renting ski gear

Renting ski gear and clothing lets you pack light and travel smoothly.
Photo credit: Shannon Entin

When it comes to a ski vacation, packing light can seem nearly impossible. Even if you rent skis/boards and boots at your destination, ski jackets, pants, helmets, and goggles for the family can fill up an entire suitcase with their bulkiness. Renting ski gear and clothing is a smart way to travel light.

I pride myself on packing light. My family of four spent six days in Orlando and I packed just one carry-on suitcase and  three backpack-type bags. But for our road trip to ski in Lake Tahoe, Calif., our car was filled to overflowing. Packing that much stuff into the car was dangerous, as it impeded our rear view.

over-packed car

A packed-to-the-brim car can impede the driver’s view and cause safety issues.
Photo credit: Shannon Entin

During our visit to Lake Tahoe, I realized that rental shops offer the option to rent jackets, snow pants, goggles, gloves and helmets. This isn’t common on the East coast (though not unheard of), so I was intrigued. I talked with Lindsay Thayer of Tahoe Dave’s Skis & Boards, who offered this list of reasons why renting clothing is a wise idea for vacationers:

  • If you only ski/snowboard once a year and are from somewhere warm where you don’t need cold weather gear, it’s cheaper than buying and less of a hassle to travel without it.
  • It’s your first time skiing and you don’t own any gear yet.
  • Your child is growing and you’re not ready to invest in gear they’ll just grow out of.
  • You forgot an item and instead of investing in new, you can simply rent.
  • The airline lost your luggage and you need something to get you through until your gear arrives.
ski gear and clothing rentals

A good ski shop offers much more than ski, board, and boot rentals.
Photo credit: Shannon Entin

There are other occasions when renting cold-weather gear can be really useful. Maybe you don’t ski, but you want to go snowmobiling, or showshoeing, for a couple of hours or the kids want to sled or play in the snow. Is it really worth it to pack snow clothing if you’ll only want to use it for a few hours? Renting is the way to go.

According to Lindsay, all the jackets and pants at Tahoe Dave’s are high-quality and have Gortex, making them much more waterproof than those jeans! Upon return, every item gets washed thoroughly with Nikwax Techwash, which maintains the waterproofing.

Next time you’re headed to a cold-weather location for vacation, whether it’s skiing, snowmobiling, or just enjoying the mountain scenery, find out what’s available for rent. It could save you time, money, and lots of packing hassles.