Ski gear can be expensive, but there is no reason it has to be. There are many different ways to save on quality ski gear. Here is our comprehensive guide for finding heavily discounted ski gear. These tips are tried & true, many of them have personally saved me hundreds if not thousands on my ski gear.
Our first piece of advice is to buy used ski gear. Many people feed into the marketing scheme that fools them into believing they need the newest most hyped gear on the market. They buy brand new gear that they only end up using a handful of times, or on the flip side they use their gear heavily for two or three years which they believe merits the purchase of brand new gear. Don’t fall into this trap! Ski gear can last a decade if not longer before it truly needs to be retired. Buying used is the number one way to get quality gear at an affordable price. There are many different places you can look to find said gear, such as:
The largest online marketplace for used gear is chalk full of hidden gems. Personally I have piked up a pair of K2 Rictor skis with bindings here for only $60, with free shipping! These skis are nearing 10 years old but are still in fantastic shape. They are my go to all mountain skis and I don’t have a single complaint about them (although I must admit I wasn’t a huge fan of the dated graphics, a problem I remedied by giving them a simple at-home makeover with some painters tape & a couple cans of spray paint). I purchased these from a seller named Demo-Skis and I believe they were previously used as rentals. This seller has a good number of used skis for sale which I believe is why they offer such great deals. They were originally listed at $150 but were obviously willing to go much lower to move a set of planks. I have also seen great deals on Ebay on name brand goggles, helmets, jackets, vintage gear, & more.
Craigslist (& similar apps)
Another great online option, especially if you live in a ski-centric area is Craigslist or similar apps such as, Letgo, Offerup, Recycler, Facebook Marketplace, & others. One of the bigger problems when buying bulky items such as skis, boots, & snowboards is the cost of shipping. Craigslist & others eliminate this through local pick up. These options are ideal for sellers who only have a single piece of gear or two to get rid of. Personally I have yet to buy any ski gear from any of these marketplaces but was very close to purchasing two used snowmobiles with a trailer for only $900 off Craigslist last year. Unfortunately they sold before I could arrange pick up & transportation.
Secondhand Stores & Pawn Shops
The best part about shopping at secondhand stores & pawn shops is you never know what you might find. You might go in looking for a new pair of gloves & walk out with an entire new kit. Personally I love browsing these stores as finding something you like & fits you is like finding buried treasure. I have picked up several items this way including a pair of Helly Hansen snow pants, Giro goggles, many base layers, & mid layers. If you are lucky enough to have a secondhand store near you that focuses on sporting goods then it’s likely you will have an assortment of options. If not the pickings can be a little more thin, but still worth the time to check out. After all, like I said you never know what you might find.
Another great local option is yard sales, garage sales, moving sales, & the like. This option, like the last two, is ideal for those with a ski area nearby but don’t count it out if this is not you. Yard sales are the number one pace to find the largest discounts on used ski gear as most of the time people simply want their stuff cleared out. Personally I have sold many items this way via a moving sale I orchestrated before beginning my nomadic snow chasing adventure. Included in this sale were two ski jackets, three sets of bibs, many ski accessories, & more that I essentially gave away because they no longer fit me nor did they fit in my backpack.
Right as winter roles around is when ski shops ecpect to do a majority of their business. Shelves are stocked, prices are high, & they are ready to eat up & spit out customers who are new to the sport and are looking to get all the gear they will “need” for the season. This is the worst time to buy. Buying in the off-season can save you hundreds on brand new gear. If the store near you is an all-around sporting goods store they will need to clear out shelve space as winter ends to make room for the summer products. If on the other hand it’s a ski specific shop they will still be looking to clear out last years products to make room for the new models swinging around next season.
Discount Websites / Outlet Sites
There are many places online you can look for heavily discounted ski gear. Outside of the large marketplaces there are countless websites that sell name brand gear at discounted prices. Many times these sites buy last years products in bulk from large retailers then pass the discounts along to you & me. Searching & comparing these sites can be extremely time consuming, but to many it is absolutely worth it when you find the right deal. To save you some time I have compiled a list of my favorite discount sites:
Steep & Cheap – Owned by Backcountry.com, Steep & Cheap offers discounts on name brand gear & apparel. It looks to me as if Backcountry uses this site to clear excess inventory. Deals are listed on a limited seemingly random basis meaning if you see something you like it’s best to jump on it. The discounts are some of the best you will find on new brand name products.
The House – Not exclusively a discount site, The House is an all-around outdoor retailer. That being said they do have a phenomenal ski gear discount section worth checking out.
Evo.com Once again not just a discount site. In fact you are probably already familiar with Evo. What you may not have checked out yet though is their outlet section that has heavily discounted ski gear.
SkiEssentials.com – Focuses solely on cheap & affordable ski gear. They claim to have the best prices on this years & previous season’s skis. Personally I am fairly impressed with their vast selection & their discounts do seem to be unparalleled.
Shopping for non-name brand products can be a great way to get gear when you are on a budget. Keep in mind these discounted prices normally come at a cost. Here you are largely sacrificing quality for affordability. Generally features will be limited or lacking altogether, design will be poor, & the manufacturing will not be up to par. Buying off brands may end up costing you more in the long run if the gear does not hold up or does not do it’s job properly. An insulated ski jacket will be fairly worthless if the waterproofing doesn’t keep you dry. Now with that said I must admit there are always exceptions to the rules. Just please do your research before purchasing anything from a company you are not familiar with.
If you are considering this be sure to check out:
OutdoorMaster – They make affordable ski goggles & ski jackets among other outdoor gear. The goggles I can personally attest to as they are my go-to goggles. All of the features of a high-end brand at a discounted price.
Phibee – Makes budget friendly ski jackets, pants, gloves, & more.
Wantdo – Quality stylish ski jackets & pants, as well as fashionable outer-layers for off the slopes, and more.
While this isn’t going to benefit everyone, pro deals are by far the best way to save money on brand new, brand name products. For Instance, while working as a ski instructor for Vail Resorts I was privy to 60% off Helly Hansen gear, 40% off SmartWool products, & 65% off Smith Optics. Also while working as a tour guide on the Mendenhall Glacier with Alaskan Ice-field Expeditions I received major discounts on Columbia, Mountain Hardwear, & Julbo. Here I also took a more proactive approach to pro deals reaching out to many companies via email to inquire about their pro deal policies. It seemed all but the smallest of businesses offered discounts for industry professionals. There are countless ways to qualify for pro deals from working directly for gear companies, to working for retailers, or largely working anywhere in the outdoor industry.
As you can see there are many different ways to save money on quality ski gear. Discounts & great deals are always out there for those who seek them.