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Ski swaps in the SF Bay Area?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi

 

After two years of skiing, my kids outgrew the basic rentals. We've been doing season rentals which is by FAR the best way to start, but the skis are at this point holding them back (they ski 15 to 20 days a season, for recreation). The shop we normally use (sports basement) has a really steep price bump if you want anything but the basic, so it feels like buying/selling used gear might be better.

 

Of course, I'm not the first one to go through this :) I looked for older info on the subject of buying/selling skis for kids who are constantly growing: here, here, here and there. It seems like getting the skis will be much easier (and less important) than the boots. 

 

Long story short, I would like buy everything early on (in the next couple month), so we can use as much as possible of the season. I am sure there are some ski swaps in North Tahoe, but that's a 3.5 hours trip for SF. I would be happy to mantain a list of ski swaps in the SF bay area for 2016. So far, I only found this one:

 

 

I would love to hear if you are aware of other swaps in the area. 

 

Regarding boots, I wonder if it's better to buy in a ski shop in North Tahoe where I ski, since kids can grow a size during the ski season, and hopefully they'll let you exchange through the season. Or maybe there is a good place to rent decent boots over there? . Mmm, @Trekchick , @KingGrump, @alexzn, you must know a good place, I'm sure :) 

 

Many thanks for any help!

Mendieta

 

(Note: I updated some info I missed in the original post)


Edited by mendieta - 8/15/16 at 6:30pm
post #2 of 19
My kids are on the ski team, do they probably put a bit more wear on their equipment than an average Bay area skiing kid (they get probably quite a bit more days on snow). I know Tahoe Daves does season rentals, that maybe a good way for you to go. Kids used gear tend to be in pretty good shape, so I would watch this forum and also Craigslist. If you go at least 10 days a season, the only way you should rent is for the season. Day rentals a crappy and get very expensive in a hurry. A good pair of well used junior racing boots would be still better than the rentals. for skis: I'd just look for used gear on Craigslist, especially the team level skis, kids outgrow them a lot faster than they kill them (at least good quality woodcore skis).

What age are your kids? I or (@Xela) may have some used gear in the garage. You never know.
post #3 of 19

Most established ski shops have used kids gear available for sale.   This is more of if you want good equipment for your kids yet are growing.  

If they are still just learning, then go with season lease.

If you want to be in the bay, sportsbasement also has kids season lease. northlake tahoe dave.

 

The juniors trade-in and used skis available for sale guarentee you can trade back in, comes out in effect like a season lease except without as much choice in the "fleet".

 

Ski swap is more consignment and more of you better know what you're looking for and buyer beware. 

 

You can try looking at 

Any mountain (owned by vail by the way)

-Helm (san mateo)
-helm san jose (not related san mateo even though its the same name)

-sports basement

-mel cotton?  I think I drove past during a skiswap and they had stuff out in the parking lot.

 

I suggest you just put a pin in it for now, and wait at least until after labor day.  It's not even the end of "summer" yet so you will waste your time googling and not find anything cause the schedules and calendars aren't even decided yet.

post #4 of 19

Sorry I'm of no help of here in regard to local sources.

I'm just a vagabond from NYC who migrate to the western part of the North American continent every winter looking for a new home.

 

Anyway, my son is a senior in college come September so my memories on kids stuff is rather vague. The only things I remember is don't get boots too big. It's better to switch out mid season than have them swimming in boots that they can grow into. The other thing is they do have a preference for skis and how they perform. So listen to them in that respect so they can have more fun.

 

Keep it fun.        

post #5 of 19

Any Mountain has an excellent junior trade program.

 

http://www.anymountain.net/services/junior-trade-program/

 

You can go with new equipment and there is a fairly good selection.  Or you can go with used and save more money.  If you want used equipment, you should go early in the season - like Sept-ish.  Good stuff get picked over very quickly.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Good points, @alexzn !

 

Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

I know Tahoe Daves does season rentals, that maybe a good way for you to go. Kids used gear tend to be in pretty good shape, so I would watch this forum and also Craigslist. If you go at least 10 days a season, the only way you should rent is for the season. Day rentals a crappy and get very expensive in a hurry. A good pair of well used junior racing boots would be still better than the rentals.

 

I should have been more clear in the OP, I'll add some more info. But yes, we do season rentals each season. The problem is that the basic rentals were ok to get started, but are now holding the kids back. And the next level (in sports basement) was really pricey (I dont remember the figure, but it's probably more expensive than just buying the stuff brand new, especially for the younger one.

 

But, for boots, I totally agree with @KingGrump : rentals are much better because you want a good fit, and it's better to exchange them mid way through the season, if needed. 

 

My kids are going to be just 10 (the girl), and 14 and 1/2 (the boy). They are not into racing, but they are putting more days than the average bay area kid (15 to 20 days a season). 

 

Loong story short: a good shop where I can get reasonably priced, 'premium' season rentals (next level above the basic), would be best. I got a few suggestions already from you, @Galun and @raytseng

 

I'll take a look and revert, thanks much!

 

post #7 of 19
There is no such thing as premium season rentals. At their age and the number of days they ski, they should be on good gear. I'd bite the bullet and buy brand new boots in Tahoe to ensure good fit, especially for the 14y/o. At this age they are big and strong enough for the fit and flex to make a big difference. In my experience folks at places like any mountain of rei usually know squat about ski boots and certainly cannot fit them. Helm is OK, although much inferior to a good Tahoe shop. I heard good things about cali ski company in Berkeley.
post #8 of 19

Mendieta, I totally agree with Alex on getting good equipment for your kids.

 

I am not familiar with the quality of the rental equipment available in the Tahoe area. However, I am generally leery of rental equipment. The only time my son had rental equipment was during his first season. He was two. He skied 22 days that season. We rounded up his age to get him into ski school which accepted kids three and older. I know, we are bad people. :D

 

To minimize the in season growth issue, we always deferred his equipment purchase until the first week of December when we start our ski season. We work with a very good local boot fitter in VT for his boots. We would get him a new pair of ski at the same time. At the end of the season we would have the ski shop sell his used equipment on consignment. We put whatever money we get toward his next season’s purchases. It has worked out pretty well. We only had to change out his boots in mid-season once. He usually ski about 45 - 50 days per season.  

 

Another thing to consider is see if you can get them into a seasonal program. Doesn’t have to be a race program. An all mountain type free skiing will be fine. They will learn proper technique and tactics while having fun with their peers. It’ll give them a solid foundation to build on. It will also give you a chance to work on your own skiing.   

 

With the right equipment, proper instructions and a bit of peer pressure, they can progress rapidly. My proudest day in skiing was when my son, Andrew, blew past me and forever left me in his dust.

 

Andrew (13 years old) spring skiing in Mineral Basin at Snowbird. My proudest day.

 

 

Kids are precious. They grow up so fast so savor the time with them and don't blink. 

 

Have fun and keep it fun. 

post #9 of 19
If you can go to Tahoe, starthaus in truckee has a ski swap during Labor Day weekend. High quality prior season race skis for cheap. They are also imo one of the best boot fitters in the region.

I agree that at 14.5 and 10, they will benefit from a good boot fitter.

If you want to stay in the Bay Area, California ski company in Berkeley are good boot fitters. Helm in San Mateo is also good.

Any mountain - it depends on the bootfitter. Look for Rob at redwood city store. Ask for him, he is good. The advantage with any mountain is that if you buy new, you get guaranteed 50% credit next season on trade in, so you don't really have to worry about selling your stuff (I consider getting 50% back on new equipment purchase as pretty good). I did that for my kids for a couple years before they joined a race team and started getting equipment with them. They have a good selection of good junior equipment. From memory they had atomic multi event skis and blizzard all mountain skis in junior sizes. They often have coupons too, I think $100 off $500.

Spend money on the boots with a good fitter. Save money on the skis. Used is fine. Look for one with wood core and decent edge and it should be good for a while.

Go early in the season when the stores still have plenty of inventory in every size. That way you will probably get the best honest opinion / fit, instead of what's available in your size.
Edited by Galun - 8/15/16 at 11:42pm
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post

.My proudest day in skiing was when my son, Andrew, blew past me and forever left me in his dust.

Be honest, a little sad too, no? smile.gif

I always knew it would happen at some point, and yes I was proud when it happened, but I was also like damnit smile.gif
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Galun View Post

Be honest, a little sad too, no? smile.gif

I always knew it would happen at some point, and yes I was proud when it happened, but I was also like damnit smile.gif

 

No, not a little sad - a lot sad. It's tough to hand over the reign. Thought I had a couple more seasons. :nono:

 

However, it's the natural progression of life. :) 


Edited by KingGrump - 8/16/16 at 11:41am
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the feedback. I am looking into these options. I think you are all right about buying new boots (I wonder if used shells with custom new liners would be a good option)   I am a bit torn: if I buy boots early on, there will be a wider selection and better prices, but higher chances that they outgrow them! I should probably look for a good deal on skis in the meantime, though. I still see, even new stuff from older seasons, on clearance! When the sun is scorching the earth ... go buy skis!

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mendieta View Post

Thank you all for the feedback. I am looking into these options. I think you are all right about buying new boots (I wonder if used shells with custom new liners would be a good option)   I am a bit torn: if I buy boots early on, there will be a wider selection and better prices, but higher chances that they outgrow them! I should probably look for a good deal on skis in the meantime, though. I still see, even new stuff from older seasons, on clearance! When the sun is scorching the earth ... go buy skis!

Best time to buy boots is early November when the manufacturers have shipped their inventory and the shops are not that busy

Also any reputable shop should be able to punch/ stretch boots to make it to the end of the season if they get too tight
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by near nyquist View Post


Best time to buy boots is early November when the manufacturers have shipped their inventory and the shops are not that busy

Also any reputable shop should be able to punch/ stretch boots to make it to the end of the season if they get too tight

 

Good to know, thanks a bunch ! (and I finally got to know what the heck punching boots means :))

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post

 

Andrew (13 years old) spring skiing in Mineral Basin at Snowbird. My proudest day.

 

Amazing photo, how could you not be so proud. Great technique, too. How did you get that pic? With a cellphone? Or more of a real camera?

post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mendieta View Post

 

Amazing photo, how could you not be so proud. Great technique, too. How did you get that pic? With a cellphone? Or more of a real camera?

 

On mountain pro photographer shooting at random.   

post #17 of 19
In my experience kids never outgrow a boot in a season. The packing liner takes care of the growing foot.

+1 on what KingGrump said about the kids programs, work a lot better than you teaching them. I'm still holding my own against tem most of the time, but definitely starting to hit my limits. I still managed to beat my younger kid on the race course last year at the end of the season, but my older kid beats me off-piste if she goes competion pace (it's pretty cool, it feels like she turns on afterburners).
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by alexzn View Post

In my experience kids never outgrow a boot in a season. The packing liner takes care of the growing foot.

+1 on what KingGrump said about the kids programs, work a lot better than you teaching them. I'm still holding my own against tem most of the time, but definitely starting to hit my limits. I still managed to beat my younger kid on the race course last year at the end of the season, but my older kid beats me off-piste if she goes competion pace (it's pretty cool, it feels like she turns on afterburners).

All true.  Multi-day coaching programs for sure if you want them to be good, complete and better then you are.

 

For equipment, I'd buy boots at a quality shop in the fall (even better if you find a pre-season sale).  You will get a full season out of quality boots in virtually all cases (the low likelihood that a kid outgrows a boot in a month or two is not something you should optimize for).  And you can pass them down.  New boots for your 10 year old won't be terribly expensive.  Boots for a 14 year old might be a bit more adult-like in price depending on size.  I have one kid who grows pretty fast and he gets a single season out of his boots.  It usually works out that he can pass down to his brother who gets at least another season.  But if it doesn't work out, I just sell them back for whatever I get and it is just the cost of being a ski-parent.

 

Skis are skis.  Lots of fine ones to chose from.  Just get an appropriate size and a model aimed at the kids' ability, terrain and aspirations.  Now is a good time to purchase skis if you find deals.  If your kids are skiing 15-20 days per season, they are long overdue for quality equipment and will you will see a difference in their ability and confidence level right away.  I've been through this with my kids and all of the families we ski with, and the difference is profound when you make the jump from rentals (which have their place in the universe. . . just not for 20 day per season Tahoe skiers who want to improve their skills). 

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks, @alexzn and @LewyM

 

We've been doing Mt Rose, which opens early and closes late due to the high altitude. Last year it's been open Nov-Dec-Jan-Feb-March AND April! We also use do a ski trip to Deer Valley for spring-break. But yes, you are right.

 

In terms of outgrowing boots, my son did once (when he was 12), but his feet grew earlier than he did. He's about 5 inches shorter than me, but just a half a shoe slze smaller than me. Having said that, it's not likely to happen again, I think, to either. And I like the idea of punching out. All things said, everyone seems on the same page. 

 

Frankly, skiing is not a cheap sport anyways, and buying vs renting will be a small incremental change to the "cost of a season", with much appreciated benefits,

 

Thank you so much! I'll embark into the effort!

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