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Renting or buying skis or snowboards for a wintersport holiday


Logo Yellow GentianBuy or rent skis?Reviewer Alex


Should I go for buying or renting skis

Overall conclusion won't be a surprise: it depends on your personal situation and preferences whether to buy or rent skis. But, to help you make up your mind, I will describe several aspects. You might value certain aspects more or less, which add up to your decision. Overall, both buying and renting skis (or snowboard) have their advantages. And even if rationality will tell you to rent skis, there can be something indescribable that makes you just wanna have the skis. I know that feeling.

Skis, buy or rent?As with our ski and snowboard reviews, this article describes the situation for recreational skiers, not the competitive or experienced touring skiers. The big brands don't make bad skis, so it is all about the right match and that counts for both buy and rent. Please place any comments at the facebook box below the article.

Aspects to consider:


Differences can be huge from one place to the other, so I’ll make an estimate comparison.

To buy, you can spend as much as you want on skis. Let’s say for a good advanced ski you’ll pay around 650 $/€ including bindings and for a good pair of top-end skis add another 100-300 $/€.

To rent, you’ll pay around 150 $/€ for a pair of advanced skis per week and 180 $/€ for the top-end skis. Which would result in about a 4-5 weeks of skiing break-even mark. But don’t forget, servicing the skis is included in the rent and not in the buy. If you do it yourself, you’ll spend money on the tools, but they have a long life expectancy. Without major fixes you’ll probably spend about 180 $/€ on service in those weeks. So let’s say, just for the service part you can add another week to the break-even count of costs. In most of the other aspects mentioned below is cost a factor as well, especially in the life time of skis.

Life time of skis

How often can you service skis before you run out of edge for example? Depends on how much is taken off each time of course, but up to 10 times should be possible usually. With that in mind, you can take care of small rough bits yourself to extend the life time. And with skiing in mostly soft snow instead of icy slopes, you won’t need super sharp edges and they won’t wear down fast. Once sharpened, the edges should be allright for about a week on average. When taken well care of, the lifetime of ski edges leans to buying skis as they will last for 15-20 weeks of skiing.

Ski level and aspiration

Beginner – rent skis. Easiest for beginners is to rent skis. First reason is that I hope you will improve your skills faster than the life time of the ski. Then you want to move a level up to fit your aspiration of course and have no hassle with your old skis. Second reason is that you don’t know yet if you like skiing. I can’t imagine that but if it is a onetime only thing after all, it would have been a waste of money. The ‘hassle’ would be: resell or swap the beginners skis.

Intermediate - Advanced
– several aspects to consider buying or renting for this group, especially pricewise. Once you got the taste of skiing, you probably know yourself well enough to predict your ski development. Do you want to enjoy what you are able to? Or do you want to see how much you can improve your skills and/or broaden the terrain? Looking at a continuum between two extremes of fine as it is and it is never enough: left of the middle can be fine with the same ski (in level, performance) for a long time. The right half might be bored after some time when choosing a ski at his current level and might be more pleased with a new custom fit ski.

Experts and up
– pretty much the same story as for the advanced group. One big difference is that the possible improvement is a lot smaller which means that a top end (recreational) ski can be challenging for a long time. Purely looking at your skiing level vs costs this will lean to buying skis instead of renting.

Innovation of skis

Although no bad skis are made, there is always a bit development. At least in the graphic department. For frequent skiers this is no issue, new season new skis. For less frequent skiers it is about how much and how soon you want that new ski. That is besides the other aspects as costs for example.

Snow conditions and companion differ

Pick your skis that fit the snow condition per day. This is an aspect I personally have a strong feeling with. For example, whenever there is fresh powder I want freeride skis and when there are only prepared pistes available I am more happy with a slalom ski. Buy them both is possible and with less use of them, they will hold longer. Renting skis at a local store, should also give you the opportunity to change skis during the week a couple of times. It’s up to you of course as I see a lot of skiers who won’t go off-piste at all and rather stay inside in bad weather etc. And maybe, to give you another idea, if you want to do another discipline than your favorite one for only 10% of the days, it might still be a good option to buy one pair of skis and rent for the 10%.

Companion conditions during the season change too for a lot of people. Think about going with the family and kids over Christmas and later on just with friends after a nice dump.

And for both, a combination of buying one pair of skis and renting another kind of skis could make sense as well.


Logistics in the sense of carrying, storing, transporting skis vs. picking them up at the bottom of the slope. This aspect is clear and personal again. To consider: 
queuing and waiting for skis at the resort, wasting quality time can be nerve wrecking. Space and handling during your transport vs. first to the shop when you arrive at the mountain instead of first lift.
And of course, not everything is always available at the shop, especially during the busy holidays.

Broken or stolen

Most travel insurances cover the loss of stolen skis and a bit less also the broken ones. The loss of time and fun is for your own pocket. With renting skis on the spot you can often buy an extra insurance for these instances. Which will prevent you from spending time at the police office or from the obligation to buy the broken skis. With broken I mean not fixable. A failure in the binding will be taken care of by the rental shop of course. When your own skis get stolen, you might have some extra costs as well: replace them or it is the end of that ski holiday.


They grow in height, weight, ski level and probably preferences. Pricewise, I tend to rent for them unless they are already frequent skiers. And if you book them in advance you might get a good deal. Especially if you rent skis for the whole family. Alternative is buy and resell.

Rent a skilevel

The last one is interesting as well. Usually you can rent a level of ski instead of a specific ski you’ve just read about. Best way is to try them all out yourself and then make your choice. No opportunity to do that? I hope you’ll find our reviews a great help to decide. 

Any aspects I missed? Please leave your comment below. I’ll be happy to add them to the article.

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