add up.

But owning your own skis has many advantages, such as the comfort of a great fit and style that you picked out, and the confidence that comes with familiarity of your own gear.

Renting gear at the ski resort might cost $25-50/day. If you hit the slopes a lot each year, this can quickly add up to the expense of buying your own, making buying a good option.

Still, there are several benefits of renting to consider, the top one being convenience. You can decide on the type of skis you rent based on your skiing ability and the snow conditions for that trip – you may not want those slim skis on a big powder week-end. Plus you can often try out some of the latest ski styles and technologies out there, which can be pretty enticing.


Rental Convenience

These days there are more ways to rent than just showing up at the ski area rental shop and hoping they have what you want. Many shops now offer several options, such as:

  • Rent online ahead of time, saving you valuable time and reserving the exact size and style you choose
  • Free shuttles between the store and the slops
  • Equipment delivered directly to your hotel or condo


Tips for Traveling With Skis

If you do opt to travel by air with your own skis and boots, there are ways to save on hassle and expense. First, choose your airline wisely. Look for those that offer free checked bags. Southwest Airlines allows two, so your pair of skis and your pair of boots can all go for free. Or, consider shipping your ski equipment ahead with FedEx or UPS, often for less than airline fees. Checking out sites like can get you more ideas and tips for transporting your ski gear.

A with so many things, whether or not you choose to rent or buy your is a personal decision. Either way, whether you’re an experienced ski-lover or a newbie anxious to try it out, be sure to make the time to hit the slopes this season. Me? These days I’m more apt to be found snuggled up in the lodge happily warming my hands with a yummy mug of hot chocolate.