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Choosing a Ski Rental Shop; When it Matters What’s Underfoot All Day

By Kerry Phillips
Utah Ski Corner

A great day of skiing requires the best gear for the snow, the best fit of a boot, and all the accessories needed to stay warm, dry, and to help you see those “Danger: Area closed” warning signs. Renting skis from a shop in a town you have never been to can make some people nervous. Beyond word out mouth, there are a few things to look for in choosing a reputable ski shop with everything you need.

Choosing a company that has several shops and has been in the area a while might tell you that they have grown based on a good reputation. This kind of company is also more likely to be around for a while, which can be important if you plan to visit the area often and want to go back to a shop you trust and has what you need each time you head there for a ski trip.

It has been said and should be said again; location, location, location. There is no reason to burden yourself on a vacation with having to go too far out the way for ski rentals. Still, most people would rather save some money on unnecessary inflated prices when it could be spent on great food or fun activities. Renting at a resort can be convenient, but certainly more costly. And, with the quick access to several resorts in Utah, you may not want to worry about starting and ending your trip at the same resort you started just so you can drop off your skis, or even worse, having to take them back to a resort you aren’t skiing at just to get them returned before you head to the airport.

Website mapping has made it much easier to see if a ski shop you are considering has a location near your hotel, on the way to your hotel from the airport, or en route to the ski area where you plan to spend most of your time.

Pick-Up / Drop Off Convenience
If you choose a shop that has several locations in the area you plan to ski, you might be able to pick up and then drop off at any or most of their locations. It’s unfortunate if they charge you for the service as most do not, but the convenience might be worth.

Pricing can be easy to determine on ski shop websites, but you might not always be comparing apples to apples. While most shops keep up on the latest technology in popular ski and snowboard brands, you might want to check with the shops to see how old their different levels of gear are, or stick with demos – which are the season’s latest brands in fun, bright colors.

If you have your own boots, but don’t want to carry your skis, or want to rent for the local conditions on your trip, you’ll want to find a rental company that will allow you to use your own boots. You may also want to ask if you will get a discount on your ski or snowboard package if you have your own boots.

It never fails, that feeling that you forgot something when you head out the door to the airport is usually dead on. In the case of a vacation full of activities that require special equipment, forgetting just one item can put a halt to your trip, unless the ski rental shop you already plan to visit has what you need. The size of shops and the kind of retail and rental options they offer can vary greatly from the size of a closet – literally – to the size of a department store. The larger the store, the more likely they will have a good rack of clearance items to help you in a pinch without cleaning out your wallet. If you don’t know anyone in the area, the shop’s site might have pictures of their shops that will give you a good idea of what they offer.

Beyond ski rentals and ski equipment and clothing merchandise, if you have several people in your group, you are more likely to have someone who will have their own gear with them and might need service or at least a quick wax. While most shops can take care of waxing your skis or board, not all shops are equipped to handle all levels of service or repair. If you want a one-stop shop, really check out some websites, or make a check list of all of your possible needs and call a couple of shops in the area you are traveling.

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