The best way to rent skis

Family with skis

Picture this: you’ve finally sent that last report to your boss and bolted home to pack your bags for the annual Colorado ski trip. You unearth your gear from the depths of your garage only to find rusty edges on your skis and that thing in your ski boot is still making your big toe hurt like a you-know-what. Worry not. Seriously. Want to know a secret? The best way to maximize a ski vacation is to rent your skis.

Renting gives you access to the latest technology and, even better, gear techs who can help you pick the right equipment for your skill. Are you a powder hound who’s unafraid of venturing off-piste in search of a stash? They’ll find the perfect rockered fattie to get you there. Plan on harvesting the corduroy first thing? They know which carving ski is ideal—and they’ll guarantee the tune. Want boots that keep your feet warm, transfer plenty of power, and are so comfortable you might wear them to après (not that you would…)? They got that covered.

Beyond those perks, there’s the obvious convenience of renting: no more traveling with a covered wagon full of gear.

One of the best ways to make your trip easier is to reserve your ski or snowboard rentals online ahead of time — and then get the skis delivered to you wherever you’re staying. The ski rental section on Breckenridge.com offers different options for locations and type of rental for any type of skier.

By pre-ordering the gear before you leave for your trip, you could save up to 20 percent. The detailed online order form at rentskis.com (another part of Breckenridge) asks about your ability, measurements (they want to know your height and weight to properly adjust the bindings…tempting as it is, try not to lie about your weight), and special requests. And if you get to the store for pickup and decide you want to try a different pair of skis, they will do everything possible to accommodate you.Family of snowboarders

You can also take advantage of the free rental ski delivery service. Yep, it’s free. This is the plumiest, most low-hassle approach. Here’s how it works:

  1. Local professionals show up at your condo or hotel on the appointed hour with a range of gear.
  2. First they fit your boots. Then they have a conversation and determine the best ski for you.
  3. They take the gear to their slopeside storage so you just have to show up the next morning.

It’s seriously that easy.

So now you’re convinced renting is easier than schlepping. But you’re still nervous about the process. What if the boots mangle your feet? What if the skis refuse to turn?

Here are a few tips to prepare for your ski rental experience:

  • Research in advance. Log on to snow.com to read ski and snowboard reviews and have one or two models in mind.
  • Wear thin socks. Remember how a million years ago sore feet were a badge of pride after a long ski day? That is so 1993. These days a properly fitted boot gives you performance without cutting off your circulation. To get that proper fit, wear thin socks.
  • Be open to advice. You might insist you should be rockin a 198-length ski (that’s what you’ve skied since high school!), but you’re wrong. Know who’s right? The ski techs. These guys and gals live and breathe gear the way some people live and breathe stock market fluctuations. They are the bona fide experts. Take their advice.
  • Ask questions. They don’t even need to be about the gear. Find out if the ski shop will store your street boots during the day (usually there’s a small fee). Ask about multi-day discounts. Inform yourself about their exchange policy. Check out this list of FAQs for even more smart things to ask about.

Have we left anything out? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below. What are the must-know tips you follow to ensure your gear rental experience goes smoothly?

— Rachel Walker