Shopping For New Stuff?

Now is the time of the year when thoughts of pulling out the plastic and splurging on gear and clothing permeate our waking hours. After all, those old bindings are past their sell-buy date, and those cracked boots don’t quite fit the way they did seven years ago. And that dirty parka is simply falling apart.

And retailers are hanging out the discount signs.  Although there won’t be ski shows this year, there might be some online versions thereof to entice those with a hole in their pockets.

Bob Skinner’s Ski And Sports, Newbury, NH.

We’ve often wondered how you, dear reader, makes decisions about what to buy. Do you look for articles in the magazines and blogs to guide you? Are they helpful? Do skiing friends tell you about what works for them? Do retail sales specialists guide you through choices? How do you judge? Do you know what you’re looking for at the start of your search? Or, are you working from some impressions gathered on last year’s lift lines? Share your thoughts.  We’d really like to know.

As you know, we’ve been publishing ski and boot recommendations for since we started SeniorsSkiing. Has that made a difference in your buying decisions?

 

If  you are considering buying new gear for the new season, how do you decide what to buy?

Please respond in the Leave A Reply box below.

 

13 Comments

  1. I start with what type of gear I’m looking for. First I look at recommendations from many sites. Then I look at reviews from people who have used the gear I am considering. Then I look at professional review sites. If possible I demo the gear. Then I buy.

  2. Avatar Cansnowplow says:

    No matter how rich you may be, I’ve discovered the American psychic is in wanting a deal. So, it takes a deal to convince me to buy new equipment. Like one of my senior buddies says, “Today’s mediocre level equipment is better than the top of the line equipment made 10 years ago. Am I still using 10 year old equipment? Yup, my ski boots. I liked them so much, I bought a second pair identical to my 1st pair and am on my 3rd year with my seconds’. I am always interested in new bindings and the prices on bindings have followed Vail lift ticket, spiking the cost for their product, no deals. So, I am in a holding pattern, because without new bindings, I don’t look at new skis.

  3. Avatar Bee Muzerall says:

    I need new skis this year, and I will go to one of the many ski shops in our area and talk to them. I will also ask my ski friends about their new skis and what they like/dislike about them. I have a friend who is knowledgable about equipment who knows the way I ski and will likely ask that friend to come with me when I make my final decision.

  4. I am a bit of an outlier. While I ski at a resort, I spend most of my time skinning the fringes so I buy backcountry related gear…also I tele…which puts me in another minority. I also ski 100+ days a year, so I wear stuff out instead of buy new gear because I think it’s cool. All that being said, I keep track of what is happening in the backcountry world mostly through Backcountry Magazine and various manufacturers websites. Like on piste skiing, backcoiuntry gear has bells and whistles if you think you need them. Personally, I follow the KISS method, and carry all the safety gear I should, plus a bit more in case I run into someone who needs help, but I don’t get sucked in to buy unnecessary stuff. I don’t know if this answered your question, but there you go…

  5. Yes, the SeniorSkiing product recommendations help. Keep them coming.
    My product buying is heavily influenced by what knowledgeable people tell me . . . not sales people, but people with no interest in my decision. I find the industry write-ups not very useful . . . too much hype and not enough critique.

  6. Boots are in the cards for this season, the plastic is starting to change colors in places, which is a bad sign. This ritual is pretty easy.
    1/ Go visit my Matchmaker (a.k.a. Boot fitter) who knows how I ski. Take the old boots along, it is amazing what he can tell by looking at them.
    2/ He looks at my feet, takes a few measurements, brings out 3 or 4 boots to look at (mostly to make me feel like I am deciding).
    3/ He tells me which one to buy.
    4/ They are then converted to concreate bedroom slippers, and the bindings are adjusted.

  7. Avatar Elaine Okimura says:

    Boots: I immediately head straight to my bootfitter. With specific foot problems, I’m lucky to sometimes get a choice of two to even start the process. As a still teaching instructor, for me everything hinges on this choice.
    Skis: I read the professional reviews, know my personal ski preferences, talk to coworkers who work in ski shops, and then visit the shop.

  8. Avatar Michael Maginn says:

    Posted on behalf of Frank Scharo
    New skis are always exciting, but even more so when your first run on them is great! I can’t think of a more wonderful experience, yet the opposite can also happen when that new pair of skis that looked killer on the wall turn into mushy noodles the first trip down the hill, oh dear that sick knot in your stomach. For myself I’ve had enough of both worlds to always demo before I buy. Even with the same model ski a small difference in length can make a big difference in how they handle, why take the chance. My experience with boots has been a little different, generally what feels comfortable in the store works. A good boot fitter, if you can find one, can be a big help, however a well meaning store clerk with little real boot fitting knowledge can also spell disaster. I believe older skiers are too often sold on stiff, overly tight high performance boots far in excess of there intended use. As a senior skier all I want is comfort, to simply enjoy the sport and not have to fight equipment. A light ski boot that is easy on and easy off coupled with an equally light ski that performs well is magic. My most current set up, “Full Tilt” boots sitting on Head V-8’s has been a dream, I can ski longer on more advanced runs and just have more fun. As for my choice in Jackets etc, I just buy the best name brands that I want to wear (when on sale of course!) but there comes a time when getting what I really want supersedes saving a few bucks. Hope we get to ski this year with all the restrictions.

  9. Avatar Michael Cahn says:

    I would imagine many ski areas in all parts of the country have Demo Days.
    Over the years This has been the best way I have found to buy new skis. You get to talk to the mfgr. rep. and the ski shop at the same time. You get to try all the major brands and ski yourself silly in one or two days.

  10. Since I know Lange boots got me best after wearing 4 models over the years, I will try on a few others but end up tweaking a pair of Langes with the help of a boot fitter. As for skis, I often buy a pair handed down by a brand rep. at my ski school. I read the reviews, swap skis with friends, and demo when I have a chance. I also rent skis sometimes and try different brands and models.

  11. I’ve been lucky enough to ski overseas the past few years extending my season. I live in Australia so was fortunate to get in a few weeks in Canada and Utah before Covid hit this year. This allows me to try out demo skis in different types of conditions and terrain. Before deciding I always demo the skis I like here in the Snowy Mountains as well. They are too expensive an item to ‘get it wrong’. I also read reviews and speak to fellow skiers. I always travel with my own boots, however when purchasing, boots are a little trickier. I use a boot fitter to help me work out the options that will suit me. I also do a bit of research but not to the same degree as skis. Overall I’ve learnt what I’ve learnt to speak up about what I like in a ski and boot to limit the presumption of my female skiing ability, which is even more important now as a 60 year old.

  12. I first look at the specs, and try to find the few models that seem to fill my need. I usually have several requirements, so I narrow down my search to only the items that fulfill those requirements.

    For example, for skis, I am looking mainly at Alpine Touring skis, which are much lighter than regular skis. Even though I don’t do a lot of touring, I like lighter skis and am constantly amazed at how heavy my friends’ skis are. I also look for all-mountain skis that can float in powder but also perform on groomed trails. I found through experience that a waist width of 105 mm is a bit too wide for me. I don’t want anything wider than about 90 mm.

    When looking for a ski jacket, once again, I first pay attention to my requirements, which are: lots of pockets to stash away all my accessories (camera, 2-way radio, cell phone, a trail map, a handkerchief, a comb so I can fix my hair instead of walking around the lodge with my hat hair, a small screwdriver, a ski lock, a snack, a face-mask and more).

    I don’t even look at jackets that have only 3 outer pockets. Four outer pockets is a minimum. I recently purchased an Obermeyer jacket that has 6 outer pockets plus a 7th on the sleeve. Thank you Obermeyer. I wish all ski jackets had that many pockets. Another requirement is a synthetic insulation. No down for me. I hate looking like the Michelin man! And, of course, the jacket has to be both waterproof and breathable.

    One final requirement for both jackets and skis is the color. I would never buy skis with ugly graphics such as skulls or other gross designs.

    As for jackets, I am sick and tired of depressing black, gray, and muddy (earth) colors. Skiing is a fun sport. Why dress like it’s someone’s funeral?

    I am constantly on the lookout for bright colors such as bright blue, bright yellow, bright red, etc., but most jackets in the past 10 – 20 years have only been in muddy colors (bricvk red, mustard yellow, etc.) that look dirty even when they are brand new. Only bright red can still be found here and there.

    Finally, I am looking for accent colors in jackets (and pants too). A single color is boring. I am looking for a bright blue jacket with yellow highlights and perhaps also some black accents. Or a red and black. Or yellow and black. Only Spyder seems to have exciting color combinations lately, but they don’t produce enough of them. I really wanted to buy the colors that they advertised – a blue, yellow and black jacket. But that color was sold out long before any of their other colors. On top of that, some retailers that normally carry Spyder jackets refused to carry this most attractive color combination, even though the Yellow-Blue-and-Black is the one that Spyder chose for their advertisements. Retailers should learn that when a color combination catches our eye in the ad, we want to buy that color. Their refusal to carry that particular color is their loss. Yes, I actually argued with a retailer who tried to convince me that customers don’t really want the colors from the ad. Hey, I am a customer and I want those colors from the ad!!!

    OK, maybe I spent too much time talking about colors here. Note that I first look for the more important features such as pockets and insulation on jackets, or the weight, dimensions, and versatility of the skis). Once I narrowed it down to the specs I am looking for, then I pay attention to the colors as my next step.

  13. I start looking for replacement skis and boots about two years in advance. I ski 70 to 80 days a year and have a very good understanding of my strengths and weaknesses.

    i do my research by talking to several ski shop owners here in Utah to get their updates on changes in skis and boots, especially tech changes.

    I also talk to skiers on lifts, ski patrol, ski hosts to get their general ideas about what skis and boots are great. I know this is totally subjective, but it is surprising to see two or three skis or boots seem to surface after talking to forty or fifty people like this.

    Once I have an idea of two or three skis I am interested in (or two or three boots) I start watching for their prices on Ebay and other internet sites. I will watch prices for at least a year or even two in order to get a sense of the market.

    Then I make a decision and buy. Once I know what I want to buy I move very quickly when I see a price that is good, given my long term research.

    If I really like the skis I have bought, after a year or two, I will then buy a replacement pair, often on Ebay, that is brand new. I store these in my closet often for two or three years. i can get prices that are often less than a third of what I might pay if bought new.

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