Buying vs Renting Kids Skis: What Option Is Best?

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Getting your family geared up with everything that they need for the upcoming ski season is not only an energy-intensive endeavor, but it can also get really expensive fast. Through the years, our family has tried lots of combinations of skis and boots and we’ve learned some great things that have helped us save money on kid’s ski gear.

How To Get Kids Ski Gear For Cheap

Skiing is often classified as a really expensive sport, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve found some incredible deals on ski gear for our kids that have helped make skiing with kids more affordable. Here are some of our favorite ways to get kids ski gear for cheap:

big family skiing

Shop Ski Store Sales

We find that the best deals on new kid’s skis are found directly from a ski shop or online ski retailer. They have the best selection and often offer great discounts, especially towards the end of the season and in the summer. Be sure to check their websites or sign up for their email list to be notified of upcoming sales.

Look For Ski Package Deals

Another way to get great deals on kid’s ski gear is to look for package deals that include skis, bindings, and poles. This is often the most cost-effective way to buy new gear, especially if your kids are just starting out. You can find package deals online or at most sporting goods stores.

Pass Ski Gear Down To Younger Siblings or Friends

To save money on skiing, we always get our older kids a good pair of skis and then pass them down to the younger siblings. That works well for a large family like ours, but if you don’t have lots of kids to pass gear down through, chat with friends and share your kid’s gear with them when it doesn’t fit your kids. We’ve found that kid’s ski gear lasts A LONG TIME, so you likely won’t see any significant wear and tear after just a season of another kid using it, especially with younger kids.

Ski park city utah ski kids

Head To A Ski Swap

If you live in an area with lots of skiing, ski swaps can be a GOLD MINE! Plan on getting there at least 30 minutes before the doors open, and going directly to the kid’s ski gear section (it almost always sells out faster than adult gear).

Shop Online Classifieds

We’ve found some of the best deals on used kid’s skis on online classifieds. While it may take a bit more looking and work to find a good deal, we typically get our kids ski gear for about 1/3 of the price of new by buying used.

What Size Skis And Boots Do Kids Need?

Figuring out kids ski and boot sizes can get a bit tricky. Kids ski boots are sized using Mondo sizes, and kids skis are sized in cm. To help you figure out what size skis and boots to get your kids read our entire article focused on “What Size Ski Gear Do My Kid Need”??

kids ski sizes

Buying New Ski Boots For Kids

While we don’t think that kids need all new ski gear, the one piece of gear that we recommend everyone buy is new adjustable kid’s ski boots. We’ve had our kids skiing in Roces Adjustable kids ski boots for about 9 years now and absolutely love them. They adjust to fit 6 sizes in one and you can usually find them for about $125 per pair.

In contrast, the cheapest we’ve ever found used kids ski boots is $25/pair, which ends up being more expensive when you factor in 6 different sizes. Roces Ski Boots are incredible quality and the best ski boots for kids who are beginner and intermediate level skiers (they’re not stiff enough for advanced skiers). These boots have saved our sanity many times when a mid-season growth spurt hits and instead of rushing out to buy a new pair of ski boots for kids, we simply adjust theirs to be a bigger size.

Buying New Skis For Kids

Buying new skis for kids is the easiest option if they need new gear. New skis typically have the best selection and if you’re looking for online deals, you can buy new kid’s skis for cheap. We find that it’s especially hard to find used skis in sizes that are under 100cm, so buying new is a great option.

There are generally more new skis available for kids in the 110-140cm range, and by the time kids are skiing a ski that’s around 150cm, they can typically move up to a small adult ski. While small adult skis do cost more, they usually offer much better performance than kid’s skis.

Cost Of Buying New Skis And Boots For Kids

Lately, we’ve noticed that many kid’s skis don’t come with bindings, so when you’re calculating the cost of buying new kid’s skis, make sure that your kid’s skis have bindings. While you can purchase bindings and skis separately, we find it’s easier to get them as a package.

New Kids Skis + Bindings: Starting at $175

New Kids Ski Boots: $120

Total Cost (minimum): $295

skiing utah with kids

Advantages of Buying Kids Skis New

While kids don’t NEED brand new ski gear, there are a few advantages to buying your kids new ski gear. Here are some of the reasons that buying brand new skis for your children might be the best choice for you:

  • Your child needs performance skis
  • You have several kids and know that you’ll pass the skis down through all of them
  • You can’t find affordable used skis that are what your kid needs
  • You live somewhere without good access to a ski shop, so you need to buy online to get the best deals
  • Your kids are picky and only will use certain colors

Buying Used Skis For Kids

We typically tend to get our kids used skis, because where we live there are lots of fantastic used skis available (we’re in Utah). We also find that we usually can find the best deal on used kid’s skis, so that makes our ski budget stretch further.

Best Places To Buy Used Skis For Kids

Over the last 15 years of skiing with our kids, we’ve bought ski gear for kids at lots of different places. Here are some of our favorite places to buy used ski gear for kids:

  • Online Classifieds
  • Garage Sales
  • Thrift Stores In Ski Towns
  • Ski Swaps
  • Ski Shops (typically for older rental skis)

Cost of Buying Used Skis And Boots For Kids

We typically spend between $50-$75 per pair of kid’s skis when we buy them at ski swaps or using online classifieds.

When we buy used skis at a ski shop, we typically spend about $100/pair of used kid’s skis.

Used ski boots typically cost between $25-$50/pair, but as mentioned above, Roces adjustable ski boots purchased new is usually a better option than used ski boots for kids.

Brighton Ski Resort With Kids

Advantages of Buying Kids Skis Instead Of Renting

The biggest advantage of buying kid’s skis instead of renting is that you get to keep the skis instead of returning them. This is a major advantage, especially if you have more than one kid so that you can get multiple uses out of one pair of skis.

When you’re done with a pair of kid’s skis, they’re usually very easy to sell using an online classified marketplace. Typically, we can sell our kid’s skis online for about the same price that we would buy a pair of used skis. This is a great deal if you bought your kids skis used to begin with!

Daily Rentals For Kids Skis

If you’re new to skiing or are traveling for vacation, daily ski rentals are often the easiest option for kids. If you’re renting kid’s skis, boots, and poles for just a few days, we recommend that you try to find a ski rental shop near the slopes that offers rentals by the day instead of by the week.

While it’s more expensive to rent by the day, it is a great option if you just need skis for a few days.

When you’re renting skis for kids, we recommend finding a ski shop that will let you rent them the night before to alleviate some of the stress of getting to the ski hill with kids. It’s not uncommon for the entire rental process for family ski rentals to take an hour, so block out a good chunk of time to get your rentals sorted out.

ski rental shop at the ski resort

Saving Money On Ski Rentals For Kids

Ski rentals for kids are usually just a little bit cheaper than rentals for adults. Here are some of the best ways to save money on kid’s ski rentals:

  • Rent skis somewhere besides the resort (resort ski shops are the most expensive)
  • Inquire about discounts for longer term rentals
  • Ask for discounts if your family is renting multiple pairs
  • Check online for the best prices for kid’s ski rentals
  • Bring your own helmet and goggles instead of renting

Cost of Daily Ski Rentals For Kids

Daily rentals for kid’s skis typically cost about $30-$35/day, which can add up quickly if you’re planning on skiing for more than a couple of days. If you’ve got a ski trip planned that’s more than a week, call around to local shops and ask if you can get a season rental price for while you’re there, since it will typically save you lots of money.

Season Rentals For Kids Skis

In the last several years, season ski rentals for kids have become increasingly popular. They’re a great option if you want to hang on to your kid’s ski gear all season long, but don’t want to have to store it in the off-season.

Many season ski rental shops have an option that lets you upgrade your gear if your kids grow in the middle of the season, so it’s a great option for growing kids.

Having season ski rentals is nice because you only need to head into the rental shop at the beginning and end of the season, so it can really simplify family ski days. Most season ski rentals are well used, and we find the cost of a season ski rental to be slightly higher than buying used, though it’s often more convenient.

kids skiing with kids ski poles

Advantages of Season Ski Rentals

There are lots of advantages of season ski rentals for kids. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Unlimited selection of sizes for boots and skis
  • Perfect if you’re not passing ski gear down to other kids
  • Super convenient
  • Affordable

Cost Of Season Ski Rentals For Kids

Season ski rentals typically cost about $120-$150/season depending on where you live. This is easily the most economical way to rent skis for kids.

Advantages Of Renting Kids Skis

There are a few advantages to renting kids skis instead of buying them. Here are some reasons that you might choose to rent kids skis instead of buying:

  • You’re only going to be skiing for a short period of time
  • You don’t ski often enough to justify the cost of buying kids skis
  • You’re traveling and it’s more convenient to rent skis than to bring your own
  • Your child is still growing and you don’t want to have to keep buying new skis

Which Is Better – Buying Or Renting Skis For Kids?

As we’ve shown above, there’s not a one size fits all answer. For some families, it makes more sense to buy kids skis, and for other families, it makes more sense to rent kids skis. Hopefully this article has helped you decide which choice is best for your families ski needs.

family ski trip popup