For example, if you're an advanced skier and don't want to haul your stuff out west, it might make sense to bring your boots and rent high performance skis out there. Or, if you're an advanced skier and your stuff is wearing out, it might make sense to take advantage of the sales in Denver - which can be quite a bit better than here. On the other hand, if you're at the other end of the spectrum and are a complete beginner who only wants to try skiing while out west - go ahead and rent a package. Anywhere inbetween and the answer will depend on the answers to the questions above.
If you both can provide more information on what level you ski and what you expect out of skiing (i.e., will you ski more this season and next?), maybe you can get more useful responses.
For trips further afield, I hesitate to recommend bringing your own skis. My wife and I just hauled our skis and boots all the way to St. Anton/Lech/Zuers, Austria. We spent a lot of $ on special boot/cargo bags and a Sports Tube, figuring we would use them again and again. Well, I'm not so sure. Ski equipment gets heavy after a while!!!
That being said, I would definitely bring my own boots--good boots are key for shaped skis. Gotta maintain that shin contact!
On my next trip, I'll probably rent demos. The experience will help me decide what skis to buy in the future.
If I go to Europe again, however, I may buy
buy a new pair of skis there and bring em back in the Sports Tube. Skis in Austria are 50 percent less than they are in the states. Ski stores at St. Anton also let you demo skis for 3 days for free before you make a purchase. Lastly, the VAT in Austria fully refundable. Hence, you can occassionally get yourself a new pair of top-of-the-line skis and bindings for as little $400. European stores also start stocking next year's models in February.
Sorry, there's not a single one. Hahahaha. Actually, there are quite a few, to the extent that if you stand in downtown Denver and throw a stick blindfolded, you'll hit one.
Try a Denver newspaper online and click on some advertising links. The site http://www.coloradoboarders.com/ doesn't seem to work for me, but I don't have Flash.
The Gart Sportscastle in Denver is an old car dealership, and it is some four stories tall. They say they have a sale going on, but, then again, so does Hecht's.
I'm not recommending Gart specifically, just providing a link.
No question, but that boots are THE most important piece of equipment. Its the first piece of equipment that translates your steering output from your foot to the ski. For new boots, I'd make the following recommendations.
1. Get them local. Getting new boots is something you want to take your time with. You need to try on several pair since each manufacturer has a different idea of what the idea foot shape is. You also want to spend some real time in them. Whenever I buy new boots, I try to spend at least a half hour in a pair to see how they will conform to my feet. If there is any pain or hotspots or pinching, I move on to the next pair. This usually shows up well before the half hour is up. The boots that make it the whole way without pain are the ones I usually get. This kind of time investment usually can't be made in a short shopping trip while out west. Plus, you'll have some time before you actually head out west to try them out at home, clomp around and really decide if they're right for you.
2. Find a good boot fitter. The biggest mistake lots of people make are getting boots too big. A good boot fitter will make sure this doesn't happen. There is a guy at Ski Center that is supposed to be nationally renowned as an awesome boot fitter. Check out Otto Matheke's article on boots on DCSki - I think he's mentioned there along with some great tips on boot fitting.
3. More expensive is not always better. Resist the temptation to get the hottest, fanciest looking, most expensive boot. Chances are that such a boot will be too stiff being built for racers and not suited for you. You're actually very lucky as a new skier, there are a range of decent boots out there for a decent price. Plus with the warm weather here, there are bound to be sales. I got my wife a great pair of Langes for under $200 just a couple of years ago at a local shop.
With respect to skis, bindings, poles, you can get those out west for a decent price. Although one thing to consider is that will your own boots bought locally, you can rent different types of shaped skis to see which ones you like best. My wife did that and discovered she really, really like the Volkl 20/20 V3 carvers for women. After demo'ing them, we found a pair on the internet for $379 (retail $599 - on sale locally for $399). Since shipping was free we saved some bucks. If you do decided to buy out west after trying some demos for a few days, don't forget to buy the ski bag to bring them home in! I've found that the Sportube is the best protection for skis. Its hard sided ski luggage available on the internet. I got a double that will fit my wife's and my skis. As an extra bonus, it has built in wheels for lugging around airports.
[This message has been edited by Jim (edited 02-21-2002).]
I agree with Jim on the boot issue. Ski
magazine claims that Ski Center has the best boot fitter in the East. Check em out or try Ski Chalet. Both have excellent, patient staff members.
I just finished an interesting book called _Powder Burn_ about ecco terrorism at Vail and the problems caused by too much ski resort development in CO. I don't always agree with the author but the book is very thought provoking.
Anyway, one of things I learned from it is that Vail Corp. has been quietly buying ski stores throughout CO. Look out for price collusion, although I suspect you'll find a good deal. It is in Vail's interest to sell skis at reasonable prices.
My wife bought some Head Cyber Lights (www.head.com) last year and loves them. They are feather light, great for groomers, and suitable for bumps. The only time she ever complained about them was skiing waste deep powder at a high bowl in Austria a couple of weeks ago. My Volkl Vertigo all mountain skis performed much better in deep freshies. However, her cyber's give her a lot of endurance. She's always begging to do one more black trail at the end of the day while I'm nursing a major case of thigh burn.
I guess it goes back to what type of terrain you intend to ski. If you like groomers and the occasional bump run, go with carvers. If you want something a little harder to turn but better in deep snow and more stable at warp speeds, an all-mountain ski might be your cup of tea.
Finally, a free rider is great for really deep snow, as well as off-piste stuff. This would be a good ski to rent out West.
Skis are like bikes. You really need different skis for different terrain and conditions. In an ideal world, here's what I would own:
1. A set of older "rock" skis for marginal conditions.
2. An all-moutain ski for every day fun.
3. A set of race skis for NASTAR, corderoy, and testosterone days.
4. Free-riders for trips further afield where powder abounds.
PS And oh by the way, I'd also like a pony. :-)
Just go in and say "I need boots"....saving a dime may cost you a dollar!