Should You Buy or Rent Skis for Kids?

Buying or Renting Kids Skis

parent-and-child-skiingIf you have kids, you know that they outgrow clothes and shoes like crazy. Combine that with the cost of good ski equipment and you start to wonder if it’s better to rent or buy their gear.

Here’s a good article I found today about this with some good advice:

Kids Gear: Buy or Rent? (

Tracy Gibbons, owner of Sturtevant’s ski shop, in Bellevue, Wash., says there is no exactly right time, but she urges parents to ask two questions before they shell out money for children’s skis.

First: What level is the skier? “Once kids are starting to try black runs, it’s time to move on to something higher-performance than a rental,” Gibbons says. So if your kiddo skis more than eight to 10 days a season for three or four years consecutively, she’s likely ready to ski harder runs, thus need better gear.

Second: Do you have more than one kid? “If you’re going to hand them down, we encourage you buy sooner,” Gibbons says. Hand-me-downs allow you to get up to five good years out of the equipment, after which you can sell it. Many shops, including Sturtevant’s, sell on consignment. Another option is to hit a swap. Gibbons warns, though, that if you don’t attend a swap staffed by knowledgeable employees, you could end up with useless gear. “I’ve seen eight-year-olds with adult boots,” she says.

I’d agree with this. Those are good questions to ask and that’ll help you decide.

Consider Used Gear

Another consideration is selling your used gear once you’re done with it. If you buy gear (new or used), you can usually resell it easily at a ski swap or local sports store that resells sports equipment. And buying used gear is a good choice, too. Check out ski swaps in the fall and then used sports equipment stores or even online auctions and Craig’s List.

When you buy used skis and boots for kids, make sure it’s in good condition. Look for cracks. Make sure the buckles work well. Definitely have your child there to try the equipment on and see if it fits. Find out where their foot is and make sure there’s a little growing room.


Family ski trips are a blast! I find lots of families skiing and I have a good amount of friends that have been skiing since they were kids. It’s a great sport and I think parents kind of owe it to their kids to at least try skiing a few times when they’re young and see if they like it or not. It’s a lot easier to learn when you’re young.

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