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How Much Do Skis Cost? (Buyer’s Guide & Tips)

Wondering how much a new pair of skis will cost you?

Whether you’re buying new skis, used skis, or just renting, things can get expensive quickly if you don’t know what to look for.

This quick guide will cover everything you need to know about the price of a good pair of skis, along with how to narrow down the confusing market based on your needs.

We’ll start with the short answer, then we’ll help you figure out what you actually need to spend.

The first step is determining which skis you need, then moving on to building a complete setup. You can’t use skis without ski boots, bindings, etc, so we’ll cover that part too.

Table of Contents

How Much Do Skis Cost? – The Quick Answer

In most cases, the average price range for a new pair of skis alone will start around $400 and rise to well over $1,000. Keep in mind that this price range is only for the actual skis, and doesn’t take into account other necessary gear like boots, bindings, poles, and other accessories.

On average, a brand new, full price ski/boot/binding setup can on cost anywhere from $600 on the low end to $1,500+ on the high end.

The most important cost factor for skis is their intended skill level use, as a beginner-level ski will typically be far cheaper than an expert-level ski. Along with a ski’s skill level, prices will vary based on materials, technology, brand name, and whether or not the ski is from the current season.

Used skis can be picked up at a fraction of the price of new skis, making them a good budget-saver for those who don’t need the newest, shiniest models. Buying used is an especially good option for beginners who may quickly outgrow their skis, as long as the buyer knows exactly what they need.

Unlike the cost of buying skis, the cost of renting skis is very hard to predict and is almost completely dependent on the resort or shop that you’re renting from. There are budget resorts that offer $20/day rental packages and there are ritzy resorts that offer $80+/day high-end rental packages.

Things to Consider When Setting Your Ski Budget

Figuring out how much money to spend on a ski setup can be surprisingly difficult for beginners. The market is vast and there are so many subtle differences from one piece of gear to another.

Your Ability Level

It’s absolutely critical to consider your personal ability level when shopping for skis. The biggest mistake you can make as a beginner is to buy a pair of skis that are built for a more advanced skier.

A novice skier will be miserable on a pair of performance skis.

Beginner skis have a softer, more forgiving flex and more shape than advanced performance skis. These features allow you to make smoother, easier turns, especially at the lower speeds that beginners will generally stick to.

Performance skis are intended for experienced users who ski faster and make more aggressive turns. For this type of skier, entry-level skis don’t offer enough stability.

Fortunately for new skiers, beginner skis are almost always significantly cheaper than performance skis. You can expect to pick up a pair of the season’s latest beginner-level skis starting around $400.

Your Weight

Next to your ability level, your weight is the most critical piece of the puzzle for finding the right pair of skis.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a heavier skier will exert more force than a lighter skier traveling down a slope. The higher the amount of force, the more the ski will flex.

A heavy skier (200lbs+) will often benefit from bumping up to a ski that’s slightly higher than their current ability level. For example, a 250lb person may want to go with an intermediate-level ski, even if they are brand new to the sport. Their extra weight will make the intermediate ski perform more like a beginner ski.

On the flip side, lighter skiers will sometimes consider dropping down to a ski that’s slightly below their ability level. A 105lb intermediate-level skier may find that they don’t exert enough to get an intermediate-level ski to flex the way they want it to.

Whether or Not You Need the Latest & Greatest

Since skiing is very seasonal, the newest products around the sport tend to roll out at the same time every year before the season kicks off. There are few discounts for those new releases, but their releases do create a lot of value for buyers who are willing to opt for last season’s models.

There are tons of leftovers each season, meaning that you can get an awesome deal on unsold skis, ski boots, and other gear from the prior season.

In many (maybe most) cases, there are little-to-no changes between an individual ski from year to year. Manufacturers will usually try to put some minor improvements into the new models, but it’s usually not enough to make you think twice about buying older stock.

Sometimes all a new model brings to the table is updated graphics. Sometimes it might bring new features that make it a totally different product. It’s always worth doing a little bit of research to find out what the balance really is.

The Cost of Ski Boots & Bindings

Now that you know what you’re looking for in skis, it’s time to build a full setup around them. You’ll need bindings, boots, and poles, but they’ll be a lot easier to narrow down now that you’ve got your skis to base them on.

Ski Boots

Like skis, ski boots are built for varying ability levels. That makes it easy for you to immediately eliminate all of the boot options outside of your ability level.

A beginner pair of brand new ski boots will start at about $200 on the lower end. Expert boots can easily be $500+.

Ski boots are the most important thing to get right. If there’s any piece of gear that you do not want to skimp on, it’s your boots.

A good pair of boots will perform well while keeping you comfortable. A bad pair of boots will make you wish you never left base camp.

Sizing ski boots is a whole separate issue and takes a higher level of care and skill than sizing skis. Everyone’s foot is different and there is really no sure-fire way to pick a boot without trying it on and seeing how it fits.

I recommend taking a look at Evo.com’s detailed guide on ski boot sizing if you plan to buy your boots without professional guidance. However, your best bet is always to find a professional ski boot fitter to help you find the perfect boot.

Ski Bindings

Your skis and your boots are useless without bindings, so that’s the obvious last step. Your bindings should also match your skis and your boots in intended ability level.

Beginner bindings will cost anywhere from $100 to $200 on average. Expert level bindings can be over $500. Depending on the shop you buy from, you may need to pay a bit extra to have your bindings mounted to your skis.

Choosing the right bindings is usually not difficult, as they’ll be categorized very similarly to the rest of your gear. You just want to be sure that you’re getting something appropriate for your skill level.

All bindings have an adjustable range of tightness, making it easier or harder for your ski to pop out when you fall or get into too much of a jam.

As a beginner, the last thing you want is an expert-level binding that doesn’t allow you to easily detach from your skis when you take a spill. Conversely, an expert skier would accidentally pop right out of beginner-level bindings when skiing aggressive terrain.

Don’t hesitate to ask a professional for help if you’re unsure of which binding makes the most sense. This is an important piece and you want to make sure that you’re choosing something that’s safe.

Ski Poles

Poles are the item that you can cheap out on without thinking twice. Unless you’re skiing the backcountry or doing something special, just go with something of the proper size that is inexpensive, light, and durable.

You can find brand new ski poles starting around $30 or so. There’s no reason to pay $100+ for poles unless you need something specialized or you just love the look of a certain pair.

Ski, Boot & Binding Packages

Most shops and online retailers offer packages that will include some variation of skis, boots, bindings, and even poles, premade for each ability level. Whether or not they are a good deal is 100% dependent on the retailer and the gear used in the package.

If you’re opting for a package, my advice would to figure out what ski boots you need first, then look for packages that include those exact boots. You don’t want to save $100 on a set package just to end up with a pair of boots that don’t fit correctly.

In all cases, price everything out separately, then compare the packages. You’ll find in many cases that you’re better off buying each piece individually. Just make sure you account for any extra costs (like have your bindings mounted).

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