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Stormy Weather for Ski Makers

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I saw this article on Reuters and thought it may be of interest to the Bears.

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSTRE51O01S20090225

post #2 of 11

Interesting. We actually do about 3-3500 seasonal leases and another couple thousand daily rentals a season, that pays our bills. 

post #3 of 11

the article states that skis are costing about 2-3X's what boots are costing. my experience is that they cost about the same (skis sold flat).  Maybe the ski industry should re-think ski/binding systems, as they raise the cost of the investment, and because I no like it.

post #4 of 11

Quote:

Growth in rentals is eating into ski makers' sales and giving more power to ski-hire shops that can squeeze small wholesale prices out of their suppliers.

 

"The rental market is killing ski makers and the trend is showing no sign of abating," said Eric Vaesa, head of the Ski Republic rental shop in the Alpine French resort of Val d'Isere.

Many of us have found rentals to be cheap, low quality skis that perform poorly due to shoddy maintenance and setup.  Demo skis are a bit better, but anyone skiing more than 5 days per season is better off with their own gear.  Could any of the increased interest in rentals be a result of airlines charging oversize and excess baggage fees?

post #5 of 11

I was thinking of the airline baggage charges too, Cirque but you beat me to it.  The same with golf equipment.  Whenever I traveled south, I would take my own clubs for a day or two of golf but not anymore.  I think the same is true for many people with skis.  It gets expensive to transport them plus it's a bit of a hassle dealing with them at airports, in rental cars, and in hotels.  Using demos gives people the opportunity to try different stuff and to switch out, depending on conditions.  I think rental is likely going to continue as a bigger part of the pie.  Boots will likely stay okay since everyone generally wants their own boots to ski in.

post #6 of 11

I've been saying for a few years now (about 5), i miss the days when the manufacturers were on the hill most weekends with their demo skis.  Each weekend may have been a different mfg, or couple of them, but in the 80's and 90's it seemed almost any time I went to the hill it was the exception, to not have demo's there from a manufacturer's tent.  That is what sold me every pair of skis I ever bought.  Leaving a license, trying them out and listening to the hype.  I always decided on next  years ski this way.  I miss that opporutunity now, and I'm always worried that what I'm buying is a crap shoot based on reviews and hope I like it.  Sometimes i win, sometimes I lose.  If they were back on the hill, i think they'd sell more skis.  The hills is where there skiers are.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

Demo skis are a bit better, but anyone skiing more than 5 days per season is better off with their own gear.  Could any of the increased interest in rentals be a result of airlines charging oversize and excess baggage fees?

 

I think the article is mostly concerning people who fly into European resorts, ski for one week or two, then go home and don't ski for a year.     Who's going to bother owning skis and paying for tuning, waxing and transport  when that is the pattern?  Excess and oversize and overweight baggage fees are news only on this side of the water.

 

 

 

Not the US context at all; in fact US sales are possibly a saving anomaly.

post #8 of 11

If I only skied one or two weeks a year, I would probably rent a high end rental also. First, you can rent the latest technology, switch for conditions du jour and don't have to carry them, maintain them or store them. Especially with the price of skis these days.

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post

 

Quote:

Growth in rentals is eating into ski makers' sales and giving more power to ski-hire shops that can squeeze small wholesale prices out of their suppliers.

 

"The rental market is killing ski makers and the trend is showing no sign of abating," said Eric Vaesa, head of the Ski Republic rental shop in the Alpine French resort of Val d'Isere.

Many of us have found rentals to be cheap, low quality skis that perform poorly due to shoddy maintenance and setup.  Demo skis are a bit better, but anyone skiing more than 5 days per season is better off with their own gear.  Could any of the increased interest in rentals be a result of airlines charging oversize and excess baggage fees?

 

Well, not in places I've been skiing. In the Dolomites shops offer top of the line skis (up to  GS-like skis, which is still the preferred everyday type of ski here) In Made, or better, on the way up, there's a shop which offers un to downhill skis for rent (for special pourposes, like...racing).

My mother friends has been renting skis for the past 4 season. My mother was thinking of doing the same before busting her knee (had she done it earlier...would have happened anyway, she was alone - I mean without me looking after her- and got careless).

My cousin has done the same for the past couple of seasons as well.

When? On our yearly week long trip to the dolomites, for example. He could try a different ski each day, for six days, for a very reasonable price.

One of my colleagues is doing the same, last year rented a pair of Atomic GS skis (current year model).

 

Let's see, a pair of Rossignol SL skis for half a day (rented for my son two sundays ago) boots and helmet...16,5€ (times 6 = 99€ a week) . Price of the same ski in a shop? Variable but I'd say it ranges 350-500 € (I'll try and check) . Then one has to add boots and helmet. Maintenance cost for own skis and so on (did I mentioned the cost of a ski rack?)

 

Naturally, I agree, if one is to ski more than a week (5-6 days) per season, then is better to get him/herself an own pair of skis. Like, at home to keep the old equipment and use it for the occasional daily ski trips, then for longer ski trips, rent (this will also unburden people from the hassle to carry their own skis on a ski rack, which has to be bought etc).

 

But I believe that there's a place for both, it's some ten years that rentals shop are offering top-of-the-line skis for rent, but people who really logs in a lot of ski-days will still prefer to own their own...

 

As for myself, I can't (probably it's an ingrained "cultural" behavior) think of myself not owning at least a pair of skis. For this reason I plan to rebuilt my sons equipment starting with what I deem essential (clothes aside) boots and helmet. Skis will follow suit later on (the two wrecks I bought at a gear swap last fall aren't good for anything but the fireplace, had they been made of wood only)

This to try and give them a feeling of "identity".

 

 

 

post #10 of 11

I've found most major ski areas, where you would vacation for a weekend or so have shops nearby that offer quality rental gear that's cheaper to rent than the lower-quality rentals at the ski hill.  That's definitely true for Tremblant, which has perfected the art of ski extortionism.  If I was flying to a destination, I'd definitely rent to spare myself the hassel and cost of travelling with skis.

 

I noticed some other shops offer good deals on season-long rentals...I think locally, it's a bit over $100 for a season, which isn't really a bad deal if you're tight for cash or want to always ski on new gear - it's a bit like leasing a car I imagine... you'll pay more overall, but will always never have skis more than 2-3 seasons old.

 

Interestingly, I was speaking with a ski rep. at a demo day yesterday, and he was saying that teh price of skis is set to go up at the start of next season... any truth to that?

post #11 of 11

Also, the number of major ski makers is shrinking.

 

Amersports, a Finnish sports equipment company owns Salomon & Atomic.

Tecnica of Italy has Nordica and Blizzard.

Macquarie, an Australian investment outfit owns Rossignol, Dynastar, Lange

Fischer is still family owned.

Head is independent.

Jarden, a U.S. consumer products company owns K2, Volkl, Marker

Skimar (Elan) is independent

 

Plus several small brands where the skis are either made under contract by one of the big makers (e. g. Palmer made by Head) or made independently.

 

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