Would you buy or rent your wife's gear, if you were me?

Analisa

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Buy new, well-fitted boots and used skis with a track binding (most beginnermediate, piste oriented skis have them, and Powder7 has a ton of models).

She’s excited about skiing. Being on consistent gear helps a ton with confidence and trusting your gear. And even if she’s not signing up for lessons and skiing every weekend, social skiing can lead to progression.

It’s so easy to want to go the cheap route, but the cost difference between rentals/beginner gear vs. something accessible with a runway for growth is pretty negligible. Going with the latter keeps you from having to rebuy in a season or two. And women also culturally have a different relationship with sports. Most of our exercise and recreation has a huge social component. We flock to group fitness classes and running clubs. We do less competition-focused physical activities. Don’t attribute a focus on the social aspect of skiing as disinterest in progression.

Likewise, when we stop progressing, we’re more likely to blame ourselves than our gear. I talk to so many women afraid of speed or afraid of powder and it turns out their gear is holding them back. A ski with a little runway for growth means she has a little more time and a little higher likelihood of identifying gear problems if they start to hinder her progression.
 

raytseng

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What's a reasonable price expectation for beginner/intermediate boots? I'm seeing quite a few online for around $200, but my experience is that online sales prices don't really apply once you go the route of a legitimate expert fitter.
The typical practice is they charge you MSRP and the fitting and service is included. I think you will need to budget at least $600, unless you are more off-the-shelf and just bootbuying. Additionally, a decent bootfitter won't let you go out the door without at least a trim to fit footbeds (+$50)so be prepared for that, it isn't just an upsell.

If you're in the 5days a season crowd, you can think of this as a durable good that lasts awhile. Even an intermediate level stock liner won't wear out for say 25days. You can think of this as insurance that hopefully saves you from painful skiing and having to quit and lose days from your expensive trip.

On skis. The rental process for skis-only goes relatively quickly compared to boots. As mentioned though, it's a bit of a breakeven to travel with skis vs renting, and this leans towards renting if trip is only 2 days and you do not have really good skis that you are bringing.

You can certainly find used demo skis to buy as well, which makes newer skiers not feel as bad to ding them. skiessentials in late or early season clear out their demo/test skis that are in excellent condition. You can also potentially find handmedowns or community goodwill in the forum if you are on a Budget.
 
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TS
TonyPlush

TonyPlush

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For skis, doesn't the cost of rentals usually count towards the purchase of demos if you decide to keep a ski? Could be an end of season option at Park City.
 

GB_Ski

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So, if you were me and your never-ever wife now had 2 ski days under her belt and planned on skiing anywhere from 2-6 days per year in the future, would you buy some gear? Or am I jumping the gun, and at that frequency, just better off continuing to rent until she's really into skiing?
I would not buy anything if she's skiing 2-6 days a year, just get season rental for $200 and call it a day. Forget boot fitting, put her in rental boots that are comfortable and warm and call it a win. She's not going to progress beyond blue at 2-6 days a year.
 

Seldomski

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I would not buy anything if she's skiing 2-6 days a year, just get season rental for $200 and call it a day. Forget boot fitting, put her in rental boots that are comfortable and warm and call it a win. She's not going to progress beyond blue at 2-6 days a year.
I agree with this in general.

For skiing seldomly, buying stuff vs renting is about even financially. But you can get more consistent and better performing gear if you bring your own. If she is just starting to ski, gear *probably* won't be the thing that holds her back (unless she has major issues with rental boots).

I skied 20 seasons in rental stuff for ~3 days a year. Had a great time skidding all over blues/greens. My feet are apparently mostly compatible with rental gear. I did take some ibuprofen for foot pain on the last day or 2 of the trip.

Then I started to ski 10-20 days a year. That's when gear became a limiter. Getting to 'advanced' required more time on snow and a good boot fit. Hard to make fine edging motions in a sloppy boot. Don't need any pain meds for foot pain now.

My wife on the other hand had major issues with narrow feet + rental boots. She gave up on rental gear earlier in the process. Too frustrating/painful to ski with rental boots.
 

raytseng

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For skis, doesn't the cost of rentals usually count towards the purchase of demos if you decide to keep a ski? Could be an end of season option at Park City.
Usually it's for demo rental fees goes towards purchase of new product, and capped at a couple of days of fees.
Obviously this is up to each store, there isn't any set rule on this.
 

no edge

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Rent skis at a shop where you could buy out at end of season or trade-up too. Buy the boots from someone who can do a good job fitting. Or rent the boots with a buy out option.
 

wooglin

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She's your wife. Take her to a good ski shop and let the sales person help her buy what she decides she wants, but also make sure it is good stuff. If she decides she doesn't like something she bought, let her buy something else next time. Jeez.

tldr pro tip. Do not buy your wife things because you think she'll like them. Unless they're your size.
 

crgildart

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If Mama ain't happy NOBODY'S happy. Set her up best you can... and again if she's still not 100% happy with things..
 

ejj

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Get some new boots. Get some used skis for MN. The hassle and cost of rental here is stoopid.
Then rent nice new skis in PC each time you go west.
 

Tony Storaro

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tldr pro tip. Do not buy your wife things because you think she'll like them. Unless they're your size.

And also, unless you are 153% sure what you are doing. My wife was skiing in some 23.5 boots 70 flex claiming she was very happy in them but when I saw her buckling the instep buckles at the last notch I knew that cannot be true and there was no chance in hell those boots were the correct size.
Shell check: 3 fingers, told ya. Quick trip to the local shop, new Hawx Ultras 22.5 90 flex, quite a lot of patient endurance while she was pouring fire and brimstone over me for buying her boots too small as they ARE NOT COMFY AT ALL out of the box, another short trip to the closest bootfitter, some more patient endurance, fire and brimstone during heat molding and then OH WOW! These are very good! And I ski much better!

Yeah, well, told ya…
 

EricG

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I don’t even rent stuff for my kids. I buy them new stuff every year.

Take your wife in to get properly fitted boots (don’t cheap out), pick out some decent entry level skis to get her going and gain some confidence then upgrade them when she’s ready.
 

laurelerin22

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As someone who has only skied 2-6 days per year for the past 14 years, it is so much better owning my own skis and boots rather than doing seasonal rentals. I probably break even on cost compared to renting, but it's just so much easier to own and keeps you in the same consistent equipment, so you know what you're getting every time you're out. As everyone else has mentioned, if you're going to invest in buying something now but not all of it, do the boots. Go for a solid intermediate level boot, don't do a "beginner" boot. Expect price range to be $500-$600. Find a reputable store with good boot fitters who will let you come back and adjust the boots if they're not quite right. Rent the skis for now. Have her demo different models and practice. Maybe next season invest in an intermediate pair of skis that will allow her to progress. I don't know what the skiing is like in MN, but I'm guessing you may want different skis in Park City than in MN, so I would just take your boots with you and rent out there.
 
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