How To Save On Ski and Snowboard Gear
As fall arrives, so does the new seasons Ski and Snowboard gear that is beginning to arrive into the various ski and snowboard shops. As you will see, last years 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 form. This is one of the best ways to save money on skis and snowboards. Many times, there is not a structural change, only a graphical change from one year to another. In this case, you would save a important amount of money if you were to buy last years form.
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 you can 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 Volkls (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 dont 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 arent going to drag. Dont 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 dont let a good deal slip away because you didnt know the form 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 issues I save from last year are the ski and snowboard 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 however 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 dont wait until you are home that you realize that the boots dont 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 cant get a good deal when the ski or snowboard you were looking for has already sold. Unlike the shop that may have many of the same size of a particular form, a swap is a crap shoot. You never know what form 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 dont want to use all day at the swap as they just want to sell the goods and have the rest of their day free. So if theyve 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.
Finally, already 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 form and size of ski or snowboard that you would like to buy to be sold out. This occurred much earlier than expected in January last season, especially for helmets.
We will try to keep you updated on the best bargains obtainable 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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