Save Money On New Skis
Get a Good Deal on New Skis by Buying in the Off Season
New skis are expensive, any way you look at them. And the more high performance a ski, the more it costs.
A top-of-the-line pair of skis can easily cost over $1,000. Even mid-level skis trade in the $500 to $700 range. And beginner skis? Well, unless you plan to remain a beginner, don’t bother buying a pair of these since they probably are harder to control and ski on than a mid-range ski.
Yes, skis are just one more routine expense that contributes to skiing being such an expensive sport.
Unfortunately, frequent skiers have to replace their skis on a fairly regular basis. Like any other gear, skis wear out.
I recently was in the market for a new pair of skis after the binding system on my four-year-old K2 One Luv skis got so loose that I had to toss them or risk injury. A design glitch made it impossible for a ski tech to repair or replace the bindings.
If it hadn’t been the bindings, though, it would have been something else sooner or later: a stress fracture; a deep gash from hitting a rock or some other physical degradation from the wear and tear of normal use.
Then there’s the technology — ski shape, construction materials, detailing — which has changed a lot in four years. As with cars, avid skiers tend to trade up to the latest model every few years.
Find the Skis You Want At A Price You Want
Just because I understand the need to buy new skis every few years doesn’t mean I feel okay about paying full price.
Quite the opposite.
Here are my tips for getting this year’s skis at a discount. Note that each of these suggestions works best if you already know what skis you want to buy.
- Buy your new skis in the off season, or at the end of the ski season. Ski makers come out with new models each year, but the actual ski design and construction usually gets just a small tweak from year to year. Thus the Volkl Tierra for 2010 and the Volkl Tierra from 2011 have pretty much all the same specifications; the biggest differences are cosmetic and in appearance. So in the summer of 2011, ski shops will need to make room for the 2012 inventory, which means they will discount the 2011 models still in stock.
- Search and price shop online. This is true if you are shopping for skis in summer just as much as if you are shopping in winter. Google has a shopping tool that will troll and compare prices that are being offered online. If you type in the brand and model you want, Google will spit out pages of prices. You can easily compare and pick the one you like the best. Another benefit of buying online, at least for now, is that you might not have to pay sales tax on your skis, depending on where you live. This will make the final price of the skis a lot cheaper.
- Know about regular annual sales at retailers like REI, and contact them as soon as the sale starts to see of they the ski you want is part of the sale.
- Check out online sporting good retailers that regularly offer discounts. These often will have late model skis on sale. Some of the ones I like are Backcountry.com, Altrec.com, Christy Sports, Sierra Trading Post, REI, Galactic Snow Sports.
- Scour the Web for for special offers. Google can’t direct you to these, so this will require you to go directly to the home pages of every retailer to see if they have a special coupon or promotion or free shipping. Factor these deals into your final price. I ended up joining the VIP Club at Galactic Snow Sports, which entitled me to a 10 percent discount. Factoring in that discount, a $699 pair of skis from Galactic became cheaper than the best price I'd found elsewhere, which was $649.