Whilst hiring skis is generally a pretty painless process, there are a few things you need to know, particularly if it’s your first experience with a rental shop.
It’s generally a good idea to book ski hire directly with the hire shop, cutting out the middle man (usually a tour operator). This means that if something goes wrong, if you have queries or issues, it can be more complicated to actually figure out who is in charge of your booking. If you book directly with the hire shop, you know exactly who is handling you.
Check deals online before you go in order to scope out the best prices, but make sure you don’t compromise on quality by opting for the lowest price possible. Quality is important. These days you can generally book online as well, meaning all this is sorted before you even leave for the resort, avoiding those transfer day queues.
This can be a great idea if you know exactly what you want, if you’re an intermediate to advanced skier and you’ve rented before. However, if you’re a beginner and you don’t know where to start when it comes to all this, it can be a good idea to speak to a professional who’s clued up on what would be best for you.
Discuss Your Needs with Staff & Choose an Appropriate Ski
There’s so much choice these days when it comes to rental skis that it can be hard to know what to go for. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or an advanced skier, there are lots of choices and ski hire shops will usually have a good range to choose from, so it pays to have some idea of what you’re after. If you’re hiring, it’s a good idea to do some research and think about the sort of ski you want before heading out to resort. If you can supply shop staff with information on your perfect ski, perhaps even give them a few examples of skis you’d like to try, they will be much better placed to help you out to find something similar in their store.
Make Sure the Fit is Correct
Poorly fitted boots and badly set up skis can make or break your day on the slopes, so it’s imperative to make sure you’re comfortable. You don’t want to be making a trip back to the ski shop after your first day because you didn’t want to waste valuable skiing time making sure your boots fit well (and they subsequently didn’t…) Hire shops and their staff are well equipped to make sure that you find a setup that works perfectly for you, so don’t deny them of this pleasure!
Reap The Benefits
Make sure that you are clued up on all the services you get for your money. For example, most ski hire shops allow you to swap your skis free of charge, so you can either try snowboarding for a day or try a new type of ski, be it freeride, freestyle or powder. Some hire shops also offer ski lockers for you to store your skis if your accommodation is further away and carrying skis back there seems a mammoth task… So whether it’s s trying snowboarding for the day, or simply popping in to ask for some general advice on equipment, make the most of the services that come with ski hire!
When you hire skis, they will generally offer you insurance to go alongside this. You might think “eh? Why would I need insurance for my skis?” But it can be a very sensible add-on to purchase. Sad as it is, in some resorts thieves target apres-ski bars, where multiple pairs of skis are left outside whilst their owners drink and dance away the afternoon. Not only is this a total pain when you have to descend the mountain on foot, but it can also set you out of pocket, with some hire shops charging you the full price of the skis if they get lost. It’s here when insurance comes in handy!
If you don’t purchase insurance, it’s a good idea to get a ski lock (these are small enough to fit in a pocket and pretty cheap) or even split your skis with a friend and leave one of each pair together on opposite sides of the bar – this will generally be enough to deter thieves looking for an easy steal.
Images © C.Arnal /Skiset