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The internet and ski shops. Where do you buy your gear?

post #1 of 142
Thread Starter 
This was a drift topic over at another ski forum. How do you see ski shops competing against the internet (i.e. clearance houses selling on Ebay and such). How much do you buy in shops? On the internet? Where do you buy? Do you "shop" at B&M's and buy on line? With skis being predilled, who is mounting their own?

post #2 of 142
I purchased my first few pairs of skis from shops hoping I would get good service and maybe a price break since I am a gearwhore.

After getting the run around on various warranty issues and the manager of a store pretty much telling me I do not spend enough at his store to warrant a discount, I do not feel bad buying skis online. I don't believe that buying from some stores provide any benefit anymore. Customer service is dead.

I just bought two pairs of boots from a local store because they have great bootfitting. I also like the owners and they don't BS me.

I also just bought two pairs of skis from B&M stores that were clearing out last year's stock on Ebay.

I am going to have to go to a local store to get them mounted.

The store that I bought the boots for told me I can get my bindings adjusted for $15 since I bought boots from them.

The boot fitting place also has one of the pairs of skis I just bought online in their store for more then double what I paid.

I am kind of feeling bad about dropping off 6 pairs of skis, two of them brand new, to get mounted but I guess if it is OK with them it is OK with me.

If they want to charge me more to mount the new skis I will pay them whatever they ask.
post #3 of 142
I would never ever purchase boots online, you need boots fitted, and if you don't have the decency to pay the shop for there time and expertise you are doing nothing but making it more and more difficult for ski shops to compete. (plus taking a huge chance with yoiur boots buying online...)
Skis on the other hand,I don't have a problem with last years models being sold online, but they shoudn't undercut shops with this years models. You can still have a repore and a relationship with a ski shop. If you can not find one where you live I suggest going to ski country and starting a relationship there. I think ski shops should charge as much as they want within reason for mounting of outside purchases.
Support the shops as much as you can, after all where you gonna go when something breaks? I would rather go where someone knows my name and a history of my ski purchases.
just my two cents!
Oh yeah if you want a great shop for boot fitting: Stan and Dan's in No. Conway NH!
post #4 of 142
I have a great relationship with my local shop and we've talked quite a bit about this exact subject. They know the deal and understand.

I buy all my boots there, and most of my bindings but I'm about 50-50 on ski purchases. If I can get a super deal on-line, I pull the trigger, but I've also bought several pairs from them during off-season sale periods. They get all of my mounting work and they definitely have great service whether I've purchased an item there or not.
post #5 of 142
* Ditto, only buy boots in person.
* IMO it's not fair to use B&M sales service time to check something out and then go buy it on ebay.
* I did buy my last pair of skis on ebay - previous year's model - after a company demo day. Was encouraged to do so by the demo dealer who said that they were the same except for topsheet. Turned out not to be exactly true.
* Got previous skis from local shop. Bought snowboard from snowcountry shop.The deals I got from shops and ebay were comparable. I would opt for a shop when possible.
* I try to buy my clothing, accessories, etc. at the ski swap as it supports the local ski team.
post #6 of 142
I don't buy much skis (I should say 'we', with my wife and older boy)... as I usualy rent, most of the time from the same shop where I'm now well know and where I get a) 'special' rates b) good advice and service c) occasionaly last year demo skis at a bargain price (they change their 'fleet' every year for high-range skis).
I mostly buy my other stuff (clothes...) from various shops, but I live in a big city where I can find a large selection and good prices.
Boots are always bought in a ski-shop (see where I rent above...) and in a resort, the first runs are critical for a good and quick boot fitting.

I buy very few things on line anyway, I like to touch before I choose...
post #7 of 142
I buy a LOT locally, as my daughter is a racer. That being said, they give us some GREAT discounts. Unfortunately, the shop where I get her stuff doesn't stock K2's, which is the ski I am currently in love with. I've tried his "equivalents" and don't agree that I'll like them as much. Sorry. So, I went to the end of season and preseason sales of the guy who carries K2's. None of their prices CAME CLOSE to what I can get on the internet. I even told them that the 2006's where WAY WAY WAY over and he didn't believe me. So, I bought my new skis online. I'm gonna have my old bindings moved to the new skis, so I'll probably have to pay like $50 (I have this funny feeling the store where I get the racing stuff is not certified or something to mount those bindings on the K2's or I'd go there for the mounting -- I'm certainly going to ask them when the race gear comes in, but...). But I saved $175 (in spite of shipping costs) on getting the skis from Ebay, so it'll cover mounting fees.
post #8 of 142
I'd echo a lot of the sentiment here. There is a good shop not too far from me that did a great job boot fitting, and I don't think I'd ever buy boots from the internet (if you are going to go through the drill of trying on boots for a couple hours, it is pretty crappy to walk out and go buy something on the net that you tried on and liked).

I agree about skis, bindings, and gear though. I'll go wherever gives me the best price pretty much, and that's been through internet sales for my last two pairs (even though I did buy my RX8s from dawgcatching on here which is pretty much getting skis from a shop).

If a store is willing to give me great customer service and work with me on price, I'd be happy to buy from them. But, I found the places around here to be pretty inflexible overall (they seem to act like discounting a bit off MSRP is a great deal when I can get the same thing on the net and save $100 or more)...

post #9 of 142
Like everyone else here, I will always buy boots from a shop. To me any price is worth getting a properly fitted boot, especially given that they will last for a while.

I'm fortunate to have a source to buy my skis direct from a manufacturer at pretty good prices, I do get them mounted at my local store.

If I buy skis from other manufacturers, I do it in store - partly because I like to support my local stores (and they are good, worth supporting), and partly because I just like to gear shop there.
If I were to come across a great deal online on something I was already looking for, I would probably pick it up, but I can't say that it's come up so far.
post #10 of 142
Going against the grain here. I've been buying all my skis and bindings and my son's skis and bindings on the web and have saved a ton of money doing so. I haven't bought boots in several years, but have never needed fitting. I'll go to shops to try boots on and I will only buy them there if the price competes with what I can get that same boot for on the web.
post #11 of 142
I buy everything online. Boots, skis, goggles,gloves and jackets. I'll go to a ski shop,usually a large chain try everything on then go order online. Local shops get my tuning and adjusting needs.
I save 300-400 on skis alone. Why pay more?
post #12 of 142
i usually find that people who buy on ebay and other auction sites have never worked in a service industry and the vast majority are government workers and are only interested in saving money, but when their jobs are being outsourced or their is a labor dispute they are the first to justify their out of whack wages...think about it...
post #13 of 142
Some business have no issues with matching internet pricing (+shipping). I have found that many car tire shops will do this happily. As most of us know, ski retailers have it a bit more difficult as their business is not as steady as others. Ski retailers do almost all their business in 2-3 months. If its a bad snow year, their year is toast. We as consumer are stuck between a rock and hard place as it is necessary for us to have access to B&M stores for the things that everyone above has said - boots and mounting, so we need the B&Ms to be successful so that they can stay in business and keep providing those services.

Maybe its time for a new business model for B&M ski shops. What if they stock a full range of boots and focus their staffing on boot fitting and mounting/tuning. For skis the non-mountain shops can have some "display" models to show and "sell". They may also have demos, but no real ski inventory. If the consumer wants the ski, the ski distributors can be set up to overnight skis to the retailer so the retailer can have the ski mounted and ready to go the next day. This would drastically reduce the expenses and risks for the B&M.

Just some thoughts, I may look at this later and think, what the heck was I thinking, but my mom-in-law is in town, I am at home with some time off before my new job and its raining too much to get out on my bike.
post #14 of 142
Support the shops.
If it wasn't for them we wouldn't have anything to look at or try on or drool over.
Support the shops!
post #15 of 142
While I agree that you should buy boots at a store, I think it is more for the additional bootfitting you will receive if you need to return. That additional fitting cost could make a $100 savings from an Ebay purchase equal what it would be at a store anyway.

But, why would you feel obligated to buy a boot you like from a store just because they went in the back and got the box for you?

Does that mean that you cannot try on a boot at one store but then wait on your decision, then possibly buy it from another store which you may be at later or they have a lower price?

Does that mean I need to buy sneakers from the first store I tried them on at even if the other shoe store in the mall has them for cheaper?

Do I need to buy skis from a store where I flex tested a ski even if I can get it cheaper somewhere else?

I can understand if you make the shop shell fit, do a foot analysis, and other pre-fitting stuff. But it is BS to say that you have to buy a boot from a shop just because they helped you try a few on.

It's called shopping around people.

Whether it is at a store or online.

Any retail store that is a certified dealer must help you do a warranty claim even if you did not purchase the ski from them.

Do they need to bend over backwards and would you expect them to?


I used to be all for supporting the small business but not when a pair of skis and bindings is listed as $899 in their store and I can get them online for less then $400.
post #16 of 142
Waxman. Issues?
post #17 of 142
Originally Posted by waxman
i usually find that people who buy on ebay and other auction sites have never worked in a service industry and the vast majority are government workers and are only interested in saving money, but when their jobs are being outsourced or their is a labor dispute they are the first to justify their out of whack wages...think about it...
Are ski shops somehow are entitled to sales of new equipment regardless of what they charge? Why shouldn't they have to be competitve? When it comes to consumer demand, businesses have to meet the consumers needs, or lose the sale. Is loyalty owed to ski shops without being earned? I expect that the services (including that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from personal interaction) that are economically viable from ski shops will continue, those that aren't won't. I expect that there will continue to be demand for mounting (as long as skis need to be drilled for bindings), and for tuning/repairs. The price of these will likely increase as ski shops make less from retail sales.

Personally I buy used skis on eBay. Service industry? Well I am a care giver for disabled adults, and if there is a more "service" based occupation I'd like to hear it. Skis shops are great for mounting (my local shop is glad for the business), repair and tune, and I wouldn't buy new boots any other way, but for the most part the skis are priced way out of my range.
post #18 of 142
Originally Posted by waxman
i usually find that people who buy on ebay and other auction sites have never worked in a service industry and the vast majority are government workers and are only interested in saving money, but when their jobs are being outsourced or their is a labor dispute they are the first to justify their out of whack wages...think about it...
Talk about sweeping statements. I have been a waitress, a bartender, and retail clerk in my life. I've never worked for the government and I've definitely worked LOTS of years in big industry with my coworkers being outsourced left and right. BUT, I also know how much markups are, from working in retail. And if someone came within $75 of an internet price, I'd pay it. But, since I'm only making $9 an hour now, if it's $175, that means three days of work so that I can "support the locals". Sorry, not going to happen. I've got other uses for that money.
post #19 of 142
Thread Starter 
The only peice of gear I bought in a shop inthe past 5+ years were my Metrons. Quite frankly, I am glad I did, I was able to take advantage of the "Metron Challenge", if I bought them "on-line, I wouldn't have been ablw to return them for the proper size. It wouldn't have been too huge of an issue, because my son would have taken them and I would have just gotten a new pair for myself this season. Boots are the big "fit" issue here and understandable. I do my own thermoflex liners so again, I can deal "on-line" for them too.

Where shops are on an equal ground is with current year gear, I have noticed that there isn't htat huge of a difference here. But on closeouts and last years stuff, all bets are off. Shops are at a disadvantage here. Example: a shop will buy a current year binding that retails for $300.00 for $150.00, at the end of the season their stock is still in its inventory at $150.00. Clearing houses are buying them on "closeout" at the end of the season for $120.00. Granted shops can buy them for that too, but they still have 5 pair left, so why do they want to carry more over the summer? So the clearing houses are buying htem for 20% less and not carrying them in inventory for the whole season. This is one of the ereas that the Ebay'ers have an advantage as compared to a B&M.
post #20 of 142
This is what I got online and no local B&M could come close to matching it:

Last Year's Neox - $100
Last Year's SL9 - $280
Last Years ST7 with Binding - $280

As much as I would like to support my local shops, I am not going to pay top dollar because they did not move their inventory from a previous season.

The two places that I just bought my skis from online are B&M places in the midwest. They both gave me great customer service by answering my questions on the phone and through email both before and after my bids were over.

So I am supporting the small businesses.

Just somewhere else.
post #21 of 142
My $.02
NO ONE is losing money when they sell you something...If anyone says they are......... they are lying.....PERIOD.

I have no loyalty to shops......Where is their loyalty to the consumer?? Giving 10% off on something that is marked up 300%....HA!!

If something breaks...well they don't replace much for free....and many will only reliquish responsibility and give you a manufacturers phone number.

If someone is selling goods cheaper on-line .....Then that means it can be sold for less in the shop. Storefront costs not withstanding.
Plus, there is nothing keeping the local shops from having an internet wholesale business.

Businesses exist to make money...and on the rare occassion that a local shop will go the 'extra mile' is only their way of hedging their bets for the long term bottom line!

aahh...I feel better now..
post #22 of 142
Probably repeating a lot of whats been said already, but here's my take.

last season I finally decided to pruchase new equipment. A store had a going out of business sale with crazy discounts on equipment. I ended up buying a a pair of Atomic SX9s with 412 race binding for like 320 or something crazy with that.

I then went to a "real" local ski shop and worked with a fitter there who was very nice and helped me a lot to find the right pair of boots. I then mounted the new stuff. A month later I bought a used pair of Line skis from a member on this board, and the bindings on ebay. I took it right back to the same shop as before for the mounting.

This is the same situation as my mountain bike, I bought a new expensive bike online, but took it to a store where I have a relationship with the bike tech there to assemble. I then bought a bunch of accessories from him.

I agree it is hard for the local stores to compete with price on hard goods whether it be skis, bikes whatever). For most of them, they just don't do the volume as these online places so they don't get as large a discount from the distributors. Where they can make their money though is on the service. That you can't buy from the internet.
post #23 of 142

don't mean to start an argument

i bought a pair of AC4's from "Canyons" last month. go the skis next day, awesome price, great response times. nice guy too. may ski with him this winter too. 9990 baby, all the broken legs you want!

i've bought from Coloradoskishop.com , reliableracing.comlast two years, no problems.

all good pricing, all delivered quick.

i live near Cupolos. yeah, yeah, yeah; i know i'm starting on this one.
i have to say, they have great prices, an awesome return policy, and were timely, (they delivered a pair of boots from the manufacturer to the area i was skiing within 48 hrs. because i broke 'em) .

i would definately do business with them again.
post #24 of 142
I have bought boots on Ebay just last month, now I knew exactly what I needed, got the exact model and size as the boot I have now, brand new, I don't care that it is an 03 model. I have to do some work on them, I have wide feet, but shops can't seem to do it right for me so I do it myself. It's amazing what a 3" PVC electrical pipe heating blanket will do for you!. I have been buying all my skis on line the last 4 years, Ebay especially but a few other on line retailers as well. I like the good deals and bidding on Ebay is my relaxation. I ski to break skis and I am not paying over $200.00 for anything new that I know I'm going to go out and destroy. As others have said I don't feel the need to support the local stores when they give 10% off after marking up 300-400%.
post #25 of 142
I buy skis and boots and gloves at the store near my mountain (STOWE). for other stuff I go to www.SteepAndCheap.com or www.Backcountryoutlet.com
post #26 of 142
Local shops need to get into the internet. They should buy stuff off the internet, and have a used or last years section in their store. They could make a little on it, and still offer all the locals good deals.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
post #27 of 142
Originally Posted by SkiStarr90
I buy skis and boots and gloves at the store near my mountain (STOWE). for other stuff I go to www.SteepAndCheap.com or www.Backcountryoutlet.com
I thought you didn't have skis, just snowblades.
post #28 of 142
Originally Posted by Snowbowler
I ski to break skis ...
This is a new one on me. Is this like bands breaking their guitars????
post #29 of 142
What does it mean "support local shop"? Does it mean that I need to take my hard enough earned money and just go and give the local shop, lets say $100 every year? Why? And which shop - ski shop, grocery shop, book shop or toy one? All of them? And what is local - neighbourhood, town, state, country (speaking of the country, where are you local shop supporters skiing Atomic, Fischer, Volkl (oh, it is me), Stockli, Elan ect...).

Or does it mean that if I have a choice where to buy for aproximately (key word) the SAME price on internet or in a local shop I chose the local shop? Aproximately is a tricky one - for someone +/-$10 on $1000 is the same for some +/-$500 on $1000 is about the same. I do my best to support "local" when it comes to chose between the same price ;-) And sometimes you can not beat local discounts - how about Volkl Superspeed skied about 10 days (4 of which were mine) thru the season for $300 including $100 rebate and $50 worth certificate for a full tuning?

post #30 of 142
I can't see what the issue is with shops vs online. Both are shops, of different sorts. When you walk into a shop, they have a great chance to sell you something, so if you choose to patronise an online shop, where's the unfairness in that? There are advantages and disadvantages in using both, but shops have a great advantage in that they have big window displays, and you can touch the goods, and even take them away with you immediately. If they are not motivating people to buy, then the problem is there, with them. Complaining about competition from online sellers is not really valid.

I buy all my thermals online. They are just so much cheaper than shops. Clothing, I often buy from shops, as I want to try it on first. Ditto footwear. Skis, it depends. Great prices online vs painfulness in getting them shipped. Swings and roundabouts.
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