There’s an unspoken rule in Utah that locals never pay retail. Actually, we pay retail on a lot of things, a little less on others, and rent a storage locker to hold it all. Everyone is a professional shopper here. It’s not that we forego buying gear at slopeside stores. We just know what to purchase where and when.
- Rental “demo” skis and boots begin to go on sale in late-March (ski clothing a bit later giving you another reason to visit Utah in summer). Resorts and stores turn over their entire inventory every season or two. Make an offer if you really like your rentals, especially if it’s late-season. I bought a pair of Rossignol Soul 7 skis with bindings for under $200 one July. Pro Shopping Tip: The shortest “men’s” skis (same ski, different design, i.e., Soul 7 = Savory 7) are often in mint condition making them a great deal for petite women.
- Reserve rental gear in advance online at local stores, such as Christy Sports or Ski ‘n See. They almost always offer discounts for doing so and even have slopeside stores if you need adjustments or want to swap them out.
- Consignment stores are plentiful, especially in Salt Lake City, and it is where all the locals buy their gear. I think 2nd Tracks Sports is my hubby’s favorite store; mine is still Tiffany’s, I’m afraid (which might explain why his is the discount shop). The Gear Room is another. Just Google for more. I know folks who buy consignment gear when visiting and consign it back before they leave.
- Outlet stores, such as Columbia in Park City, are fantastic for quality ski clothing at an affordable price.
- Buying ski gear in person from people who know it and know how you’ll use it is the best. Test: If you don’t know what a DIN setting is, then you probably shouldn’t buy skis and bindings online. However, online stores from Backcountry to Sierra Trading Post to Ebay to Amazon are fantastic places to shop if you know your size and what you want. Pro Shopping Tip: Backcountry.com has its warehouse retail store minutes from the airport allowing you to talk to the experts and pick up everything your heart desires for a great price on your way to the slopes.
- In December, Costco in Salt Lake City is another great place to pick up gloves, ski pants, snow boots, hand warmers and other items for a fraction of the price in specialty stores. Last time I looked, kids ski pants were $16. Wal-Mart is another one to check. This is not a secret around here though, and the gear flies off the shelves. Call first to check.
- High-priced long underwear for kids is a waste of money, I’ve concluded. Buy them cheaper, long underwear-style pajamas instead. Even if they’re cotton, the kids are usually fine. They usually don’t ski hard enough to really sweat and get cold. They’re heading for the hot chocolate long before that. The dual use is a bonus. Pro Shopping Tip: Lululemon capri tights on sale, of course are my new dual-use favorite under ski pants. I like the compression, and the shorter length doesn’t interfere with my boots (no, don’t put long underwear or anything else other than your socks inside your boots) while keeping me toasty.
SkiMums constantly chat about where to find the deals while riding on the lifts. Big surprise! Feel free to share your favorite haunts below.