Today’s reader question:
I’ve been snowboarding before using rented equipment… when’s the right time to buy my own? Should I just keep renting?
If you intend to keep snowboarding regularly, looking at buying your own gear is a great idea, however, like anything else, there’s a certain order and method to correctly move from rented gear to your own snowboard kit.
Firstly let’s look at the pros and cons of buying vs. renting before we look at when to get our own gear.
Buying your own snowboard gear:
- You get exactly the type of gear that will fit your riding / terrain
- Brand new gear or pretty new gear – 100 people haven’t used it before you
- Performance can be top notch
- Pricy starting cost ($300-$1000+ for a full set a gear depending on what you buy)
- Bulky – you have to bring it with you to the ski resort
- Will need replacement eventually (depending on how much you snowboard)
- Will require minor maintenance
Renting snowboard gear:
- Cheaper for less frequent snowboarders – rental gear is often offered at a large discount with your lift ticket
- No need to carry gear with you to the ski resort – just your ski clothing if you own any
- No maintenance or care required
- Re-used rental equipment can be old and worn down
- One size fits all – rental gear only comes in a few options (usually styled in ‘old run down all mountain snowboard’)
- Rental boots suck – they never fit your feet quite right
2 things to decide whether renting or buying is right for you:
So from these pros and cons, we can see there’s 2 things that we need to look at to decide whether renting or buying is the best option for you.
1) How much do you snowboard?
While I’m all for people buying snowboard gear to support the industry, if you only snowboard 1-2 days per year, I’m not so sure if buying a full set of equipment is the right choice for you.
If you only snowboard 1-2 times per season, I’d say the first thing to look at is always boots. If you’re sure you’re going to keep snowboarding, look at investing in a good pair of boots as your first step to owning your own gear.
I’ve said already that rental boots suck. They do. They’ll never fit your feet quite right, which means your feet hurt the longer you snowboard. This means boots should always be the first piece of gear you buy.
Look at getting boots first, then look at the other pieces like snowboards and bindings as later purchases (or at the same time if you’re really keen and have money to blow).
2) Ride enough to know which way your snowboard interests lean
Don’t buy a snowboard until you know what type of riding interests you. While I usually recommend that most people start with a good all-mountain snowboard, you should still have an idea of which side of all-mountain riding your snowboarding leans towards before buying your first snowboard.
Are you looking to ride a lot of park with a bit of everything else? Then you might want a park focused board with a touch of all-mountain twist.
Are you looking to ride mainly powder and steep slopes? Then you’ll probably prefer an all-mountain board that’s a tad longer and stiffer.
Ride enough to know where your interests lean before buying your own snowboard gear because it’ll help you customise your choice even further to get the snowboard that works just right for you.
The thing to remember is that rental gear isn’t the best, but it’s not the worse either. It’ll do the job during the early stages while you work out where your snowboard interests lie.
Although as I said already, get boots. If you’re at all interested in continuing to snowboard in the long term, invest in some nice boots and your feet will thank you.