RENT OR BUY EQUIPMENT?
You can buy skis, or you could rent them. But why should you buy and why would you rent? And what other gear should you consider spending money on first?
If you rent skis, you save yourself the hassle of transport and maintenance. If you don’t like the pair you’re on, you can change them out, mostly at no extra cost. In the higher price segments, you will probably get the current models, top of the line. But there is that cost. In that segment, prices start from € 120 for six days. And if you have a few trips up your sleeve, it adds up quickly.
So: rent when you don’t want the hassle of transport and maintenance, or if you don’t ski that often.
If you know exactly what you want and you want to ski that ski on all your trips, maybe you should buy. Obviously, you will have the additional cost of maintenance (say once every ski week, € 20 euro each time in the Alps). A high-end ski in that same class as our rental example will set you back about € 500 if you buy smart (end of season, for example). So, in about five ski weeks, you’ll break even. The transport is a possible downside, but skiing on the same ski every time can be considered an upside.
So: buy when you ski often and don’t mind the maintenance and transport.
Some gear I would not recommend renting at all. Apparel and protection (jackets, ski pants, base-layers, gloves, socks, helmets, goggles etc.) for one. Hygiene is one argument (especially for helmets). But even more basic: you cannot typically rent that stuff (except the helmet). You could borrow it, of course. But It doesn’t have to be too expensive. In summer, there are great deals to be had online. And there are the budget shops such as Decathlon.
Something more important even – and something you can rent also – ski boots. Ski boots are the most important piece of gear. At least, compared to skis. A well-fitting ski boot that caters to all your specific needs and wishes is something I would personally never save money on. Unless your feet are still growing, ski boots would be my first big hardware buy. They need to fit properly. Rental boots often are not that clean. But more importantly: the hardly ever fit well. The many different feet that have been in them have rendered the liners thins and shapeless. Which is quite the opposite of what you wat ski boot liners to be.
Spend your money wisely
You can spend your money only once. For me, I would invest in lessons, clothing & protection, boots, and only then come skis, poles, and all the rest of it. In that order. Most of the stuff you can borrow or rent. But not everything is as important to be properly fitted for your specific needs.