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Are airlines helping the performance rental/demo business?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I am seriously thinking about whittling my quiver down to just one pair eek.gif of skis (East Coast) and renting/demoing for all trips that require flying. Part of this is my effort to simplify my life and "minimal-ize". The Gearwhore is a mighty demon.

 

Demoing for the week wouldn't cost much more than baggage fees. If you factor the cost to own I believe it would be cheaper and you have a quiver waiting at the shop.

 

I'm wondering if the baggage fee have boosted performance rentals/demos and if shops in general 1) have a good selection available 2) have been able to keep up with demand if the rentals have surged 3) will I be able to get powder skis on a powder day (a problem in the past)?

 

post #2 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post

I am seriously thinking about whittling my quiver down to just one pair eek.gif of skis (East Coast) and renting/demoing for all trips that require flying. Part of this is my effort to simplify my life and "minimal-ize". The Gearwhore is a mighty demon.

 

Demoing for the week wouldn't cost much more than baggage fees. If you factor the cost to own I believe it would be cheaper and you have a quiver waiting at the shop.

 

I'm wondering if the baggage fee have boosted performance rentals/demos and if shops in general 1) have a good selection available 2) have been able to keep up with demand if the rentals have surged 3) will I be able to get powder skis on a powder day (a problem in the past)?

 


I don't know much about on hill ski shops. But I think this basicly just incentivizes a few things for those who do own:

 

1. Longer trips.

2. For short trips, its great if you have friends / relatives / seasonal locker to stash their gear at or near the mountain. 

 

My wife and I both have old powder skis about with demos for friends / relatives to borrow if they want.

 

$.02

post #3 of 27

Got to think the baggage fees have had this effect. Would you apply $40 a checked ski bag per leg of trip 2x $40= $80 round trip?

 

Performance demo is $40 a day ski 5 days = $200

 

Difference of $120 representing additional cost of demoing for the 5 day period. minus depreciation of the new ski you bought for the year, Big unknown value.

 

IMHO I believe the checked baggage fees provide some incentive to demo and helps make the justification to do so. But I still think its still less expensive to lug your own gear.  Really hate this checked bag hustle the airlines are running. Flying Southwest from here on out.

 

 

Lat year I had a cheap Airtran ticket to Denver from Pitt for like $200 with tax, but they wacked me for an additional $35 or $40 on my ski bag packed with my clothes beause it exceeded their bag dimensions (it weighed in under 50 lbs ). When all the bag charges were added in, it wasn't the great deal it appeared to be.

post #4 of 27
Thread Starter 

Not sure I get what you saying Tromano? That wouldn't work when traveling to different resorts.

 

Driving from PA to CO or Utah isn't an option due to time constraints, family and work. Believe me I would be all over that.

post #5 of 27
Thread Starter 


I paid $50 each way last year.

 

I have seen perf. demos for under $140 for 5-6 days. I think I paid just around $100 for 6 days in Canada (exchange rate bonus) and the shop I wentto  let me browse their backroom. Selection was plentiful!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by roundturns View Post

Got to think the baggage fees have had this effect. Would you apply $40 a checked ski bag per leg of trip 2x $40= $80 round trip?

 

Performance demo is $40 a day ski 5 days = $200

 

Difference of $120 representing additional cost of demoing for the 5 day period. minus depreciation of the new ski you bought for the year, Big unknown value.

 

IMHO I believe the checked baggage fees provide some incentive to demo and helps make the justification to do so. But I still think its still less expensive to lug your own gear.  Really hate this checked bag hustle the airlines are running. Flying Southwest from here on out.

 

 

Lat year I had a cheap Airtran ticket to Denver from Pitt for like $200 with tax, but they wacked me for an additional $35 or $40 on my ski bag packed with my clothes beause it exceeded their bag dimensions (it weighed in under 50 lbs ). When all the bag charges were added in, it wasn't the great deal it appeared to be.

post #6 of 27

Quote:

Originally Posted by MattL View Post

Not sure I get what you saying Tromano? That wouldn't work when traveling to different resorts.

 

Driving from PA to CO or Utah isn't an option due to time constraints, family and work. Believe me I would be all over that.


I edited my post a bit.

 

There are some people who could either fly or drive to their destination (midwest to CO, West coast to Tahoe or UT) ... this incentivizes driving for them. You being in PA is a different story.

 

 

 

post #7 of 27

We had a lot of customers back east that traveled west and didn't own skis, 1. because of the way gear is evolving and the speed of it and 2. the airline fees. Both make sense in certain situations. 

post #8 of 27

Due to baggage fees, I have and plan to continue to demo/rent skis when going on a trip.  Especially out West as I have one set of skis, since I only take one trip a year and the rest of the time I'm skiing on the East Coast.  With the cost of the fees the airline charges, plus possibly not having the right skis for conditions, especially out West, I think I would still rent/demo even if there were no fees for baggage.

post #9 of 27

I look at this totally differently than you folks. If I'm spending well over 1K on a week's ski trip, including housing, flight, food, and lifts, an extra $70 for using my skis, with my bindings and my knowledge about how they'll perform when I need them, is...(wait for it)...trivial. After all, this is a ski trip, where the focus is on, ah, using skis on snow. We spend waaay too many hours here debating about the relative merits of specific lengths and shapes of specific models. We agonize over which ski to buy and love. Then we say, "Oh, never mind, I'll rent something different?" th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

But then, I may be the only one here who has a permanently screwed up body from rental bindings that didn't feel like letting go, so my knees did instead. YMMV. 

post #10 of 27
Thread Starter 

Phil is the shop gearing up to do more demos, have a good selection and view it as a growing aspect of the business? One of my main questions is can this method satisfy avid skiers like many here on Epic.

 

If this trend continues I see more Mid Atlantic ski shops struggling to stay afloat in the future.

post #11 of 27
Thread Starter 


No I understand completely and this is one of my concerns (having the "right" equipment) but if shops are catering to this now it would have advantages. It could actaully be better doing the demo thing (huge quiver, plus convenience, plus lower cost). Kind of like my wine cellar being at the wine store and not in my house LOL.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I look at this totally differently than you folks. If I'm spending well over 1K on a week's ski trip, including housing, flight, food, and lifts, an extra $70 for using my skis, with my bindings and my knowledge about how they'll perform when I need them, is...(wait for it)...trivial. After all, this is a ski trip, where the focus is on, ah, using skis on snow. But then, I may be the only one here who has a permanently screwed up body from rental bindings that didn't feel like letting go, so my knees did instead. YMMV. th_dunno-1[1].gif

post #12 of 27

^^^ This is true. Wish it were more true. If I were to rent skis at Start Haus, or SkierShop, or Dawg's place or any similarly secure shop, I'd know that my knees were gonna be protected and the ski would be appropriate to the mission, with a good tune. But thing is, how many places are like that? Also, trips from east to west often involve looking for powder. In my experience, the more interesting powder skis for out there are typically unavailable for rental, often hard to find even for demo. So I'll end up with a nice fat ski that is probably made by a major, conservative in design, and even then hard to rent in the correct length because demand exceeds supply. Hell, even the majors: How many walls of Pontoons or Hellbents have you seen for rent? (Again, realize that shops mentioned above tend to carry range of fatties, but how representative are they, really?) So yeah, we need those serious wine stores by each slope...

post #13 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I look at this totally differently than you folks. If I'm spending well over 1K on a week's ski trip, including housing, flight, food, and lifts, an extra $70 for using my skis, with my bindings and my knowledge about how they'll perform when I need them, is...(wait for it)...trivial. After all, this is a ski trip, where the focus is on, ah, using skis on snow. We spend waaay too many hours here debating about the relative merits of specific lengths and shapes of specific models. We agonize over which ski to buy and love. Then we say, "Oh, never mind, I'll rent something different?" th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

But then, I may be the only one here who has a permanently screwed up body from rental bindings that didn't feel like letting go, so my knees did instead. YMMV. 


This.

 

Also, you have to compare apples to apples. Generally if you want to look at the cheapest option for demos its always a crap shoot where you are likely to get skis that havent been tuned or waxed all that well. It is fully possible to find a nice performing western daily driver with bindings for $400. Won't be the latest rockered ski but it will ski well.

post #14 of 27
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post

I look at this totally differently than you folks. If I'm spending well over 1K on a week's ski trip, including housing, flight, food, and lifts, an extra $70 for using my skis, with my bindings and my knowledge about how they'll perform when I need them, is...(wait for it)...trivial. After all, this is a ski trip, where the focus is on, ah, using skis on snow. We spend waaay too many hours here debating about the relative merits of specific lengths and shapes of specific models. We agonize over which ski to buy and love. Then we say, "Oh, never mind, I'll rent something different?" th_dunno-1[1].gif

 

But then, I may be the only one here who has a permanently screwed up body from rental bindings that didn't feel like letting go, so my knees did instead. YMMV. 


This.

 

Also, you have to compare apples to apples. Generally if you want to look at the cheapest option for demos its always a crap shoot where you are likely to get skis that havent been tuned or waxed all that well. It is fully possible to find a nice performing western daily driver with bindings for $400. Won't be the latest rockered ski but it will ski well.


And it will be my only option on a trip, and will cost be $200 per year to transport if I go on 2 trips, and I will want to buy new ones next year anyway. Oh and if conditions aren't "just right" I may end up demoing anyway.

 

post #15 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post


and I will want to buy new ones next year anyway.

 

If you ski them 30-50 days over 2 or 3 years... it would work better. Just 10-15 days over 1 year, maybe not.

post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post

And it will be my only option on a trip, and will cost be $200 per year to transport if I go on 2 trips, and I will want to buy new ones next year anyway. Oh and if conditions aren't "just right" I may end up demoing anyway.

 


Most of us who take one ski on a trip pick a ski that's pretty versatile, but targeting conditions we hope for. If conditions aren't "just right," we deal. (Can improve your skill set.) We also don't necessarily buy new trip skis every year, but I guess that varies. (Although if $200 is big money, then cycling skis each year is a lot bigger money; you're losing 50% of what you paid the minute you ski on them.) What I was getting at was that a) no matter how you do the math, packing skis is a very small fraction of the total trip costs, yet they're the tool behind what you plan to do, and b) demos are almost always a crap shoot. Probably more of a crap shoot than conditions IMO. 

 

I think the real subtext here is that people are PO'd at the industry, and their anger is inflating the actual cost-benefit ratio of taking skis. 

post #17 of 27

No one has mentioned the hassle factor in demoing.  You've got to get up early and get to a a good ski shop.  And better make reservations because if you're picky, and everyone reading this probably is, then you may have to rent something you didn't really have in mind, or maybe in the wrong length.  It's rare to find on the hill demos in exactly your ski at your length.

 

I travel from East Coast to West twice a year, once with family to CO and once with the guys to Utah.  When powder panic sets in no one wants to kill time renting.  With multiple skiers the logistics and time sink gets exponential.

 

That said, I demo out west every 3-4 years when I'm ready to update my Western boards.  This year I'll bring my old Mantras for the days when renting seems like a hassle.  Otherwise I hope to try out something new (hopefully Sultan 94's, Rosssi S3's, Watea 94's, Kastle MX 88 if real lucky...)

 

Peter

post #18 of 27

I don't ski enough to justify the expense of owning my own gear.  It would be cheaper to rent demo gear.  However, because I do ski locally I own gear to avoid the hassle factor of standing in line for one day of skiing.  The hassle is less on a longer trip.  I can't justify renting gear when I own my own so I pay to transport it, which is usually cheaper than renting.  I have yet to figure out how to get those cheap deals with UPS or FedEx.  When I have checked with them it is more than the airline charges.

post #19 of 27

On a pure cost basis, you'll come out ahead bringing your own gear, at least if you plan to rent better skis.

 

I've demoed and brought my own skis on different occasions. Both have their own issues:

 

hirustler sums up the demo situation pretty well, though the time issues can be lessened by picking up your skis the day before or exchanging them at the end of the day. Personally, I just love the reservations that don't really reserve anything and so called demo skis that haven't even been waxed, much less tuned in weeks.

 

That said, navigating an airport with skis is never much fun, and it's amazing how scarce those minivan/SUV taxis that you see all over NYC are when you're standing there with a couple of ski bags. 

 

I generally bring at least one pair of my own skis, unless I'm piggybacking on a business trip in which case I rent; it's hard enough to conceal or explain the boot bag.

post #20 of 27

Working for an airline...priceless! biggrin.gif

post #21 of 27
I have wrestled with the same question myself as the hassle to tote the skis through the airport and pay the fees keeps on getting worse or to just call ahead to reserve a model I want to ski. I did do that once on my trip to St. Anton and it worked great. Actually rented the same ski that I had back home. But here in the states, for now I bring a good all mountain ski, Volkl AC30 and tell myself if it is an epic powder day I will demo for the day. But I can see the day coming when the airlines will change that for me. If the resort ski shops recognize this and prepare it could be a good thing for us skiers flying to our destination.

Rick G
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattL View Post

 

I'm wondering if the baggage fee have boosted performance rentals/demos and if shops in general 1) have a good selection available 2) have been able to keep up with demand if the rentals have surged 3) will I be able to get powder skis on a powder day (a problem in the past)?

 

 

My experience is purely anecdotal, so take the stuff below for what it's worth.

 

Worked last season selling condos/flights/lessons/rentals/lifts for Keystone, so I ran into questions like these fairly often. For folks flying, the cost of baggage fees made a difference, but mostly because it made them grumpy. They brought their own skis anyway and complained about the cost, which as you've seen, can be significant, especially since airlines typically classify skis as "oversize." I can count on one hand the number of people who indicated that baggage fees had interested them in demo-ing equipment, out of 100 or so flights.

 

The vast majority, however, (this being Kestone, of course) rented skis because they didn't own them, and the median skier flying to Keystone simply doesn't need anything better than the Apache Recons in the stock rental fleet. At resorts that draw more proficient skiers, I imagine more people will own their own skis and face decisions about fees, but I think that on the whole, the fly-to-ski crowd doesn't ski enough to justify purchasing their own equipment. Point being, I don't think baggage fees have had much of an impact on the demo fleet. 

post #23 of 27

For many years I have been shipping my Sportube by FedEx. Cost about 60.00 to 120.00 each way, but the no hassle flying is priceless.

post #24 of 27
So no one likes the 100% Craigslist trip model?

1) Shop Craigslist for skis or snowboard, get prices and pics
2) Fly out, rent car, buy skis or snowboard from seller.
3) adjust to bootz
4) Place Cl ad (or even an Ebay auction if you have loaners) prior to flying out.
post #25 of 27

Go all the way, buy and sell the car too.

post #26 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by SKI-3PO View Post

Go all the way, buy and sell the car too.



I know someone who did just that for a 3-week stay.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post

So no one likes the 100% Craigslist trip model?

1) Shop Craigslist for skis or snowboard, get prices and pics
2) Fly out, rent car, buy skis or snowboard from seller.
3) adjust to bootz
4) Place Cl ad (or even an Ebay auction if you have loaners) prior to flying out.


What if they don't sell? I guess you could stash them in a locker somewhere, take the key and mail to someone local upon payment. Interesting concept but removes the ability to change skis whenever you want.

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