With Labor Day behind, the kids back in school, and the hint of fall in the air, it is time for my annual ritual of going through the kiddos’ ski gear. It is a chore that I approach with a mix of enthusiasm and trepidation. Enthusiasm, as it means that the ski season is just around the corner. Trepidation, as I think about the amount of money that I’ll spend to replace on out-grown gear in the coming months. While stunting my children’s growth patterns is not an option (although I have contemplated it at times to save what feels like a year of college tuition that my husband and I have spent on gear for them over the years), I have developed several methods for saving some greenbacks:
- Take one for the team: My husband and I, even though we’re in the skiing industry, forgo updating our own gear, so much so, that some of our gear has come back into to fashion. Think 80s fluorescents.
- Hand me downs: This is an obvious one--much to my daughter’s dismay, as she has had to forgo the hot pink ski pants for the boring navy ones from her brother. But they work!
- Arrange a ski clothing swap: I gather all the ski mamas in my hood, pour some wine and let the trading begin.
- Shop for ski equipment in late summer: Retailers start clearing their shelves of last year’s snow gear in order to make room for the new stuff. You can find some great bargains.
- Shop discount sites: A go-to for me is LeftlaneSports.com. This site works with key brands to bring their overstock or last year’s items to their members at a highly discounted rate. Note: it cost nothing to join.
- Ski with the MadJacks: The MadJacks is a no brainer when it comes to getting the most lifetime out of your kid’s equipment. The adjustable foot plate, allows ages 3-10 to ski with the same pair. Another big bonus? They can use one pair of boots to ski, ride, and sled.
I am fresh off of a ski clothing swap. I scored a slightly used pair of Smith goggles for my son and my niece gets a nice pair of Columbia bibs for her first season on the hill. I might just get to ditch my 80s gear this year! Be on the hill, be happy on the hill.