So you have a budding downhill skier in the family, and you want to make sure he has the best equipment to pursue this sport without breaking your budget. Before you go into your local ski shop or sporting good store and invest a lot of cash, consider these three ways to save money on ski equipment for kids that won't sacrifice performance.
#1: Buy Used Kid's Ski Equipment
Most ski schools accept children as young as 4 years old, and with only days of proper instruction, your 7- or 8-year old can ski independently on beginner slopes. This quick level of competency that kids can achieve as skiers at such young ages might tempt you to splurge on expensive kid-branded ski equipment. However, brand-new ski equipment is very expensive, and your child will outgrow anything you buy him from season to season and sometimes within a single season.
A smarter option is to buy lightly used equipment instead. You can find all types of kids' equipment at local ski swaps that are typically held in October and November and through online auction sites. If you take the time to learn how to wax the skis and perform basic tuning, the used equipment will almost always be in better condition than comparable on-site ski rentals that are often low performing with poor tunes.
Buying used ski equipment for your child will typically cost about the same as five on-site ski rentals. If your child skis more than five times a year, used equipment is the more economical option. Keep the used equipment in good shape, and you can resell it later to recoup some of the cost.
#2: Use Seasonal Rental For Boots
While you can save money buying used ski equipment for your child, you probably should employ a different cost-saving strategy for your kid's ski boots if he is under 16 years of age. Good-fitting boots are critical to your child's success on the slopes. Unfortunately, you can never know when a younger child's shoe size will change, so buying used boots that may not fit for the entire season could end up costing you money.
Instead, go to your local ski shop, and rent boots for the entire season to save money on the cost of brand-new boots. The shop makes sure the boots fit your child perfectly and lets you exchange the boots if your kid has a growth spurt in the middle of the ski season.
#3: Choose A Retailer With A Buyback Option
If your child is older and needs new ski equipment for performance reasons, choose a retailer that has a buyback program to save money. Some specialty ski shops and sporting goods stores guarantee to buy back the equipment you purchase at up to 50 percent of the price. Alternatively, some stores let you buy new ski equipment for your child each year, giving you a hefty discount for turning in the old equipment.
For more information, contact Flatiron Sports or a similar company.