Have you booked your ski holiday? If you have, then be sure to hire your skis and ski boots in advance, too. Of course, you may already have your own kit. But if you don’t, and you leave the business of ski equipment hire until your first day in the resort, you’re going to miss out on discounts of 20-50%. These discounts even apply to peak weeks.
You’ll find offers at Ski Republic, Intersport and Skiset – all of which operate networks of rental centres across the Alps. Stand-alone shops are at it, too – including Brit-friendly Snowberry in Val d’Isere, which offers advance-booking discounts. Ski Service in Verbier offers the opportunity of booking your equipment hire online before you go.
So, what’s the catch? Well, there is one. Online, ski hire companies offer skis and boots across a range of ability and quality levels, at different prices – from beginner skis to fat freeride models and super-whippy race skis. But you can’t always specify a particular make or model. So if you’ve set your heart on a pair of Rossignol carving skis, and they only have K2s and Salomons, too bad: although you can bring a pair of skis back you don’t like and swap them for something else in the available stock.
One final caveat. These ski hire companies operate big networks of rental centres across the Alps – often with several shops in the same resort. So make damn sure you know where both your accommodation and the rental centre is before you book. You don’t want to add a taxi fare to the cost of your ski hire, because you’ve booked it from somewhere on the other side of town. (The official ski resort websites usually contain good interactive maps to help you master their layout.)
Read our Good Ski and Ski Boot Rental Guide too – for tips on how to get a good boot fitting in your ski hire shop.