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Question About Buying First Pair of Skis

uncleezno

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This is my first season skiing, and my wife is thrilled to see that I've taken to it. I've been out six days here in the NE, with two more planned, and one in Utah while I'm there for work :razz: I've been renting from a local shop and have been quite happy with them, but if I'm going to keep skiing after this season it makes sense to buy my own pair.

My question is, what's the best time of the year to buy skis? I know there are lots of swap meets and such in the fall, and my wife snagged herself new skis this year at the Boston Ski Expo. Are prices that much lower in the fall than, say, the spring or summer? I'm not going to be buying super-fancy skis anyhow; I ski greens and blues now, and probably will graduate to mainly blues, but I enjoy carving and don't have any desire to do double-blacks or anything like that (much to my wife's chagrin).

I wonder if the margins on the lower-end skis are smaller, and so the discounts on them are always relatively lower. Assuming I don't start loving moguls and backflips or move away from the Northeast, I am hoping to keep this first pair for a number of years.

Any advice you guys can offer would be greatly appreciated. Also, if any of them read it, thank you to the guys on the board who encouraged me to keep taking lessons and getting out on the mountain. God knows it wasn't fun at first, but now I've got the videos of me giggling like a kid to prove how much fun it is now!
 

Hawkshot99

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The lower end skis will usually be discounted the same % as high end skis. They just didnt cost as much to begin with to save as much $. As far as when the best deals are depends on the shop. Some shops do big fall sales so they dont do as big of spring close outs, while others just want to get rid of the product now.

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uncleezno

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OK, so it makes sense to be checking prices regularly then, I guess. A follow-up question if I may: the store where I've been renting from has knowledgeable people working there, but they must offer dozens of types of skis. I don't believe for a second that the guys who work there have skiied on them all. So how do you know who to trust? I also don't buy that the ski magazines are impartial reviewers for one second.

People seem to put a lot of stock in demoing the skis - should I try to schedule my mountain days around doing that?
 

drjeff

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Typically what most shops will do is start with their "end of season" sales this coming weekend (Presidents Weekend) and then gradually take a few extra % over the next 4 to 6 weeks as the ski season ends and many folks thoughts turn to "non snow" activities. A bunch of shops do end up looking at this time of year as a chance to move this years gear that's still on the racks as opposed to having to find a place to store it over the summer, especially if that shop is open year round and sells, bikes/hiking gear/kayaks//etc and needs some floor space for those items. Other shops that don't operate in the summer months may be a bit more inclined to "sit" on some gear over the summer so and then discount it more in the fall typically when they'll have a "Columbus Day Weekend Tent Sale" as peoples minds are starting to think about snowsports again after the summer.

Another option to consider at this time of year is if a shop is selling off their demo skis. If you can find a pair you like in your size, and typically don't mind a scratch or two on the top sheet (they usually keep the edges and bases in good shape so that folks demo'ing the skis will have them performing well and hopefully turn the demo into a sale!), then you can usually find some great deals out there.

As one of the shops guys at Mount Snow where I do the vast majority of my skiing and also buy about 98% of my families ski gear put it, there are SO many good skis out there nowadays in basically every category, that's it tougher and tougher not to be able to find a multitude of choices out there that you'd be happy with
 

HD333

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Do you have your own boots? That is step one in my opinion. Once you get some comfortable boots maybe talk to the current shop you are renting from and see about demoing through them. Most places put the cost of a demo towards a purchase with them.

Banking on demoing at a MT , and planning your trips around it, in my opinion is iffy. Usually they give you skis for a few runs (see demo etiquette thread). You may not be able to get your preferred size or type of ski.

If you find a pair you like don't dismiss buying online, I am not saying don't give the little/local guy a shot but some serious deals can be found online, especially last years stuff. I have had great experience online with O2gearshop for my last pair and my wife's last 2 pairs of skis.
Give the local guy your money with tunes, and other soft goods.
 

St. Bear

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In general, early in the season the selection will be better but the prices higher. Late in the season, or off season, are the better deals, but possibly limited selection.

I'll second the online option. o2gearshop is really good, as is outlet on evo.com, levelninesports.com, powder7.com. Almost all the websites offer free shipping, and some will mount bindings for free as well. The key to buying online is to know what you want (easier said than done), and be patient with your research.
 

uncleezno

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HD333, I do not have my own boots. I was planning on getting those in a store, because I know how important a good fitting boot is, and there's a specialty boot fitter up in VT that I like. I have nothing against buying online, but it's hard to know which is the best ski for you!
 

Hawkshot99

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...the store where I've been renting from has knowledgeable people working there, but they must offer dozens of types of skis. I don't believe for a second that the guys who work there have skiied on them all. So how do you know who to trust? I also don't buy that the ski magazines are impartial reviewers for one second.

If they are a part time worker they may have skied on some of the skiis. However if they are fulltimers there is a really good chance they have skied on lots of their product.
I have been in a shop for 8 yrs now and go to alot of demos to test product. For the most part, the only skis that our company carries that I have not personally skied and tested are the entry level beginer skis and the true twin park skis.
When your job is based on your knowledge of a product, knowing how they perform is a important thing.

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uncleezno

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So yesterday evening I paid a visit to Alpine Haus, the place I've been renting from all season, and told them I was interested in buying some boots and skis. They were a little busy as they're currently holding their President's Day sale, but a very helpful gentleman instilled the importance of proper fitting boots, and I tried on a few pairs, walking around for ten minutes or so in each boot to get them warmed up. I ended up going with a pair of Solomons that fit my narrow ankle and foot and wider toe box, and after I told him that they were the ones that felt best, he said he didn't want to bias my decision, but he had a feeling that those were going to be the ones I liked. So that was nice to hear.

Because the boots were so steeply discounted (cheaper in-store than anywhere online), because we had credit at the store from my wife selling her skis, and because I've seen my wife require grinding and inserts to get her boots the way she wants, I also sprang for the more expensive footbed option, where they heat the boot and the footbed, and then you stand on it for 15 minutes and let it mold to your arches. Tried the boots on again this morning, and they felt great!

They also had really good deals on skis, although the all-mountain ones I was interested in were largely picked through, and in the end I decided to stick with just the boots. Alpine Haus is really good about rentals - if you have boots and only need skis and poles, it's $20 for the first day and $10 for every day after that. And you can pick them up a day early and drop them off a day late for free. So in my head, I can use my new boots on rentals for the rest of this season and next season as well, and by then I'll probably be looking for a different kind of ski than what I want right now anyhow.

Also worth mentioning that there was a fellow boardmember getting boots and skis for a trip out West, and he was as friendly I would expect a boardmember to be.
 

bigbog

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Great fitting boots of the right stiffness make most any skis seem like the icing on the cake.
Might wanna schedule an alignment session with qualified person. Footbeds, if needed, can make all the difference, along with cant & fore/aft_balancing.
 
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