Author Topic: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy  (Read 2230 times)

NextTime

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First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« on: September 21, 2021, 03:11:24 PM »
So we (me 45, DW 40, DS 10, DD 5) are going on our first ski trip to Colorado (Keystone) over Thanksgiving with some friends. I am the only one who has ever skiied before and that was once, 30 years ago. The wife and kids are very excited. If everyone enjoys it, it may become an annual, semi-annual trip. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

We will be skiing 2 or 3 days and I'm trying to wrap my head around all the gear we will need.
Our friends have given us a list. They aren't afraid to spend money, but they also don't always purchase the high end stuff.
I don't want to be a spendy pants, but I am also willing to pay a little extra for some convenience. 

What equipment do we really need?
Of that, what should we buy and what should we rent?
For the things we need to buy what are the good, but budget friendly brands? Or where should we not skimp?
Is there a good site to buy used ski equipment?

Current List:
Winter Jacket - DD jacket still fits from last year, but does it need to be waterproof? She's 5 and not afraid to whine and complain.
                       DW, DS, and I need new jackets. DS has outgrown his, and DW and I don't have anything adequate for skiing unfortunately.
Snow Pants - Everyone needs a pair.  Not afraid to purchase a decent pair for DW and I since we will be able to use them for a decade, and we like to play in the snow. What is a decent budget
                    brand for the kids?
Gloves - DW and I have a nice pair, kids have outgrown theirs. DD apparently has large hands for her size 
Helmets - No one wore a helmet when I went skiing but our friends say everyone wears them now. What is a good budget brand? I'm not sure I want to rent helmets.
Goggles - Friends say everyone wears them. If so, what is a good budget brand? Do you rent these, or are they cheap enough to buy a pair.
Underlayers - how many, what layers? DS and I run hot, but the girls run cold. I don't want to be peeling off layers once we get on the mountain.

Boots, skis, Poles - RENT for sure.

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to get all the info so I can start looking for deals.

shawndoggy

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2021, 03:19:23 PM »
You can rent helmets.

Number of layers is really an experience/personal preference thing.

I’m super picky about goggles and would undoubtedly be disappointed with anything rented because they would be low end and/or scratched up. Amazon has decent ski goggles in the $40 range. Decent. Nice ones will be 4x that.

It’s really hard to advise on ski clothing… if it’s a once every 30 years kind of thing anything can work for the weekend. On the other hand if you are skiing 50 days a year there can be a lot of value in “nicer” (expensive!) stuff that will last.

Do you have a “ski swap” in your town this time of year, where folks swap meet their used gear?


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sailinlight

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2021, 03:35:08 PM »
Put the kids in lessons, and take some yourself if you are not confident in your and your wife's abilities.

Askel

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2021, 03:43:34 PM »
Askel's guide to dirtbag ski slope fashion:

Start with a good base layer. If you're going to spend money- this is the place to do it, good wool long underwear is a true luxury. 

Then, get a shell- you want something wind proof primarily, somewhat water proof (nylon is good) and ideally breathable (goretex is great).  I get by with a $25 nylon rain suit from walmart. If it is really cold and I know I'll be riding long chair lift rides and doing strictly downhill runs, I might swap that thin outer shell for a regular winter coat and snowpants. Brand doesn't matter too much, they're all pretty much the same in my experience. 

Pile the layers on in between as needed.  With good wool against your skin and a tough shell on top you can kind of get away with a lot of different fabrics in there. I usually add an old wool sweater my wife found on ebay in there. Sometimes I swap it directly with the nylon shell if I want to trade off breathability with weatherproofness.   

For gloves I love Kinco work gloves. Cheap, durable, and warm. 

I don't get too hung up on waterproofness.  Most of skiing is pretty active and I'm usually sweating- so I'm getting damp one way or another.  The wool helps stay warm in this. 

Goggles- I usually don't ski fast enough or in places that make these a necessity but when you need them you need them.  If you're wearing a helmet- make sure they fit under the helmet properly. I like a nice light yellow tint to improve contrast during the day, but not dark enough to be useless when night skiing under the lights. 

There, now patch everything liberally with duct tape and nobody will question you when you make a lunch out of the free saltines in the lodge cafeteria. 


Sibley

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2021, 03:46:29 PM »
You should be able to find used outerwear for the kids. Might have to go online. Might also be able to find stuff for you and DW used. How often will you use snow pants? (They're a lot more expensive than I think you're thinking, at least the ones I've seen.)

Check the website/call the ski resort and find out what can be rented.

As far as layers, you can probably do this pretty well with what you have already. Plus, it depends on how cold it is. When I've gone skiing I frequently ended up overheated.

Seconded on the lessons. All of you should take lessons, even if you don't think you need to. Plus, that removes the layer of the kids disobeying you just because you're their parents.

Askel

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2021, 03:52:33 PM »
Another benefit to lessons: ski school instructors can be wonderful sources of information about the ski resort- where the good runs are hidden as well as good places to eat in town cheap (many ski school instructors I know are very frugal out of necessity).   

TrMama

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2021, 04:05:22 PM »
Skied for several years with my kids. DH doesn't ski, so it was just me.

Ditto the advice to put the kids in group lessons. They'll listen to the instructor better and will try harder so as not to look like babies in front of the other kids. Ditto for you and your wife. Although in your cases it's so you don't blow your ACL on day 1.

Rent anything that can be rented. Helmets included. If you decide you like skiing, you can buy all the crap you want later; including a larger car to haul it all.

For the kids, used clothes or Walmart level stuff will be fine. You only need waterproof gear if it's going to be raining. Kids goggles are also pretty cheap. However, if any of you wear glasses make sure to get goggles that are compatible with glasses. They should have a little notch in the side to allow the arm of the glasses to fit into. Also make sure you have a pair of glasses that have smaller lenses so they actually fit inside the goggles. Many frame styles right now are ginormous and won't work well with goggles.

For under layers, I like thin tights that have no seams on the lower legs. The seams can create a painful pressure ridge inside my ski boots. If your friends have any long ski socks they're willing to lend you, wear them. They're thicker on the shins and will make the uncomfortable rental boots less hideous.

Gloves - Gloves all suck. Get mittens because they're warmer. Your fingers keep each other warm. Also, don't be afraid to get larger mitts for the kids. They'll grow into them and they don't need any dexterity anyway.

Neck warmers - If it's cold, make sure everyone has a neck warmer. Basic polyester buffs are fine for coolish weather. If it's really cold (-10C or lower), get polar fleece neck warmers. You'll also want thin hats to wear under your helmets.

Cold kids are whiny kids. They can't always tell you they're cold, but if you can keep them warm they'll probably be happy. My kids need hot chocolate infusions in the lodge every 2 hours or they revolt.

NextTime

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2021, 06:12:40 PM »
We are pretty decided on going with lessons for all of us, though I've heard it's quite expensive.

I'm also pretty set on a pair of snow pants. I'm looking at some in the $40-$60 range. Every year I go out in the snow and wish I had a pair. They will serve a purpose beyond just this ski trip.

Good news is I have some time to look for deals.

Thanks for the info. Keep it coming.


Steeze

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2021, 07:54:27 PM »
We are pretty decided on going with lessons for all of us, though I've heard it's quite expensive.

I'm also pretty set on a pair of snow pants. I'm looking at some in the $40-$60 range. Every year I go out in the snow and wish I had a pair. They will serve a purpose beyond just this ski trip.

Good news is I have some time to look for deals.

Thanks for the info. Keep it coming.

I have been a ski/snowboard bum for 20 years, lived in ski towns, taught snowboarding for 10 years, and also sold snowboarding gear and outerwear. My perspective is from someone who is skiing 50-100 days a year, camping, hiking, etc in their gear. Might be a bit overkill for what you need.

In my experience there is a sweet spot in the $200 range for pants and jackets (each), but you can find stuff on sale. Most of the <$100 range stuff is pretty low quality. The stuff in the $500-$1000+ range just isn’t much better than the mid range stuff, or is way overkill for what normal people are doing. Kills me when I see expedition jackets in a nyc subway. I would actually try to convince people not to buy these $1000+ jackets even though the commission was better.

For the kids I would say cheaper stuff is fine, they will use a couple times and grow out of it. 5 year old can get a 1-piece and save some money. Used, big box stores, etc. all in play. Probably around $100 for a low end set of ski pants and a cheap jacket.

For the adults it’s worth spending a little extra if you will use it for years. Look for jackets and pants with a waterproof rating of 10,000mm+. Look at ski & snowboarding brands for good mid range pricing and high quality (burton, dakine, spyder come to mind). Outdoor gear brands like arc’taryx, north face, Patagonia, etc. make excellent gear but the price point makes it not worth it in my opinion.

Personally I almost exclusively buy burton gear for jackets, pants, and gloves. I think the quality is really high and the price point is fair, and sales are plentiful. I wouldn’t buy anything less than 20,000mm waterproofing for pants and 10,000mm waterproofing for a jacket for myself. Could get into quality pants and jacket for $300-400 on sale for both with msrp in the $500-600 range. I would expect to get 300+ days on snow before this stuff was starting to ware out. Although my go-to jacket is in the 500+ days range now and still going strong, I’ve had it 15+ years now. I wouldn’t touch anything from Walmart, Costco or similar. Anything that is being advertised with more than 20k waterproofing is either stupid expensive or they are lying (probably).

Also, jackets and pants are meant to be waterproof shells. They do not need to keep you warm. The layers underneath will provide your insulation. Avoid buying big thick heavily insulated jackets, once you get moving they make you sweat and you will get cold when you stop moving. There is a big difference in needs between standing outside and skiing. You create a lot of heat while skiing.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2021, 07:56:55 PM by Steeze »

Telecaster

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2021, 08:28:50 PM »
Neck warmers - If it's cold, make sure everyone has a neck warmer.

Or even a turtle neck shirt.  It is hard to emphasize how much warmer you'll be if your neck is warm.  My neck gaiter is a critical piece of ski gear.

Also, jackets and pants are meant to be waterproof shells. They do not need to keep you warm. The layers underneath will provide your insulation. Avoid buying big thick heavily insulated jackets, once you get moving they make you sweat and you will get cold when you stop moving. There is a big difference in needs between standing outside and skiing. You create a lot of heat while skiing.

^ This.  The baselayer is the part the keeps you warm.  Might be prudent to invest in an extra set of base layer, or stay at a place with a washer/dryer because the baselayer is going to get sweaty. 

Scotchgarde and equivalent products work well to add water proofing to the shell.  So I'm not that hung up on the factory waterproof rating.  Might have to reapply, but that's easy enough. 

Re:  Googles.  You don't really need them unless it is snowing, and I prefer to ski without them.  You do need eye protection (sunglasses) though. 

Also consider a backpack /fanny pack.  Makes it easier to layer up and down, store sunscreen, snacks, water, etc. 

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2021, 09:21:17 PM »
We've skied a lot with our kids (now teens). We buy base layers at Costco (32 degrees) & for not terribly cold ski days, Costco actually sells winter ski coats for kids, & I just saw them last week at our local Costco. They aren't going to get you through a super cold/windy day, but for a regular ski day in November, I'd say they'd be fine. They often sell kids ski pants as well, and are a great deal. Our kids ski with a base layer of pants, then ski pants. A base layer top, a fleece (sometimes remove at lunch) & a ski coat. High quality are socks are worth investing in for everyone, and can be used for numerous things.

I'd ask on a local Buy Nothing or neighborhood group for kids ski gear people are looking to pass on, and/or attempt to buy used if at all possible. Adult stuff is a little harder. I'd borrow from friends, and/or look for inexpensive stuff, until you get through your first trip.

habanero

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2021, 03:30:13 AM »
What you actually need in terms of clothing is very hard to answer up-front because it is to quite some extent dependent on the weather when you go. The basic principle is anyway a windproof/waterproof outer shell and layers as needed underneath. You are generally fine as long as you actually ski, the cold part is riding chairlifts. I strongly prefer a jacket with hood large enough to go over the helmet and adjustments to get a snug fit, it makes a big difference in shitty weather.  I buy mostly outdoor gear brand stuff (Arc'Teryx in my case for the outer layer) which prob costs more than it's actually worth, but I use it a lot. There are good mid-range stuff to be found at half the price and in most conditions there won't be much difference and in those conditions where it does you prob won't go to the mountain anyway. I once forgot my bad-ass shell jacket when going hiking for a week and ended up buying one for 100 bucks en route (local brand name so prob won't mean anything for US folks), it was suprisingly good with taped zippers, ventilation and most of the bells and whistles earlier only found on high-end gear so prob a lot has happened in the lower range. I use this quite a lot since buying it as it's lighter and has softer fabric than the Arc'Teryx one I also have.

I always ski with a small backpack with extra clothing, mittens (I ski in gloves but have mittens if it gets too cold), a water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses and maybe some snack/food. If it's small one you don't even need to take it off when riding a chairlift unless the resort requires it (the straps can get stuck in the chair making you look rather stupid and require the staff to stop the lift).

Rent or borrow gear as much as you can. If it becomes more regular, consider buying.

I'd rather buy shell pants / shell jacket than insulated "snow" clothing as the former is more versatile. You can always add layers underneath but if the insulated jacket gets too warm it's much harder to deal with. Good shell clothing can be used in bad weather all year, snow clothing can only be used in the winter as it's too warm otherwise and might even be too warm for winter use. Skiing doesn't really mean cold, the season is long and early spring days can be pretty warm. Come think of it I haven't owned insulated winter pants in  almost 30 years I think.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 06:44:11 AM by habanero »

svosavvy

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2021, 06:02:29 AM »
Yeah, if it were me I would rent what I could until you discover you have caught the ski bug.  Nice part about the rental fees is you can wrap them up in the trip cost category in your mind.  I have caught the bug.  I rented my skis and boots when I started and I thought they were awesome.  Now it's like I can't believe people use that rental crap.  Renting first lets you figure out in a cost effective way what you like and don't like.  Then you can go down that rabbit hole. 

Yeah lessons for the kids.  I have great kids but I can't tell them anything about skiing.  They will however listen to an instructor.    Borrow some stuff from fancy ski friends.  I have been having really good luck buying second hand gear on eBay lately.  It's like the fancy pants gear nuts have been selling their hand me downs like crazy.  I would score goggles there.  Only bad part is lots of your savings gets eaten up in shipping.  One thing I would say is staying dry is key to comfort.  Make sure the seat of your snow pants is waterproof.  The wet ass special is what generally wrecks a day for me.  A lot of times the staff is not great at cleaning off the chairs and you sit in a nice 3" of snow on your chair ride.  Ass melts the snow then you are in a mud puddle by the top.  No joke I would fill a cookie sheet half full of water and sit in it with your snow pants on for a couple minutes.  If water gets in waterproof the heck out of it.  You can probably stay warm for 2-3 days with the winter gear you own.  Your instructor will tell you foot comfort keeps you on the slope.  If the boots aren't feeling good address it early so you don't wreck your feet.  If you catch the bug do a big gear buy in the spring.  The big ski stores generally deep discount unsold gear before they go into hibernation for the summer.  Have fun. 

svosavvy

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2021, 06:37:17 AM »
I have also had some luck with an online company from the midwest called "the house."  It is really hit and miss though.  They sell everything.  High quality but also really really low quality as well so you have to watch out.  They have pretty cheap goggles there too.  I have had good luck with lower end giro goggles for like 30 bucks.  They scratch easy though.  I don't like Treviso, anon, Chamonix.  Their stuff seems really cheesy.  Another here mentioned Burton.  They seem like the sweet spot for quality and value.  My daughter loves boulder gear snow pants and jackets.  She bought a cute pair of mint green snow pants in Vermont and has used them for years.  I am an overweight middle aged white guy so Eddie Bauer stuff was made for me.  I scored mountaineering pants from one of their outlets and they work good for my outer shell.

clarkfan1979

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2021, 09:26:33 AM »
Did you buy the season pass? The Keystone Plus Pass is $327. Nov 26 & 27 are blocked out. A daily lift ticket is going to be around $165/day if you don't buy it in advance. If you buy it at least 7 days in advance, it's around $125.

The pass pays for itself if you go 3 days or more.

Skiing in Colorado is super crowded on Thanksgiving Weekend. I avoid it. Please plan on extra time for everything. You are going to be waiting in lines all weekend.

I'm not trying to be a negative Nancy. I hope you have fun. Spring break is way better than thanksgiving break. 200% better.

Dee18

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2021, 09:44:53 AM »
Do get helmets for the adults as well.  My daughter's best friend, 25 years old, fit, and an experienced skier, had a bad fall in February.  She broke her leg, had a concussion and a brain bleed.  6 months later she still cannot concentrate enough to do her job as an engineer.  And she does not have disability insurance (despite working for a major company).

jeninco

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2021, 10:22:18 AM »
Too bad you're not going to get there a day early -- there's a consignment store in Frisco (last I checked) and probably also one in Silverthorne. Consignment stores near ski areas are generally well stocked with kid gear that just gets left in the ski towns.

One thing I wanted to bring up was that your kids (especially the younger one) may get cold hands, which will lead to the rest of the day absolutely sucking for them. Or they may run warm, in which case they'll sweat through their mittens/gloves, which will make them wet, which will lead to the rest of the day sucking. If you can figure out which situation is going to be yours, you can choose hand-wear appropriate and/or get an extra pair and either put them in a little backpack or leave them wherever the ski school will have lunch.

Also, Nth-ing the "Put the kids in ski school" advice. They'll learn lots, it's social, most of the instructors are pretty good (both at making it fun and at teaching skiing) and they'll have found secret stashes to show you at the end of the day. On a related note, make sure you save at least a run or two in your legs so the kids can show you their secret stashes after their lessons are over.

And plan to have a great time! As @clarkfan1979 says, it'll be crowded, so plan to kick back, be a bit chill, and have fun however the weather and crowds work out!

habanero

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2021, 11:49:08 AM »
A daily lift ticket is going to be around $165/day if you don't buy it in advance. If you buy it at least 7 days in advance, it's around $125.

Holy fuck. Is this due to a special weekend or is it the regular rate?


youngwildandfree

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2021, 12:07:59 PM »
Please wear helmets! Renting them is fine. A rented helmet is better than a cheap helmet. Moisture wicking layers (wool, polypro, etc) will make a huge difference no matter the weather because they will keep you and the kiddos DRY which is the number one goal for prolonging outdoor winter fun. Wet skin = cold unhappy people.

Don't over-schedule. As others have said, you will be dealing with crowds and trying out brand new activities. If you pack too much into one day people will get cranky. Keep in mind a lot of people get altitude sickness the first day. Be careful how much you drink!

Have fun. :)

sixwings

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2021, 03:45:26 PM »
Mittens are better than fingered gloves. Your fingers are less likely to get cold if they are all together. I also have 2 pairs, one for the morning and one for the afternoon. There's very little worse than putting your hand into a sopping wet cold glove after you just had a lovely lunch and got all warm.

When planning my clothing/equipment I always start at my feet and work my way up my body. So start with good warm wool socks, then legs, then torso, then head. Helmets are a very good idea, probably mandatory, same with goggles or sunglasses. Do not ski without them or let your kids ski without them, when i was in grade 8 i spent a day skiing on a sunny day with no sunglasses or goggles and my eyes have permanent UV damage as a result. Lessons are a great idea too and will let you ski a lot more as lessons usually get to skip the lift line ups.

Also your kids will love it, skiing is my favorite outdoor activity so be prepared for them to love it.

Be prepared that the snowpack may not be great so look into other non-ski activities. Late November is very much early season so be prepared for that. The average base depth in november in keystone is 23" so there might not be much more open than the bunny hill (which would still be a lot of fun for newbies). I'll keep my fingers crossed that you get some big dumps of snow before hand!

Also dont rent from the resort, rent demo ski's from a local provider. You'll get waaaaaaay better equipment for the same cost. And dont plan to pick them up on the morning of your first ski day, pick them up the day before so it's one less thing to do or worry about and you'll get better bang for buck. Rental places are a zoo in the morning and can take hours to get out of.

Also get shell clothing and layer up. Shell clothing is more versatile for future use whereas snowpants can really only be used in snow. I use my rain jacket and rain pants and have layers underneath. I ski 30+ days a year in that. I then use that equipment for other stuff throughotu the year like hiking, etc.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2021, 03:57:08 PM by sixwings »

JJ-

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2021, 04:00:31 PM »
I have seen / heard some people renting snow gear like pants and jackets. If you don't have this stuff already there are a number of outfitters in CO that rent the stuff.

Not sure on the value.

All the hard ski gear can be rented at the resort.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2021, 04:09:48 PM »
A daily lift ticket is going to be around $165/day if you don't buy it in advance. If you buy it at least 7 days in advance, it's around $125.
Holy fuck. Is this due to a special weekend or is it the regular rate?
That's regular rate. Some places, like Vail, are now well over $200 a day.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2021, 04:23:27 PM »
My family and friend's family had an annual ski trip out west for several years. It was great, and once the kids got older instead of giving presents for Christmas we just went skiing.

My suggestions for next year would be:

1. November is so-so for Colorado/Utah, Christmas through mid-March are usually much better.
2. Get seasons passes for the hardcore skiers, and use the associated buddy passes for those who ski fewer days.
3. If you enjoy it, take lessons at a cheap local hill. Paying $150+ a day when you are only on one or two runs is a waste.
4. If you want to get non-skiers involved, consider Lake Tahoe. The rooms tend to be cheaper, and the casinos are a draw for those who don't want to hit the slopes.
5. The first big piece of ski equipment to considering buying for the adults is ski boots. Take your time shopping, try on every pair in the store(s), and don't even look at the price. Having so-so boots can make your trip miserable.

Captain FIRE

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2021, 08:01:35 PM »
Lots of good advice so far.

Second in particular to:
- Wear a helmet.  30 years ago I didn't wear one either, but now I do.  It's required some places.
- Wet bum will make the day miserable.  Make sure you have waterproof pants.  x1000 if it's a wet/snowy day.  See above advice on avoiding it.  If you're beginner skiers, you're more apt to fall down a lot and really push the waterproofing of your snowpants.
- You also want dry/warm hands and feet.  For hands, look for gloves with liners.  If you're getting sweaty, pull out the liners.  If cold, wear both.
- Feet.  Your friends should have ski socks you could borrow.  Consider getting the 50 cent hand warmers for your feet.  Also, don't wear jean or if you do, be really careful how you stuff them into your boots so they don't hurt.  I often do a thin layer of leggings and pants (or jeans with a fold over, not stuffed in...) under the snowpants.  Remind your kids occasionally to wiggle your toes to keep to keep them warm.

Facemasks are a necessity IMO if you have glasses/contacts. 

Neck warmers are awesome and worth getting/borrowing.

If you get hot you can unzip, but once you're cold on the mountain it's harder to add layers (need to go into the lodge to get more gear).

Ask around your friends for gear to borrow.  Avoid cotton.  If you hike, those layers are likely good ski layers.

Make sure to have snacks to fuel the kids on the slopes if they are hungry (outside of lessons).

You'll be tired out after skiing particularly where you're unaccustomed to it.  Plan easy meals for dinner, quick for breakfast.  You can bring a cooler with sandwiches to the lodge, which will be faster than waiting in line for food (in addition to cheaper, of course).

mountainmama

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2021, 08:41:09 PM »
Don't forget to pack snacks for the kids that you can hand out at will. (Bars, chocolate, oranges).
I've had pretty good luck with Land's end snow pants for my kids. (Overalls!) They often have great sales in the fall.

I second having a good base layer. Will you use it for other activities? Camping, etc.? If so, buy something nice. Wool, if you can afford it. I also have a pair of REI midweights (polyester) that I find very comfortable.

And don't forget sunscreen! If you happen to out on a sunny day, the reflection from the snow may catch you unaware.

FINate

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2021, 09:55:08 PM »
You've been given good advice on gear. I just want to highlight and agree with the following:

3. If you enjoy it, take lessons at a cheap local hill. Paying $150+ a day when you are only on one or two runs is a waste.

I skied a little in high school, switched to snowboarding for ~20 years, then went back to skiing last winter. Part of the reason for getting back into skiing was to get my kids into it. They are around the same age as yours.

Skiing is hard. And it's even harder to explain if you're not an expert -- ask me how I know :) Slight changes in body position, balance, ski angle and direction have a huge effect. A professional ski instructor can look at someone's form and know right away what the problems are.

So pay for group lessons. You'll learn the basics correctly, an important start. Oh, and as someone else mentioned, you're kids likely won't heed your instruction anyway.

Last winter my kids went from complete novices to intermediate-advanced skiers. But that was after 40 days on our local hill. The first ~5 days were pretty rough, and that was with private lessons (no group lessons last season due to COVID). Things started getting easier after that, and they really started to have fun with it after about day 10. They progressed rapidly after mastering parallel turns.

So set your expectations relatively low. If everyone is able to get their skis on/off, get up after falling, move around in the flats/slight uphill without too much drama, and snowplow down slight declines within the first 1-2 days then you're doing great! If by end of day 3 everyone can ride the easiest chairlift and snowplow down the bunny hill and make turns (snowplow turns, not parallel turns) then this is also great progress.

Which brings me back to YN's quote above: Indeed, you will likely be on one small section of the mountain. I'm not familiar with that specific resort, but you should see if they have special reduced price tickets for the bunny hill only. Or consider getting half day tickets. Realistically, when first starting out everything is strange and fatiguing, yet at the same time you're not really working hard so you get cold. Doing several half-days may be a much more enjoyable experience. And if you end while still having fun you're more likely to stick with it.

I don't want to dissuade you from skiing. It's a ton of fun. But also quite technical and nuanced, which is also part of the reason I love it.

habanero

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #26 on: September 23, 2021, 05:29:00 AM »
A daily lift ticket is going to be around $165/day if you don't buy it in advance. If you buy it at least 7 days in advance, it's around $125.
Holy fuck. Is this due to a special weekend or is it the regular rate?
That's regular rate. Some places, like Vail, are now well over $200 a day.

Wow, the European mega-resorts are generally like 70-85 bucks for a single day.

Captain FIRE

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #27 on: September 23, 2021, 09:42:56 AM »
A daily lift ticket is going to be around $165/day if you don't buy it in advance. If you buy it at least 7 days in advance, it's around $125.
Holy fuck. Is this due to a special weekend or is it the regular rate?
That's regular rate. Some places, like Vail, are now well over $200 a day.

Wow, the European mega-resorts are generally like 70-85 bucks for a single day.

Not to mention the runs are amazingly long.  I skiied at Davos in Switzerland once and was astonished at the length of a run.  At college, an international student once told me that you can ski down "village to village" and at the time, I was a bit skeptical...

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #28 on: September 23, 2021, 09:47:18 AM »
You've been given good advice on gear. I just want to highlight and agree with the following:

3. If you enjoy it, take lessons at a cheap local hill. Paying $150+ a day when you are only on one or two runs is a waste.

I skied a little in high school, switched to snowboarding for ~20 years, then went back to skiing last winter. Part of the reason for getting back into skiing was to get my kids into it. They are around the same age as yours.

Skiing is hard. And it's even harder to explain if you're not an expert -- ask me how I know :) Slight changes in body position, balance, ski angle and direction have a huge effect. A professional ski instructor can look at someone's form and know right away what the problems are.

So pay for group lessons. You'll learn the basics correctly, an important start. Oh, and as someone else mentioned, you're kids likely won't heed your instruction anyway.

Last winter my kids went from complete novices to intermediate-advanced skiers. But that was after 40 days on our local hill. The first ~5 days were pretty rough, and that was with private lessons (no group lessons last season due to COVID). Things started getting easier after that, and they really started to have fun with it after about day 10. They progressed rapidly after mastering parallel turns.

So set your expectations relatively low. If everyone is able to get their skis on/off, get up after falling, move around in the flats/slight uphill without too much drama, and snowplow down slight declines within the first 1-2 days then you're doing great! If by end of day 3 everyone can ride the easiest chairlift and snowplow down the bunny hill and make turns (snowplow turns, not parallel turns) then this is also great progress.

Which brings me back to YN's quote above: Indeed, you will likely be on one small section of the mountain. I'm not familiar with that specific resort, but you should see if they have special reduced price tickets for the bunny hill only. Or consider getting half day tickets. Realistically, when first starting out everything is strange and fatiguing, yet at the same time you're not really working hard so you get cold. Doing several half-days may be a much more enjoyable experience. And if you end while still having fun you're more likely to stick with it.

I don't want to dissuade you from skiing. It's a ton of fun. But also quite technical and nuanced, which is also part of the reason I love it.

This is great advice. I also skiied lots as a child and teen, then didn't ski at all till my kids were old enough to learn. The first day trip we took to the ski hill, all we did was go tubing. It was a completely different area from where I grew up skiing and frankly, just getting us there was enough challenge for me on Day 1. I'm also not sure how long you're planning on go for, but even as an experienced skiier, I can't do more than 3 consecutive days without a day off.

This thread is making me want to buy season's passes.

NextTime

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #29 on: September 23, 2021, 10:11:53 AM »
I have also had some luck with an online company from the midwest called "the house."  It is really hit and miss though.  They sell everything.  High quality but also really really low quality as well so you have to watch out.  They have pretty cheap goggles there too.  I have had good luck with lower end giro goggles for like 30 bucks.  They scratch easy though.  I don't like Treviso, anon, Chamonix.  Their stuff seems really cheesy.  Another here mentioned Burton.  They seem like the sweet spot for quality and value.  My daughter loves boulder gear snow pants and jackets.  She bought a cute pair of mint green snow pants in Vermont and has used them for years.  I am an overweight middle aged white guy so Eddie Bauer stuff was made for me.  I scored mountaineering pants from one of their outlets and they work good for my outer shell.

I've noticed that website in my google searches and the prices seemed to good to be true. So it is a legitimate site then?

mountainmama

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2021, 10:23:30 AM »
Piping in again to say that the annual pass mentioned above for Keystone is a fantastic deal.  Otherwise, picking the right resort for your first family ski trip can have a HUGE impact on your wallet and how much fun you have. I've never been to Keystone, so I don't know it's logistics or peripheral costs. (Lodging, etc.) However, I know the ski resorts in my area. I know that the two biggest ski resorts cost $100 plus/day and finding lodging to walk to the slopes for less than $200/room per night is impossible. These two have terrain that advanced skiers will really enjoy.

However, there are also 2 'local' resorts with small mountains (read approachable and fun for beginners and kids!) Kids (I think it's under 10) ski for free and adult tickets were $40 last year. 1 of them has affordable lodging at the base. My kids had a BLAST at this mountain last year. It's small enough that I let my 9yo ski with his friends without me. (He's been skiing since he was 4, but I won't let him do that at the bigger mountains.) And there was plenty to ski for a beginning adult friend and my 6yo.

NextTime

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2021, 10:37:05 AM »
Wow.  Thanks for the great info everybody.  I am taking a lot of notes.
Prior to starting this thread, I did buy a few things already based on my own google research, so would welcome any comments on whether they were good choices, or whether I should return and look elsewhere.


I purchased this coat (Columbia Whirlibird Interchange IV), brand new, from an ebay seller for only $100 (still haven't received it). We ordered one full price from Amazon Prime Wardrobe for my wife to get her size. We will then probably buy it elsewhere. We also did Prime Wardrobe for some Columbia snow pants for both of us to get our size.

https://www.amazon.com/Columbia-Whirlibird-Interchange-Collegiate-Mountain/dp/B07JCGR2HV/ref=sr_1_4?crid=1NVW71IEIQJ83&dchild=1&keywords=columbia+whirlibird+iv&qid=1632414308&sprefix=columbia+whirlib%2Caps%2C187&sr=8-4

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B076X2C8J8/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1


I purchased this jacket for DS. The friends we are going with got this for their son last year and said it worked really well. It will also be his winter coat for this year and probably next. These friends also have a pair of snow pants their son has grown out of that may work for DS

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D4CRLWF/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1


And we got these gloves (DS) and mittens (DD) for the kids. I'm not sure about them so please chime in on whether they are a good choice

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DW2GOJO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0063M6Y72/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1


And I purchased this helmet/goggle set for DD, brand new on ebay for only $30. I'm a little skeptical, but can always send it back if it is counterfeit.

https://www.amazon.com/Wildhorn-Spire-Helmet-Goggles-Youth/dp/B07WRSMW32/ref=sr_1_3_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=Wildhorn+Spire+Snow+Ski+Helmet&qid=1632414876&sr=8-3-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyNTA2NFg1NTNPOFJPJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMTc5MTYxMk1RMTFPUEQ5RjVLNSZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNTI0NDMxMUoxUkpQWEkyNlRSNCZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=




NextTime

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2021, 10:40:03 AM »
Piping in again to say that the annual pass mentioned above for Keystone is a fantastic deal.  Otherwise, picking the right resort for your first family ski trip can have a HUGE impact on your wallet and how much fun you have. I've never been to Keystone, so I don't know it's logistics or peripheral costs. (Lodging, etc.) However, I know the ski resorts in my area. I know that the two biggest ski resorts cost $100 plus/day and finding lodging to walk to the slopes for less than $200/room per night is impossible. These two have terrain that advanced skiers will really enjoy.

However, there are also 2 'local' resorts with small mountains (read approachable and fun for beginners and kids!) Kids (I think it's under 10) ski for free and adult tickets were $40 last year. 1 of them has affordable lodging at the base. My kids had a BLAST at this mountain last year. It's small enough that I let my 9yo ski with his friends without me. (He's been skiing since he was 4, but I won't let him do that at the bigger mountains.) And there was plenty to ski for a beginning adult friend and my 6yo.


The location is already set in stone by our friends. They have season passes and we've paid for the VRBO. I'll be checking out the website today.

https://www.keystoneresort.com/


habanero

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2021, 01:39:05 PM »
Not to mention the runs are amazingly long.  I skiied at Davos in Switzerland once and was astonished at the length of a run.  At college, an international student once told me that you can ski down "village to village" and at the time, I was a bit skeptical...

The longest is in Zermatt, Switzerland. Supposed to be longest in the world. You start at 3.900m (12.830ft) in Switzerland  and end up at 1.600m (5.260 ft) in Italy The length is 20km (13 miles).

I sort of knew lift pass prices in the US were pretty steep, but I didn't know it was that bad. But the season pass deals seem good.

Dee18

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2021, 02:52:53 PM »
I hope you have a wonderful trip NextTime and I hope you tell us all about it when you return. 

Itsmylife

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2021, 06:12:31 PM »
I was in a similar situation the first ski trip we took (Tahoe)  This is what has worked for DD (6 to 13 years) and us.
Ski bib - on sale from Lands End - yes waterproof needed
Jacket - squall from Lands End - yes waterproof needed
Waterproof mittens and fleece gaiter - Lands end
(Scarves are a hazard)
Leggings + long sleeve shirts - it gets very warm in the lodge so not too thick.
Cheap fleece gloves and hat for non ski times.

I like the pockets on the squall jackets - there is enough space to store lip balm, gloves, fleece when not on use.  I liked the bib too - it was easy to attach the ski passes.

Lip balm and Aquafor.

Woolen socks from TJ Max
Ski googles from Amazon
The hand warmer packs were used some - not much.

I bought Lands End gear on sale with extra discount.  Sold the whole set once DD outgrew the sizes and bought the next size up.  I kept mine.

We rented the skis, boots and helmets.

Pack a lots of snacks, water bottles to refill and thermos for hot water.  Gets hot cocoa packets and make your own.  Food is expensive in the lodges are the lines are long.  I saw some folks brings noodle cups and use hot water (available for free) to make noodles.  One family brought in a large tote with all their gear + snacks which I thought was smart - they left in the lodge in a corner.  It took two people to carry the tote between them but they had a lot of stuff

HTH and have fun!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 06:18:13 PM by Itsmylife »

Villanelle

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2021, 06:29:12 PM »
IME, many, many people own ski gear and use it rarely or not at all.  Ask around and borrow what you can. Many people will likely be happy to lend out these items that are gathering dust.  For the first trip when you have no idea you will all enjoy it, try not to buy anything at all.

Captain FIRE

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2021, 08:47:53 PM »
The longest is in Zermatt, Switzerland. Supposed to be longest in the world. You start at 3.900m (12.830ft) in Switzerland  and end up at 1.600m (5.260 ft) in Italy The length is 20km (13 miles).

I sort of knew lift pass prices in the US were pretty steep, but I didn't know it was that bad. But the season pass deals seem good.

Yeah I was a young'un back then (and slept in as a result so had a *very* late start to the day at 11AM) but I was so exhausted at the end!

That season pass is a great deal.  The resort near my folks we skied at some pre-pandemic and pre-kids is $619 for a pass with some holiday blackouts ($495 if you buy early) and $69 for a day pass.

Zamboni

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2021, 08:59:02 PM »
The crowds usually are not that heavy on Thanksgiving day itself. The day after is crazy, though.

Are you staying right there at the resort? Keystone is an extremely nice resort, and you will have fun. It's highly family-oriented. Their main hotel is quite nice and they have fun other things like pond ice skating (or at least they used too . . . not sure if it will be ready to go that early in the season). Their ski school is excellent, and they used to have this very fun little area for the smallest kids (it may still be there).

It probably won't be super cold at Keystone on Thanksgiving weekend.
Get thin socks that go up high on your legs for the ski boots. Nothing too tight around the calves . . . keep that circulation flowing. Seems counterintuitive, I know, but this socks pulled tight so no wrinkles. You can get expensive smartwool socks for another layer if you think it will be cold, but as beginners you will be staying near the bottom of the slopes and it just isn't that cold usually down there in Nov.
Get thin silky glove "liners" for you and your wife. I think of it as glove underwear for my hands. If it is quite warm, you can ski with just those, and if it is cold you can wear heavier gloves or mittens over the liners. I would view those as more of an investment since you can use them for other things.
Get ski pants with an adjustable waistband (some have velcro, some have snaps at various level of pinching in, etc.) I find that my ski pants like to fall down once I start moving around a lot, so I just cinch them up more.  Tuck in your base layer shirt.

The younger child will likely just stay in their super cute little kid ski school zone. Encourage that. Don't try to ski with the littlest one yourself. 

Assume it will take way longer to get everyone dressed and equipped and going than you think. Start as early as possible and quit as soon as anyone is feeling tired or not having fun. Don't overdo it! Definitely don't force anyone to keep skiing if they are not having that much fun just because you bought the ticket and it was expensive. Most of the time we had fun as kids, but I had some bad days skiing as a child where I wanted to stop after 1 run because I was miserable for one reason or another, and my Dad was always cool about it. Also I had mostly really good ski school experiences but I also had a few times where I was upset (especially when I was really little). My Dad always checked up on me after the first hour or so, and the few times I was distressed he just said "okay, you don't have to stay here, wanna go get a hot dog with me?" Be that guy.

Keystone is a great place for a first family ski trip. Totally fantastic. But, the end of the day (3pm and later) has historically been particularly dangerous for skiers at Keystone because of the way all of the runs funnel together near the bottom of the slopes causing too much congestion. This is for the main trails, so not a problem if you stay over on the totally bunny slope ("Discovery" lift area doesn't have this issue). But for the longer beginner trails near the bottom of the resort, black & Blue runs end up flowing onto the green runs and that is the way everyone has to go to get home at the end of the day. They try really to get people to slow down with big signs but it doesn't really work. Seriously just stop skiing before the late afternoon time at Keystone. Get your day off to a super early start and don't feel bad if everyone is tired and ready to hit the hot chocolate by 2:30 pm Not trying to scare you, but  I've been concerned for my own safety near the bottom of that area late in the day and I have the skills to maneuver very quickly. It's a somewhat unique problem there due to their trail configuration.

Those single day lift ticket prices are absurd.

I'm sticking to skiing at Loveland. The main reason I want to get old is so I can get the super cheap Loveland senior annual ski pass. The multi-area passes for residents are also a great deal if you ski quite a bit and want more variety . . . although these areas are so big, do you really need more than one place?

svosavvy

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2021, 07:04:40 AM »
I have also had some luck with an online company from the midwest called "the house."  It is really hit and miss though.  They sell everything.  High quality but also really really low quality as well so you have to watch out.  They have pretty cheap goggles there too.  I have had good luck with lower end giro goggles for like 30 bucks.  They scratch easy though.  I don't like Treviso, anon, Chamonix.  Their stuff seems really cheesy.  Another here mentioned Burton.  They seem like the sweet spot for quality and value.  My daughter loves boulder gear snow pants and jackets.  She bought a cute pair of mint green snow pants in Vermont and has used them for years.  I am an overweight middle aged white guy so Eddie Bauer stuff was made for me.  I scored mountaineering pants from one of their outlets and they work good for my outer shell.
Yes it is a legitimate site and they are owned by a really big outdoor company parent that does mostly like RV stuff.  I scored a set of clearance Fischer boots for 99 bucks three years ago.  Still using them.  I have Sasquatch feet which is a love/hate thing.  When I don't need footgear there is clearance galore.  When I desperately need can never find my size.  Like I said there is a lot of crap for sale there so you have to know quality.  I really don't like buying boots online because the fit is all over the place but for the price I took a flyer and it worked out.  Just a side note: for me I always am interested in the "last" measurement (ski talk for boot width).  There are a lot of skinny boots out there.  Low flex (<125) numbers are good for beginners and generally cheaper.  Fat middle aged white dudes who ski like their body is still indestructible need a higher flex.  That and ice, ace bandages, a good orthopedist etc...
I've noticed that website in my google searches and the prices seemed to good to be true. So it is a legitimate site then?

trollwithamustache

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Re: First Family Ski Vacation Advice on What to Buy
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2021, 02:26:13 PM »
you can rent everything. Like ski pants/jacket/gloves ect. No point in buying the kids specialty gear, they will grow out of it.

We used to use sports basement, but I don't know if they ship to your local.
https://rentals.sportsbasement.com/product/301



 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!