The one thing everyone knows about skiing is that it ain't cheap. But that doesn't mean you have to pay full retail prices for your ski clothes. Bargains are everywhere; you just have to know where--and when--to find them. And to be clear: by "cheap" we mean inexpensive, not poor quality. You don't want to spend your valuable ski days being wet, cold and uncomfortable. The secret to finding great deals on ski clothing is patience. If you can wait until the end of the season or even summer, you're sure to find last year's equipment at drastically reduced prices.
Best Places to Find Cheap Ski Clothes
Almost any retailer that sells ski clothing will have a blowout sale once or twice a year. Ski wear is highly seasonal merchandise, so stores have to move it all out when it's time for the next season's activities.
- Look for local swaps. Ski shops and outdoor equipment retailers, and sometimes communities, host annual ski swaps. A true swap is when customers (not just the store) sell their own stuff at garage-sale prices. Get there early for the best pickings. If you search online, you can also find web-based swaps, like at EpicSki.com.
- Commit to a major sale event. If you live in a ski-centric area, you've probably heard ads for huge sales at local ski equipment outlets. These are the kinds of salespeople camp out for. Yes, the crowds can be hellish, but the deals are heavenly. Try to hit the sale as early as possible, preferably during work hours. You won't be alone, but you'll beat the evening and weekend rush hours.
- Scour local "discount designer" stores. Did you know that stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Loehmann's, Nordstrom Rack, and Ross offer brand-name athletic gear at super-discounted prices? During the fall, check out your local store for winter sports gear. There's a good chance you'll find high-quality ski jackets, pants and even gloves and gaiters for cheap.
- Shop rental dealers. Ski rental shops sell old boots and other equipment for cheap, usually during annual or semi-annual sales. The rental stuff can be pretty beat-up, but large dealers often carry new ski clothes, too, and they have to move it out after the season, just like everyone else.
- Check out online marketplaces. Amazon.com can be a great source for discounts, and Overstock.com offers good deals on brand-name ski clothing for both adults and children. At other online outlets, like 6pm.com, you can sometimes find ski accessories (like high-quality ski socks, for example) and kids' ski clothing on sale, too.
- Search online ski outlets. Many online snow sports retailers will sell last season's goods at clearance prices. Some websites are even dedicated to outlet retail. Check out Evo.com's outlet, The House's clearance store, Peter Glenn's sale rack and also, Sierra Trading Post which offers savings of 35-70% each day.
Best Time to Find Cheap Ski Clothes
A good time to shop general outdoor retailers, such as LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, and the like, is during after-Christmas sales. They start to rotate out of winter supplies sooner than the ski shops do. Deals at ski-specific stores come later, near the end of the ski season. Shops in ski towns have big sales before they close down for "mud season," shortly after the mountain closes to skiing. Big blowout sales at ski outlets tend to hit in early fall. That's also when ski swaps usually happen.
Consider Renting Ski Clothes
Some ski resorts and ski shops offer clothing rental so you don't have to worry about bringing your own. If you're planning a ski vacation, search your resort's website and the surrounding ski stores to see if renting is an option. Mountain Threads is a company in Colorado that offers ski clothing and gear for rent at reasonable prices.