Since moving to Vermont almost 4 years ago, my family has really become a “ski family.” You’ll catch us at the mountain no fewer than 2 days a week. My kids ski all day Saturday and Sunday plus any days off from school, and if they’re lucky, dad pulls them out for some fun on a powder day. Me, I ski in the morning and then write or read in the lodge after lunch.
We love this ski life, but we don’t love the price of all of our winter gear – especially because our kids grow out of stuff so quickly!
We’ve had to get creative with ways to cut some expenses so we can ski as much as we want.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting pricey winter gear for less.
Purchase in the Spring
We’ve been doing this for a while now. You can find great closeout deals on all winter gear at any local ski shop in the spring. My Nordica skis were a spring purchase and cost us less than $300. They were demos and had been marked down even more because of that.
We also grabbed an entire Patagonia snowsuit for our son marked down 75%. You can not beat that. We had to do a little guessing as to what size he’d be in the coming fall, but it all worked out! And, since it’s Patagonia, we know it will hold up and we’ll be able to pass it down once he grows out of it.
Buy Yourself Kid Sizes
Don’t bite my head off. I am definitely NOT talking about actual kid’s clothing. Trust me, my butt is nowhere near fitting in kids’ size snow pants.
But, my hands do fit into XL kids’ ski mittens. At the end of last season, I nabbed an XL kids pair of Burton Gore-Tex ski mittens (on discount because it was spring) for about $49.99 – before the sale price. The adult version of this same mitten retails for at least $20 more.
I also don’t own a full face snow mask. This past weekend, the wind chill was below zero, so I grabbed one of my son’s. Guess what? They’re stretchy and it fit!
Other winter gear you could consider getting for yourself in the kids’ department: scarves, socks, and goggles.
Set Alerts on Facebook Marketplace
I’m not sure about your local marketplace, but on mine, the quality stuff flies. No one wants to be glued to their phone all day lurking on Facebook Marketplace, especially when you could be out in the snow enjoying the winter. Well, I’ve got the solution.
Did you know that you can set alerts for specific items, brands, and sizes in Facebook Marketplace? You’ll get a notification as soon as what you are looking for is listed within your set radius. Last winter, we used this technique to nab the exact size and brand of snow boots we wanted for our older son and to get a pair of snowshoes for me.
Max Out Your Winter Gear’s Potential
Most kid’s snow gear will have extendable hems. Check your kid’s snow pants and see what you can do. It’s likely you’ll be able to add an additional 2 inches on their snow pants and get another year of wear.
Since we have two boys very close in age, we hand all winter gear down to our younger son and then extend for him. We’ve legit had his current snowsuit for 4 years now. If you’re wondering what brand could hold up to four winters and two kids, it’s Obermeyer.
Consider Seasonal Rentals
Since kids grow so fast, it’s hard to shell out the big bucks for things like ski boots which will likely need replacing every single year. My kids grow like weeds and sometimes, they even grow out of their boots during a single ski season. Because of this, we opt for seasonal rentals for their skis and ski boots.
It’s a one time cost at the beginning of the season and we can come back to swap sizes as often as we need throughout the season.
Bonus Tip – Develop a relationship with your local ski shops.
Our local ski shop knows we’re going to be coming in every year for seasonal rentals. Because of this relationship, they always try to hook us up with the best deal possible when we do need to replace something.
The sales team at the pro shop where we hold season passes also knows our kids and our faces. Last weekend, when the wind chill was below zero, my son needed boot warmers. Unfortunately, my husband had left his wallet in our locker. The sales clerk gave them to him anyway and said he knew he was good for it. The next day, when I ran in to pay the tab, they couldn’t believe we actually came back to pay. It’s important to us that we return the favor.