When is the best time to buy equipment
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wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
219 posts

I am going to make the leap and buy my own skis and boots. This decision made sitting out this past season easier.

When are the best sales?

Skier profile

  • INTERMEDIATE
  • mid-40s, 1-3 times a year skier over the last couple of decades
  • I'm not a great technical skier, but get down the black diamonds of the Mid-Atlantic in one piece (so long as they don't have moguls)
  • Decent shape - I bike and kayak offseason
  • 6' - I tend to ski 160s and 170s when I rent, depending on who I am skiing with
I think my baseline for skis and boots are whatever Whitetail was renting in 2018. I really liked those skis and the boots were a lot lighter than my old San Marcos from the mid-1990s.

Goals

Owning my skis means less out of pocket expense on every ski trip of course. Purchasing the Indy Pass is also in play.

If I go extravagant on either, I suppose it'll be the boots

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,544 posts

Late season sales start soon after Pres. Day in the Mid-A/SE.  That applies more to boots than skis.

For boots, you should pick one of the experienced boot fitters to work with.  Not at all like buying a pair of shoes.  There are a couple of ski shops in the DC/NoVA area to choose from.

Intro to boot fitting:

blisterreview.com

theskimonster.com

Note that it's easy to find horror stories about buying ski boots.  But like online reviews of restaurants by random people, most people don't have complicated feet and can find a good fit without that much trouble.  Helps to learn about the boot fitting process beforehand.

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,544 posts

As for skis, that's a completely different buying process than boots.  If you know what you want, finding a good deal can be easy from now until late fall.  If you are willing to sell skis that don't work out, then there isn't much risk in making a purchase.

There is a saying "you marry your boots but only date skis."  I've owned boots since the 1980s.  After I started skiing more regularly after 2004, I've bought three pairs of boots.  For skis, the first pair I bought in that era were cheap former rental skis for skiing with my daughter as a beginner ages 6-7.  I went to a free demo day at Sugar in Dec before buying a good pair of skis from eBay in March 2009 from a ski shop for $250.  Attending demo days at Massanutten, Whitetail, and other places is how I learned what I liked and what I didn't.  Been using the same pair of skis for MidA/SE skiing since 2015.  Bought them new on eBay from a ski shop.

Denis - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,228 posts
Agree completely on boots and skis.  Good boots are by far the most important piece of equipment.  Many people learn how to buy good boots by buying bad ones first.  Time spent learning about boots, finding a good boot fitter and working with them will pay big dividends.  After buying it generally takes several visits, with the same shop and boot fitter, to make adjustments.  This is free to the original buyer for the life of the boot.  Don’t neglect this step.  
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Laurel Hill Crazie - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 08/16/2004 🔗
1,862 posts
Boots, boots, boots. That's can't e emphasized enough. Do not buy boots online even if you think you know your size. When you buy boots at a good ski shop they will work with you until you get a proper fit after your purchase. What might feel great in the shop might reveal some hot spots after a few days out. Fitting boots are a process that might take a few returns to the shop to get them dialed in.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,544 posts

Wanted to add that the reason I bought boots that often in about 10 years is that I started skiing a lot more.  I needed boots that were designed a bit differently as I went from a confident intermediate skiing 10-20 days in the MidA/SE to a low advanced skier taking a couple trips out west a season in addition, to a solid advanced skier getting in 50+ days between Massanutten and trips out west.  By the time I needed the second pair of boots, I discovered there was a local ski shop 30 min from my house with a very experienced boot fitter, I'd been using the first pair for four seasons and around 75 days.  A friend used them for 6-7 days a season for several more years (with new liners) since they fit her far better than any rental boots.  She just bought her first pair of boots from the same boot fitter.  Those boots were "new old stock" bought on sale during early season for around $300.  Our feet aren't that complicated.  I only had one hot spot that needed tweaking, which ended up happening for $25 at the Powder House at Alta during a mid-season trip.

I learned how to extend the lift of ski boot shells using replacement liners.  Those cost around $250 instead of $400-500 for completely new boots that are "new old stock."  Stock liners "pack out" after 50+ ski days.

marzNC wrote:

There is a saying "you marry your boots but only date skis."  I've owned boots since the 1980s.  After I started skiing more regularly after 2004, I've bought three pairs of boots.  

 

Bonzski
6 months ago
Member since 10/21/2015 🔗
544 posts
I'd invest in quality boots through a shop and consider not buying skis if your plan is to continue 1-3 days per season. Renting gives you flexibility to get a ski for the day's conditions and explore different profiles until you find what works best for you....then invest in skis.
Evans Dad - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 01/27/2021 🔗
31 posts

Denis wrote:

Agree completely on boots and skis.  Good boots are by far the most important piece of equipment.  Many people learn how to buy good boots by buying bad ones first.  Time spent learning about boots, finding a good boot fitter and working with them will pay big dividends.  After buying it generally takes several visits, with the same shop and boot fitter, to make adjustments.  This is free to the original buyer for the life of the boot.  Don’t neglect this step.  

 This is me!  After many years and many pairs of ill-fitting, uncomfortable, then very comfortable but too big boots, I spent some real money and time on a pair I have had for 15 years.  I saved a lot of money over that time by spending a lot at the outset. 

fosphenytoin - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago (edited 6 months ago)
Member since 12/20/2017 🔗
150 posts

Denis wrote:

Agree completely on boots and skis.  Good boots are by far the most important piece of equipment.  Many people learn how to buy good boots by buying bad ones first.  Time spent learning about boots, finding a good boot fitter and working with them will pay big dividends.  After buying it generally takes several visits, with the same shop and boot fitter, to make adjustments.  This is free to the original buyer for the life of the boot.  Don’t neglect this step.  

Agreed 100%.  My 1st boots were "bucket" boots, ~2 sizes larger than my true size, bought at a chain shop during it's annual sale in Sept.  Big mistake.  A mistake took me few years to realize (after many people mentioned it). 

Bought my 2nd pair after recommendation from a well-respected boot fitter here in NoVA.  He gave me few recommendations and I went to 3 shops in NoVA to try on different ones (not all shops had the same stock, somehow he knew which shop had what).  It took some time but it was time well invested.  Very likely that you will need to make adjustments and they'd be free if you got from the original buyer.  Important to keep that in mind.

I told my boot fitter up front that I am a recreational skier and don't want to spend a fortune on boots. I just need something fits well so I can ski properly.  He was able to find me a pair from previous seasons' left over stock at a very reasonable price (much lower than I originally budgeted for).  They call it "new old stock".  

As for when to buy it.  I started to look for mine in late fall, figured out what to get and got fitted in early December.  In my case, my fitter ordered it from Utah, somehow he knew a shop there had a pair of "new old stock" that would fit me.  

I think you can start looking in early fall(?) This is the time shops start to receive shipments for the upcoming season.  If there is "new old stock" that fits you, great - you may even get a discount.  

Before you go boot shopping, I'd call to make an appt. with the boot fitter you want to work w/.   If you do "walk in", you may end up with someone else..... 

As for skis, I prefer to have my own because I find it time consuming to get rentals, set up and drop off at end of the day.  You can find pre-owned skis at ski swap if you know what you are looking for.....  

wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
219 posts
I appreciate the feedback from everyone.

I'm in Alexandria, so the nearest ski shops are Sun & Ski, Seven Corners and Alpine in Fairfax. Do either of these have expert bootfitters?
fosphenytoin - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago (edited 6 months ago)
Member since 12/20/2017 🔗
150 posts
2 Recommendations if you live in Alex, VA.

1) Alpine Ski Shop in Fairfax - Brian Eardley.  He is my boot fitter.  He was recommended by Rusty C. (former Epic Ski moderator).  Only problem is, he works at the shop during ski seasons only. I suggest you call the shop to find out his working hours. There are 2 Alpine Ski Shops. one in Fairfax, one in Sterling. Brian works at Fairfax shop. 

2) Another boot fitter I recommend is - Brian Deeley, owner of Pro-Fit ski in Leesburg, VA.  He is another very well respected boot fitter in this area. Since he owns the shop, he is there all the time, no need to call / make appt. you can just stop by and ask for Brian.  

I live in Alexandria too. Pro-fit ski in Leesburg is about 1 hr 15 min. drive one way. I bring my skis to Brian D.'s shop for tuning, waxing.  Quality of work from his shop is reliable, no bad surprises.  
The shop also has an inside ski deck. I go there once a month for lessons during off season. It is good way to continue working on my techniques.
The recent 2 adjustments for my ski boots, I have taken them to Brian Deeley at Pro Fit ski shop.  Primarily because of convenience, since I go there to for ski deck lessons. I know folks drive from WV to see him.  

I like both Brians.  You would be in good hands at either of them.  

Denis - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,228 posts
As long as we’re talking boots, I’ll share my secrets.  They may not interest everybody.  I won’t use stock liners, they’re simply wimpy and pack out fast, as others have noted.  I use only thermo-fitted liners, Scarpa Intuition.  There are others but I am a fan of the Scarpas  (Scarpa.com).  Got them on steepandcheap.com a dozen years ago for $70, a steal, and had them fitted at Black Diamond’s main store in Salt Lake.  If you check steep and cheap and other ski-nut pages daily there are some great deals out there.  Quantities are always limited so you have to jump on it fast.
Reisen
6 months ago
Member since 01/25/2005 🔗
364 posts
Ok, so everyone told you to invest in boots first, which is completely right. The only thing I’ll add is not to focus too much on price (for boots), but to try a zillion pairs on, at multiple different shops. I have been to many a boot fitter, including all of the ones mentioned in this thread. Rather than making a good fit work by adjusting it, I just keep trying boots until I find a great fit. Perhaps a little annoying for the shops, but with skis, boots, tuning, and soft goods for a family of 4 (now 5), they make plenty of money off of me overall. 

Some boot fitters will fit you into a boot that is simply too small. You don’t need to do that, especially at your level. Comfort is first for me. You will need to visit lots of shops to find stock of different boots in different sizes. 

I am a fan of the newer grip walk soles. It improves the experience of getting to the slopes, and I can’t tell the difference when skiing. 

On skis, go more toward 170 than 160 at your size. This is where you can easily save money and find a deal. Don’t be afraid to buy used if they are relatively new and in good shape. 
Keith_Moon
6 months ago
Member since 02/19/2019 🔗
162 posts

I would only buy boots you can try on first, but I had a good experience buying my skis online, from Powder7 in Colorado.

I got ex demo skis that were barely used at a good discount.  They show pictures of the actual skis on the web site, top and bottom.  I would buy from them again in a heartbeat.  Of course you then have get the bindings adjusted to fit your boots, so figure in that expense if you go the non-local route.

wfyurasko - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 07/27/2014 🔗
219 posts
I may go looking at either Alpine or the place in Leesburg this weekend since it's not going to be great weather to be outdoors.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,544 posts

wfyurasko wrote:

I may go looking at either Alpine or the place in Leesburg this weekend since it's not going to be great weather to be outdoors.

 If you are serious about buying boots, best to call ahead to make sure the experienced boot fitter is available.  A good fitting takes 1-2 hours.  After the best fitting boots are identified, usually spent another 20-30 minutes with the boots on as a confirmation.

Crush
6 months ago (edited 6 months ago)
Member since 03/21/2004 🔗
1,026 posts

wfyurasko wrote:

I may go looking at either Alpine or the place in Leesburg this weekend since it's not going to be great weather to be outdoors.

 Hi there! I'd look at a three-buckle boot ( four is best ) at the minimum - the most important one is just above your instep (the ankle one) and boots that don't have a  buckle there will not seat your heel in the heel pocket well - crucial !

I am NOT recommending this boot below but it illustrates a three-buckle boot with a good ankle buckle

D2055000.00xBLACKxPrimary_17184051_2000x.jpg?v=1610002447

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