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buying skis in uk or at resort - advice sort

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi all

wondering if we can get some views on this?
We are thinking of getting our own skis but are in 2 minds (no surpirse there) Puzzled

We wonder whether getting the skis at the resort was a better idea than getting them in the uk.
the though being you could try them out straight away, any problems you can get them sorted etc
also we thought it might be cheaper.
the only thing that's making us wonder is if we get a problem?
Is it better to ge them before you go and try them out at the snowdome etc ?

So we thought we'd ask all the snowheads what you thought

And whether you've got any advice on the matter eg makes, styles etc

We are both pretty new to this having been on 2 holidays over the last couple of years and go occassionally to the snowdome at tamworth (own our own boots etc), have next years holiday booked and hope to get another week or long weekend in. So we aren't total novices.
Sharon will do most blue, green and some red and i can manage blues and greens (just about, hope to get to do some reds this year)

All thoughts welcome, thanks
Rob
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well, there's two ways to go about it...
Before you go, demo a few skis, and find out how much they are here or in the resort. Then, if it's the same price, or cheaper, then buy in resort.
Alternatively, before you go, read up on various skis, and ask for advice on ones worth trying. Find out their price here, then when you go to resort, demo them, decide on which ones you want, then compare prices with here. You may end up coming back from the resort and buying.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
6 and 2 3s if you ask me. I don't think prices are usually very different nowadays, with the Euro being quite strong (and Snow and Rock will match prices you find abroad, last time I looked). That said, you can sometimes pick up bargains in resort for used/last season's/end of line skis. The big plus is that you can usually try before you buy. Shops will usually knock off the cost of rental if you end up buying.
Some shops in resort are a bit more open to haggling than English shops, or may throw in free poles or other sweetners.
As far as warranties are concerned, you would still be able to send the skis back if they go wrong but it might be a bit more complicated. You would have to deal direct with the manufacturer or distributor rather than have the shop you bought them from do it for you (although if you really chat up a stockist other than the one you bought them from, they may take up the cause on your behalf, but I wouldn't bank on it).
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I've always bought in resort because you can try them. Many rental places will let you try a different set of skis each day, and then knock the rental charge off any purchase you make.

I tested some skis at Castleford last year, and the guy at Ellis Brigham suggested that the skis would perform differently in a snowdome to out on the mountains...therefore testing in the UK may not be the best method Puzzled
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
rob and sharon, I'm a bit of a believer in buying a ski you like where you demo it (unless you were really skint wink - principles are made to be broken and all that) 'cos they have provided you with a service. There's only a limited amount you can tell by demo-ing skis in a snowy hut (and certainly that particular snowy hut in Tamworth - how much of a drag would it be to drag yourselves to another snowy hut that's further north/south?) but suspect that at two weeks, well, if it feels good there, it'll probably be ok. However demo-ing on the mountain is obviously best, bar it eating into your actual skiing time, and you should get better prices unless you've got your eye on a sale bargain here already wink. I've done both at least a couple of times with no regrets.
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Thanks to everyone on the advice and thoughts and comments
In answer to a couple of points
Tamworth is quite close (less than an hour drive) and was one of the places we were going to look at.
We aren't too bothered whether they are this years or last years versions, just want a pair that will be useable for a few years.
Will have a nother look at snow and rock prices as the plan was to check prices here and then at the resort.
Thanks
Rob
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've bought abroad for lst 18 years - but generally to take advantage of local discounts and end of season bargains. I also think you can get better choice. BUt I do wonder whether at the speed one hopes you're improving at whether you wouldn't be better renting until you're at a stage where you decide you really want your own skis for more particular reasons.

Also, as an example, my friends at Francios Baud Sports in Morzine will rent you a decent ski for €9 a day or less. How many days do you need to ski before it becomes economically advantageous to have your own skis? More than a couple of weeks a year I would think.

For example, full price B2s with bindings around £459 or so, is equivalent to somewhere around 70 days hire. At 1 or 2 weeks a year that means you need to keep the same skis for 5 years or more to justify on cost grounds. By which point you, technology or your boredom threshold may have moved on.

And if you hire you can pick and choose according to increasing skill or just the conditions.

I hired for years because I just couldn't find a ski that was compellingly good at what I wanted.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
David Murdoch wrote:
For example, full price B2s with bindings around £459 or so.......


Hey, David, where do you shop? I picked up a pair last year, mid season, with the fancy-Dan turntable bindingd (120 I think) for WELL under that. About the £300 mark IIRC.
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Shortlist then demo demo demo.

These people do some good bargins sometimes http://www.telemark-pyrenees.com/shop/index.php?cPath=1&osCsid=2ebfebcf9923f9e1fefa7a497326d92a

David Murdoch raises a good point about the cost of renting being cheaper if you don't ski all that often. However, if you end up really liking a ski that is not widely available to rent then it may be best to buy.

If you demo with a shop try to arrange upfront that the cost of rental will be deducted from the price of the ski if you make a purchase.
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I own my own skis but would agree that it isn't worth buying if you only do 1 or 2 weeks away each season. As well as the cost of skis, bindings, poles, bag you've got to add servicing, and usually ski carriage for each trip. It takes a long time to get your money back, by which time your skill level AND ski technology will have moved on substantially.

There is the advantage of getting used to a particular ski, but if you rent one you don't like in resort you can always take it back and change it. I like having confidence in my own bindings, knowing that they are safe/properly serviced, but I guess if you hire "gold" standard skis each trip you should be getting new gear each time, which should be okay.

If you must buy, ask the advice of the shop staff, demo 2 or 3 of their suggestions on snow (not dry slope) and get what you fancy. I can't really recommend any foreign shops as I haven't used them to buy skis. Ellis Brigham at MK SnoZone seem reasonably knowledgable when spoken to. Bear in mind that while skis may be on sale toward the end of the season, there will be less choice, and an unscrupulous shop may try to sell you what they have left rather than what is suitable.
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A quick anecdote on buying in the UK. I bought 2 pairs of skis for the wife and me at the ski show a couple of years ago from the S&R stall. They were both mid-high models, both had pre-selected/integrated bindings and both were the most up-to-date model. I paid the "list" price but after some haggling managed to get thrown in 2 pairs of graphite poles (rrp approx £50), a large wheeled S&R ski bag (rrp approx £50) and two vouchers for ski servicing (again, rrp of £50). For me, all of those "extras" were useful and nice to have, although in fairness I wouldn't have spent £200 of my own money on them! So I suppose it's always worth trying it on a little, especially at somewhere like the slki show. It also probably says a lot about the sort of margins retailers like S&R achieve when people are prepared to pay the full price for skis etc.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
marc gledhill, that was Slush and Rubble's list price last winter. (I never know how much these things cost so needed a reference).

M80euf, I must admit I find the concept of buying at the chaotic mess that is the "Ski Show" quite abhorrent! And I'd rather have a cash discount thank you!

the ice perv, defo. It's a hassle carting them back and forwards. Not even sleazyjet let you take skis as carry on luggage.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
David Murdoch, I totally agree! It was def a one-off for me. Luckily I didn't have to walk around with 2 pairs of skis on the night. I am very much in the "demo" camp and have found that it's always worth asking for some sort of discount - they can only say no. I admit to having paid full price from a resort shop for my last pair of skis but still managed to get 30% off the asking price of the bindings.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
One other thing to watch out for: shops often sell skis and bindings together as a package, supposedly at a saving. What they often do is pair an expensive ski with a cack binding to make it look oh-so cheap - haggle away and get a binding upgrade if you can.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
One point to bear in mind if anyone's planning on doing a season: in VT last year, many of the shops were offering free servicing on skis bought from them. I got my skis serviced free all season Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
At your ability levels I'd suggest renting for at least another week or two as your ability will improve rapidly which will then give you the option of higher level skis etc. The resort stores have a wide range of rental skis so just because you're renting for the week doesn't mean you can't go back every day to swap to another make/model to help your selection for later purchase.

Another thing to consider is that the budget airlines & operators have now started to charge for ski transportation (typically £20 a pair return - or maybe £20 for both return if you get a large bag & can handle the weight) which makes rental even more attractive.

If you're going to be regulars at Tamworth then it's far better to have you're own skis as their's are junk, however you'll also need to get some basic tuning gear as the artificial snow is like sandpaper & servicing at £15-25 a time can get expensive.

Both myself & Deb have are own skis. I'm a level 7/8 skier & do 3-4 wks a season & am a regular at Castleford. Deb's a level 5 & will probably only ski 2 weeks a season & rarely goes to Castleford. If we were doing it all again I'd still have my own skis, but for the reasons above, Deb would most definately rent.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I wouldn't recommend buying skis until you're at least confident on black runs, and starting to go off piste. Before that I don't think that there's much benefit over renting.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hey! I considered buying skis out in resort last season although couldn't justify spending the money at that time. Since then I've decided to buy my own after years of renting. I think renting is a great option and has been really helpful in giving an idea of what to buy and what works well.

It's only since I know i'm going to be skiing a lot next year and the fact that when I go to practice at the artificial slopes, I'm wanting to ski on skis that they don't rent out, that I've seriously decided to look at buying skis.
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ejoy, I'd STRONGLY reccomend NOT to take your own skis out on a dry slope.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
All of the above is why I hire, it is just less hassle. after all is said and done. It would take a really special ski to break this chain and then I would probably need two pairs. One great allrounder, the XL in my opinion, and a slalom/hardpack ski. Even if you hire you can still get caught out on the wrong ski and I ended up on Elan SX's on a powder day....!!!!! I still shudder at that thought...!!

On balance I bulk at lugging one pair of skis around, and servicing, etc, carriage so I hire. It probably works out more expensive but the pros outway the cons for me...!!
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rob and sharon, The subject has been pretty well covered already - however if you are convinced that you want to buy there are lots of cheap skis currently for sale in specialist shops in France.

Many folks here seem to swear by Rossignol B2s ( ise has described them as the snowHead ski of choice based upon the EOSB). Rossignol are changing the ski for next season and many French outlets seem to have bougt loads of the 2004/5 model to sell on cheaply this summer. They seem to be available with bindings (pre-haggle) for €380-€400. No good if you don't go to France regularly but worth phoning around for if you do?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
ejoy, Wear The Fox Hat,
Quote:

I'd STRONGLY reccomend NOT to take your own skis out on a dry slope.



Depends on the dryslope - if it's got a good misting system, and you use a (very) hard wax ... then the slope won't damage your skis. You will need to heep the edges sharp tho'....

The hire skis at any dryslope will have blunt edges.. limiting what you can do, and what you can learn.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
ski, how do edges help on a dry slope?
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slikedges, Just the same as on snow - sharp edges will give you grip.
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ski, will a hard wax stop the core from overheating (if you've got a foam core)?
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Wear The Fox Hat, given the length of most slopes I'd have thought it unlikely that the core would overheat unless the bases had already half melted
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
D G Orf, I think sherlock chalets might be able to answer it for definite, but from what I remember (which could be wrong, as usual), that racers on dry slopes do suffer from heat problems.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Wear The Fox Hat, If the slope has misting, then you don't get the friction or the heat - so no problem. If the slope is really dry and hot, then base melting etc will occur. The hard wax helps by (again) reducing friction - so reducing heat.

On longer slopes (like Wycombe) then on a hot day, you will have problems - not least the smell or burning PTEX.

Having said that,
Quote:

that racers on dry slopes do suffer from heat problems


it worth remembering that racers will a) be going MUCH faster than most of us and b) will be applying much more pressure to the ski, over a smaller are ('cos it's on it edge), and so will suffer more that others from heat build up.

My race skis are Rossi 9S (silver ones) - been in use for over a year now, no problems. My previous skis (Head) simply ran out of edge to sharpen......
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I've had very little damage to my bases on misted dendix or snowflex, however dry snowflex was visibly removing the base after an hour.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
ski, Really? Never realised the sharpness of edges could make any difference on a brush mat!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
slikedges, Really ! Shocked
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
ski, no, really, how does that work?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
slikedges, Damn - hoped I'd get away without answering that ! Empiracally - I know it works - because without sharp edges I go sideways !

I expect that sharp edges are able to grip the mat fibres more than blunt ones..due to a reduced area of contact, and therefore more pressure ?

Do you know I've never asked myself that question before ? Puzzled
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As a guess, I'd have thought the sharp edge must partially cut into individual fibres to gain a little more grip over a blunt edge which would rely on the surface friction alone.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

to gain a little more grip



You get a LOT more grip snowHead
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marc gledhill, I think that's basically correct. In fact about 15 years ago Rossendale tried (unsuccessfully) to forbid any skiers (including racers) from sharpening their edges, to try to reduce wear and tear on the bristles.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I was going to say that sharp edges aren't good for a mat and it wouldn't be in the Slopes interest to have their mat life reduced which is why all the hire skis slide so much. Well, thats my excuse anyway..!!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Rob,Sharon,
The trick is to ensure that you get a suitable ski for your ability/aspirations. Whether you buy in resort or UK
shouldn't be your number one concern. Why not try this year atleast hiring a Top/VIP ski one of this years or last years models and see how you get on, the hire shop will also proberly let you swap them around during the week without charge. Regards Bob.
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JT, I don't think slopes actually blunt skis - just try a pair after they been used by beginners for an hour or so..... wink
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Dear All

thanks again for all the advice and views.
I think we are going to hold off getting any just yet.
but the advice on trying out different ones at the resort is a good one, which we might have to put to the test.
thanks
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