We’ve dished on all the ins and outs of traveling with your ski gear, but if the whole process sounds like a headache, we totally understand. And suppose skiing is only part of your trip? Between bag fees, car rentals and blood pressure levels, renting equipment for a day or two might make more sense if your time on the mountain is limited. Of course, if you don’t have your own gear, renting is a must. But where should you go?
Renting equipment is tricky in the fact that it depends greatly on both your ability level and agenda. If you’re a novice or intermediate without your own gear, you’re probably looking for a trustworthy, accessible place where you can get a good price. Experts are no doubt seeking a wide selection of the top gear along with solid advice about the local terrain and secret spots. While we acknowledge that opinions are always going to vary, we find the best recommendations to come from experienced locals rather than Internet search engines. Below, we caught up with some North American insiders to get an idea of where they would go to rent equipment in their home region.
Insider: Dave Rintala, Founder and Head Guide of Pacific Crest Snowcats and Pacific Crest Heli-Guides
Recommendation: Dave’s Ski Shops on the North Shore
Why: “They have an understanding of the skier’s needs and the snow conditions that allow them to select the proper ski for the skier on a particular day because the crew is all passionate skiers and boarders who access the mountain daily. They are also convenient with four North Shore locations in Squaw Valley, Truckee, Tahoe City and Kings Beach. Friendly, honest, and helpful, what more could you want?”
The details: Dave’s Ski Shop has four locations in Tahoe. The addresses and phone numbers can be found here.
Recommendation: Precision Ski and Golf in Frisco and Wilderness Sports in Dillon.
Why: Precision Ski is locally owned and located across the street from Walmart in Frisco. “They’re good about everything,” Whaley said. “They have top choices of rentals for good skiers who don’t want to lug their personal stuff across the country, but it is more so about the quality of advice you can get. What area you’re going to, what gear to have, where to play. It’s also a perfect location for pick-up and drop-off at the beginning and end of your trip as you drive right through Frisco to get to most of the ski areas in Summit County. Wilderness Sports is where I would send anyone looking for backcountry skiing gear and advice.”
The Details: Precision Ski and Golf is located in Frisco at Hwy 9 off I-70 at Exit #203. They can be reached at 970-668-3095. Ask for Jimbo. Wilderness Sports has two locations, one in Dillon and one in Frisco. You can find a coupon here for 15-percent off of rentals at Precision.
Insider: Matt Baydala, Ski Utah Blogger (Powderhound Matt) and Local Restaurant Manager at Yuki Arashi (which means snow storm in Japanese)
Recommendation: Cole Sport
Why: “I recommend Cole Sport to my friends and friends of friends who come through town who want to demo deep powder or other specific kinds of skis. Although they are a bit pricier than your average store, they have good quality equipment and I’ve never had a complaint about them.”
Quebec City, Quebec
Insider: Paule Bergeron, Account Execute at Quebec Region Tourism, Lifetime Quebec City Resident and Season Pass Holder for 25+ years
Recommendation: The general consensus in Quebec City when it comes to renting gear is to do so on-site at your respective mountain (multiple interviews resorted in this advice).
Why: Bergeron said that most people who come to Quebec City to ski or board rent at the mountain. “We have shops downtown,” she said, “But that’s mostly for people purchasing equipment, not renting.” She said that Sports Alpins at Mont Sainte-Anne is one of the most highly regarded for their selection of both entry-level and demo-worthy gear.
The Details: Sports Alpins is located at Mont Sainte-Anne.
Insider: Eric Wilbur, Columnist for Boston Sports Blog
Recommendation: Equipe Sport in Southern Vermont and Stan’s and Dan’s in North Conway
Why: “Equipe Sport is really the dominant force in southern Vermont, servicing skiers and riders destined for the likes of Okemo, Stratton and Mount Snow. Their staff is knowledgeable, which is a must, obviously, and their prices are reasonable compared to on-mountain costs. They’ve also got a wide selection of demos, which, for someone like me, who owns his own equipment, is an attractive reason to visit, looking for the next, great things for the hill. Also, in North Conway, Stan and Dan’s may be the best rental outfit in the northeast. They are super helpful, and known throughout the Mount Washington Valley for being so. That’s no small deal seeing as it’s probably the most trafficked ski destination for many Massachusetts skiers and riders. They’re the real deal.”
The Details: Equipe Sports has five different locations. Stan’s and Dan’s is located at 2936 White Mountain Highway in North Conway.