Olympic Standard Sports

Chapter 1: 7 Ways to Improve Your Ski Rental Experience

Do you dread walking into the rental shop every time you take a ski vacation? Do you find the whole rental process to be tedious, tiresome, and utterly frustrating? If so, you are not alone.

Many people find walking into the rental shop to be their least favorite part of their ski trip. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Your rental experience can be extremely pleasant.

In fact, if you adhere to the following seven guidelines, you might even come to find the entire process to be something that you look forward to on your next ski vacation.

1. Avoid the rush! Most rental shops are busiest between 8:00-10:30 AM and 3:00-6:00 PM. Don’t come to rent during these peak hours. If possible, rent during the off hours. You'll find a much less crowded shop during this time, which offers you several benefits. You go through the entire rental process much more quickly when fewer customers are in the shop. You will also receive far better service. When the shop is packed with people, the rental tech’s main goal is to get everyone out as quickly as possible. But when the shop is emptier, he or she can spend much more time with you, answering all your questions, and making sure you receive the best possible fit.

2. Make advance reservations. Many ski shops will take advance reservations online. This speeds up your rental process. When you walk into the shop, they will already have all of your information on file and will have set aside equipment for you. This is especially important if you are renting during a peak time of the year, such as Christmas, or other major holiday weekend.

3. Make sure you know all of your family’s personal information before you arrive at the shop. You will need to know the height, weight, and shoe size of everyone in your family. If you have to figure out this information at the shop, it will slow down the whole process a great deal.

4. Understand that ski gear is not supposed to be comfortable. You are not renting slippers. Ski boots are supposed to fit extremely tight, and they may not be very comfortable. If your boots feel too comfortable, they are probably too big. Many customers get bogged down trying on 7 or 8 different pairs of boots looking for the “perfect fit” (i.e. a comfortable boot). Understanding that the right fit will be very tight and probably not very comfortable will save a lot of time and the needless trying on of lots of boots. However, ski boots aren’t supposed to hurt, either. If they do, you’ll want to try on a different pair.

5. If possible, buy boots and only rent skis. It is easy to rent a pair of brand new, top-ofthe-line skis that will make your time on the mountain a lot of fun. However, it is much harder to find a rental boot that fits your foot well. Most rental boots have been on hundreds of people’s feet before you wear them. This doesn’t make for much of a custom fit. If you buy your boots, you can get a pair that is custom fitted to your foot. This will make your ski experience much more enjoyable. It will also cut down on a lot of time in the rental shop, since the boot fitting process takes the most time.

6. Keep everything except your sock out of your boot. Many people try to shove all of their layers (ski underwear, ski pants, etc.) into their ski boots. This actually makes it harder for your boot to fit properly. You only want your sock in your boot. Everything else should go outside of your boot. Also, stick to one pair of socks. Wearing two pairs actually makes your feet colder, and your boot will not fit as well.

7. Don’t be afraid to talk with the rental techs. Most people who work in a ski shop are passionate and knowledgeable about the sport, and love to talk about it. Ask them questions about gear, snow conditions, the best places to ski on the mountain, and the best places to go in town when you get off the mountain. They will most likely give you some good advice that will make your vacation much more enjoyable.

As you can see, it is very easy to drastically improve your rental experience. It no longer has to be the hellish nightmare you’ve always remembered. Prepare to look forward to your time in the rental shop. It can help make your ski trip a vacation to remember.

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