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Rippin Riders

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  • TIP: Renting Ski or Snowboard Equipment

    By Tammie Thompson

    Not all rental shops are created equal. I recently did a swing through five different resorts – and all five rental experiences were different. From non-existent demos, to railed edges, to broken bindings, to uneducated shop kids, the process was downright brutal. At one shop I begged them to let me try a particular ski. The manager did a “once-over”, didn’t deem me worthy; but I persevered, and those skis turned out to be the best of the bunch. I’ll probably buy some. The best bet for getting through the process unscathed? Do your homework. Start here:

    Rental vs. Demo
    Are you an advanced skier or rider? Want equipment comparable to your equipment at home? Do the demo route. You will have to be explicit in requesting HIGH PERFORMANCE demo equipment. Be prepared to pay extra for the privilege of riding on high end equipment.

    Demo Factors

  • Call ahead to see what equipment is available. Your idea of high performance may differ from the resort’s idea. If the rental shop doesn’t carry demo equipment, ask if there is an independent shop that may carry demos.
  • Know your boards. If you know you like a certain length ski, don’t get talked into something shorter or longer; fatter or narrower. That said, be open to change. Here’s your chance to try something new.
  • Know your din setting – check it against what the shop sets.
  • Got custom fit boots? Bring ‘em, and just rent skis and poles or board.

    Rental Equipment

  • Call ahead. Some resorts allow you to rent online and just do a pickup and fit check. Check out other online rental companies like or
  • Consider renting in town instead of the ski resort. Sure, you will have to transport equipment, but it may save you valuable time if you can pick up the night before.
  • Check for overnight storage. Why lug the equipment back and forth, when you can leave it at the mountain overnight. Some resorts even offer this service free.
  • Boot sizing is not created equal. Make sure your rental boots are comfortable, somewhat tight, with good support. If you have sensitive feet, consider buying boots, and renting skis or board at your destination.
  • Take an easy first run on rental equipment. Get used to it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to go back to the shop and ask for something else. Perhaps the tune is off, or the ski or board is too long.

    You will need a credit card, driver’s license and adult signature for equipment rentals. Most shops will take a deposit on the credit card and return when the equipment is returned. This can be a high as $500 in some cases. Upon return, make sure you get your equipment checked in properly and deposit returned.

    For more from those in the know see:

    *** Want more on winter family fun? Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to get the latest on winter family travel & gear deals, plus tips to make your life easier! Ollie in!

    JOIN THE RIPPIN’ RIDERS TEAM!!! . If you rip.. or want to... be a product tester. Join the Rippin’ Riders Team for deals, discounts, and first shot at testing new product.

    ...... Tammie Thompson knows her way around the ski shop. A lifelong skier and career industry rep and ski tester, has earned her the right to request whatever ski she wants.

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