Is It Too Early To Think Ski Gear?


With the sun high in the sky, the temperature hitting in the nineties and the daylight stretching late into the evening, is it too early to think ski gear?

Time for Research
Now is the time to start thinking ski gear as the big sales will be here before you know it. Break out last year’s ski magazines (you did save them right?) and read up on last year’s new models. That’s because this year’s sales feature last year’s models. Unless you’re one of those Gearheads that must have the newest thing, this is the chance for your best deals.

Decision Time
Do you really need new gear? Do you not really need it, but want new gear? Well, it’s decision time as the biggest sales of the year will be kicking off as soon as Labor Day arrives. The biggest decision—because we all know you want new gear—is whether you want last year’s models or this year’s. The changes sometimes are no more than cosmetic in skis and boards but the price differential can be huge. The stores want to clear out last year’s models because if they don’t sell here, they are destined for the outlet stores where they will fetch way less.

Bargains spelled backwards is Sniagrab and this is just about the biggest sale in the land. Starting on Labor Day weekend and now running for months instead of days Sniagab features hundreds of thousands of skis, snowboards, boots, poles and everything else you could possibly need on a mountain covered in snow. Once just limited to the Gart Brother’s Castle on Broadway in downtown Denver, Colorado, this outfit now known as Sports Authority holds sales in every location in several states. The Castle in downtown Denver though is a sight to behold. Just about every ski resort in the state has a booth with some kind of deal. This year will be their 61st Sniagrab and discounts range from 40% to 90% off list prices.

Colorado Ski and Golf, which is a subsidiary of Vail Resorts, is Sports Authority’s main rival in Colorado sports. It’s only natural they have a competing gear sale starting on Labor Day as well. Their prices are similar though their selection is not quite as massive as the castle on Broadway provides. They sell last year’s leftovers as well as next season’s newest models at all their outlets and they are known for their customer service, especially in custom boot fittings.

Ski Swaps
These usually occur in the fall after the big sales which makes sense so we have a place to sell off the gear we just replaced. Back East the Potter Brothers Ski and Snowboard shops in Jiminy Peak, Mass, Fishkill, NY and Killington, Vermont hold pre-season sales the first two weeks of September with ski swaps in the two weeks following. Larson Ski and Sport in Wheatridge, CO also holds a very well attended ski swap every fall.

It’s Time to Buy
Christy Sports, Three Brothers and many other shops around the country have jumped on the Labor Day or later in the fall sale bandwagon. Once again, last year’s models on everything from snow pants to gloves, boots, skis and snowboards are your best bets. This year’s new models may be slightly on sale but the leftovers are where the bargains, or sniagrabs will be found.

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Michael Ryan

Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it after noon.

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