If you’re new to snowboarding and about to embark on your first holiday or so, one of the questions that may need answering is whether you should rent or buy your equipment?
Snowboarding holidays aren’t cheap. Your first holiday in particular will probably leave you amazed at how much stuff you need to buy: gloves, hat/helmet, goggles, jackets, pants, the list goes on. And the actual hardware? Even an entry level setup of boards, boots and bindings could cost you £400+
So should you hire the equipment, or buy?
Advantages of hiring snowboard equipment
- Cost: it will be cheaper for this holiday
- Convinience: I don’t need to transport a big snowboard, which incidentally also adds to the cost of the flight and I would need to buy a board bag
- Assistance: I wouldn’t know what to buy – if I rent the person in the shop will help me
- No “upgrade waste”: I may need a beginner board now but I’ll outgrow it and then need to upgrade, so buying would be a waste
There certainly are advantages to renting. Chiefly, if you’re new to snowboading and the costs are mounting up, renting will save you money in the short run. “Outgrowing” your first snowboard aside, renting can remove the sting of purchase mistakes when you’re not quite sure what you need. For example, “this board is too long for me”, “I want one that’s twin-tip” or “I want bindings with two straps”. Discovering that after shelling out a few hundred pounds can prove a costly mistake.
Advantages of buying your own snowboard equipment
- Better quality: rental kit has been used before, your snowboard will be new. It’s also fairly likely that the rental equipment won’t be some of the best out there
- Better choice: if you buy you’ve got a much greater choice, so you’re more likely to get something suited to you. Comfortable boots, a freestyle snowboard, a board for people with big feet…
- Sorted before you go: for many, knowing that everything is in-place, fits and is ready to go on the first morning provides a comforting peace of mind
- Cost effective? Hiring may be cheaper, but it isn’t cheap. The cost-effective factor certainly ways more heavily if you’re going away for two or more weeks
Assuming you take the time, buying your equipment should provide you with a good quality setup that is well suited to your needs. On the cost side, rental for snowboard boots, bindings and board can cost you in the region of 130 – 150 euros per week. If you’re going on a two week trip you could be looking at 300 euros. With a thriving second hand market you always have the option to buy your gear and then sell it on if needed…
Advice for renting snowboard equipment
If you do decide to rent your equipment, consider the following:
- Think about your needs before you go. Even if you’re renting, it still helps to know a little about what you need: size and type of board, look at the different types of binding available, maybe even try some boots on in a shop? You want to avoid being sold the wrong thing when you’re in resort.
- Don’t settle on the first shop because you’re in a hurry to get on the hill. If the resort is busy their stock may be low, and they may be keen to provide you with something rather than nothing – even if they don’t have what’s right for you. That’s why you at least need to know a little. I heard a horror story from a friend who was given hard boots/bindings for a week of snowboarding; they didn’t know better…
- If possible, sort out your equipment on the day you arrive in resort, rather than the first morning of your lift pass.
- Rent from somewhere close to where you’re staying or snowboarding. This is important if you need to change something that’s the wrong size or something isn’t up to scratch.
- Research the rental options in resort before you go. Whilst it is true that there are companies out there that don’t provide a good service, there are others that do focus on getting things right for you. Perhaps they have budget vs. premium options? Can you can see their selection online? Maybe they deliver to and collect from your accommodation? Be prepared.
Whatever you decide, take some time to think about what you want and need. The last thing you want is to spend your holiday snowboarding with poor equipment. And there’s always the second hand option: you may find just the equipment you need on somewhere like eBay. If something is genuinely “used for one week on snow only” – it’s almost as good as new.