The Sport of Downhill (Alpine) Skiing
Alpine Skiing
There are three principal forms of skiing. In descending order of popularity in the U.S., they are alpine (commonly known as downhill), cross-country, and ski jumping. This guide focuses on alpine (downhill) skiing, which has vastly more participants than the other two, and thus is what generally comes to mind when someone mentions skiing without further qualification.

A key question for every skier is whether he (she) should rent equipment or buy it. The arguments in favor of buying are:

  • At some busy ski areas, you can waste nearly an hour on line to get your rental equipment. Returning it also can eat up a lot of time, although if you have suitable transportation, you can often rent for less and faster at ski shops in the vicinity.
  • The rental equipment at many ski areas is beaten-up and poorly maintained although they sometimes do have brand new equipment being promoted by a manufacturer.
  • Given a cost of at least $20 for the typical rental, a frequent skier is much better off buying equipment.

In favor of renting:

  • Storage space for ski equipment, especially the skis and especially if you live in an apartment without adequate storage space.
  • Transporting the equipment can be a pain because you cannot fit the equipment in your vehicle, don't have a ski rack on top it, or are flying and don't want the hassle of having to check special luggage.
  • You expect to improve as a skier, and thus will want to upgrade your gear sometime in the near future
  • You do not ski very often, so renting actually is more economical.
  • You go to an uncrowded ski area, or one that has a hyper-efficient rental area.

For more information, select from the list of topics on the left.

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