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Buying Vs. Renting Snowboards: What Makes More Sense?

Buying Vs. Renting Snowboards: What Makes More Sense?

Should you purchase your snowboarding equipment or rent it? That is a common question that many new snowboarders are faced with. Let’s break down the pros and cons of buying vs renting snowboards. 

For a beginner snowboarder it is best to rent a snowboard and gear for the first season. Once they that they love the sport and will be snowboarding at least 3-5 times per year, then it will be more cost effective and convenient to purchase their own snowboard and gear. 

While this might seem pretty straight forward, there are actually many different pros and cons to buying vs renting snowboards.

You don’t want to buy your snowboard right from the start and you also don’t want to just keep wasting your money by renting your gear each time. 

In this article I am going to break down the pros and cons of purchasing your snowboard gear and explain how you will know exactly when you should stop renting and just buy your gear.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Buying Vs Renting Snowboards

There are many pros and cons when it comes to purchasing your snowboard.

Some of the important things to consider are the cost, quality, and convenience. 

The decision to purchase snowboard will be different for each person’s budget and how much they plan on snowboarding each year. 

One of the first things that many people wonder when considering buying a snowboard is the cost. 

Man snowboarding on a hill with trees in the background.

Is it cheaper to rent your snowboard or purchase?

The table below shows an average cost of buying vs renting snowboards so that you can get a better idea of what it costs for each. 

It breaks down the cost to rent each type of snowboard gear into a per day price and per season price and compares it to the average cost of purchasing the same equipment. 

To calculate the per season price we are calculating the rental price of what you would cost for 5 days of renting gear since this is an average number of how many times someone might snowboard each season.  

Equipment TypeRental Price
(per day)
Season Rental Price
(5 days)
Cost to Purchase
Snowboard$30$150$400
Boots$20$100$190
Helmet$10$45$60
Total:$50$295$650
Prices to Rent Vs. Buy Snowboard and Gear

Looking at The Numbers 

As you can see in the table above it is much cheaper to rent vs buy.

You can expect to pay an average of $50 per day to rent your snowboard, boots and helmet. It would cost you about $650 to purchase that same gear. 

If we break it down into how much you can pay per season (5 days of snowboarding) it would cost you $295 to rent your snowboarding gear and about $650 to purchase all your gear. 

While this table isn’t exact prices, it gives you an idea of when it makes more sense to purchase or rent your snowboard. 

We can conclude that if you will be snowboarding 5 times per year the cost of renting your gear ($295/year) will be about the same price as purchasing ($650) after about 2 seasons. 

Days of Snowboarding Per Season

When comparing buying vs renting snowboards, you want to make sure that you consider how many day you will actually be snowboarding each season.

If you plan to snowboard a minimum of 5 days per season then you will hit your break even point of renting vs. buying a snowboard after about 2 years. 

If you knew that you would be snowboarding an average of 5 days per season and longer than 2 years, then financially it would make sense to purchase your equipment. 

Purchasing your snowboard and gear will be a bigger upfront cost, but will save you money in the long run. It really depends on how much you can currently afford to spend. 

Also, if you plan on snowboarding more or less than the 5 days per season then your break even point in the cost of your snowboard gear would be much faster or longer than the 2 years explained above. 

When you do decide to purchase your own snowboard, you can expect it to last about 10 years on average. With proper maintenance and care it might even last much longer than the average 10 years. 

The cost of buying vs renting a snowboard really comes down to how many days per season you will actually be snowboarding. 

If you will only be boarding 1 or 2 times each year it will probably be cheaper for you just to rent your gear.

If you plan on snowboarding much more than this then it financially makes sense to invest more money up front and save in the long run. 

While the cost of renting vs buying is a very important factor in your decision, there are many other things that you should consider when making your choice.

A close up of a snowboard that someone is wearing.

Renting Your Snowboard Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of renting your snowboard and gear.

Rental Pros

  • Lower upfront investment
  • Get to try before you buy
  • Don’t have to maintain equipment
  • Cheaper if you only go a few times a year
  • Don’t have to store and transport 

Rental Cons

  • Can be old and outdated
  • Very “one size fits all”
  • Take more time to get your gear
  • Riding a different snowboard each time

Beginner or Advanced Snowboarder

If you have never snowboarded before then I would not suggest buying your snowboard the first time out. 

In fact, beginner snowboarders should rent gear their first few times out, or even that first season of learning.

There are a few different reasons why this is suggested. 

First you need to make sure that you actually like snowboarding.

You don’t want to go invest $600+ in a snowboard, bindings, boots and a helmet and then decide that you don’t really love snowboarding after a few times of trying it out. 

You need to know that you love snowboarding and that you plan on boarding regularly each season for years to come before you think about investing in your own personal snowboard. 

However, if you have already been snowboarding for a year or so and you know that you love it, it might be time for you to start looking at buying your own gear. 

Another reason that you should wait until you have been boarding a few times before buying your snowboard is that it gives you the chance to try out a few different boards.

You get to see what you like and don’t like about different models and sizes.

This will help you to know exactly what size and models you will be looking to purchase when you are ready. 

A man snowboarding down a run at a ski resort.

Convenience of Buying vs. Renting a Snowboard

If you own your own gear then you will be responsible for maintaining it, storing it, and transporting it to the mountain each time you go. 

With rentals, you don’t have to worry about any of these things. You just pick them up in the morning and drop them off at the end of the day. 

On the other hand, if you are renting your gear, it can take more time and be much less convenient for last minute snowboarding trips. 

Many times you have to reserve your snowboard rental in advance, and then you might have to wait in long lines to pick up rental equipment. 

If you own your snowboard and gear you don’t have to worry about reservations or long lines.

You just arrive at the mountain and start snowboarding. 

As far as convenience goes, I would definitely say that it’s much more convenient to just have your own gear vs. renting. 

Quality of Snowboarding Gear

When you are renting your gear you are normally not going to get the greatest quality equipment. This is why it is an important factor when comparing the pros and cons of buying vs renting snowboards.

While you can pay a bit more to upgrade, rentals are just not normally going to be as good as purchasing your own snowboard gear.

If you are looking to rent higher quality gear then you should check your local ski shop in town.

Oftentimes the rentals that you find at your local “off the mountain” ski shop will be higher quality than the ones you rent up on the mountain. 

Purchasing your own gear will give you more control over the quality of the boots and board you will be using each time you go snowboarding. 

Consistency of Same Snowboard Each Time

When you are renting your snowboard and boots you never know how they are going to be set up and how it will fit. 

You might get different size or types of boards, and boots just don’t all fit the same. Each time you rent your equipment it will be different. 

When you buy your own snowboarding gear you will have the advantage of knowing exactly what to expect each time you go snowboarding. 

Your boots will fit the same, your board will always be the same and you don’t have to go through the hassle of figuring out how that day’s rental rides each time. 

I also think that it’s nice just to have your own gear eventually just because you don’t have to share it.

You know it’s clean, taken care of, and I personally think that it’s just much more convenient. 

Instead of worrying about your snowboarding gear, you can just focus on having fun! 

A man standing in the snow dressed in snowboard gear holding a snowboard.

Buying or Renting Snowboard Boots

If you have been snowboarding a few times already and you know that it is something that you love and will be making part of your life, then you should really consider just buying snowboard boots. 

Rental boots can be uncomfortable and you will never know how they are going to fit. If you own your own boots you can find ones that fit comfortably and you know that they will always be clean. 

If you have your own boots then you can just rent the snowboard itself. This way you will be sure that you have comfortable boots, but still be able to try out some different sizes and styles of boards. 

When you are buying boots you will want to try them on first. Go to your local ski shop and see what’s comfortable.

If you are going to purchase them online then give yourself plenty of time before your snowboard trip in case you need to ship them back and order different ones. 

When purchasing snowboard boots it’s really important that you find ones that fit good and are comfortable. 

Snowboard Gear To Buy First

It’s best to buy the snowboarding gear that you will actually be wearing first.

This works out well anyways because what you wear is normally cheaper than the snowboard itself. 

If you start buying the gear you wear a little at a time, then eventually you can buy your snowboard and have an entire setup.

This makes it a bit more affordable because you are just buying a little as you go versus buying it all at once. 

Purchase your pants, gloves, base layer, helmet, googles, and boots first. Your snowboard and bindings should be the last purchase that you make.  

How to Buy a Snowboard?

When you are ready to buy your first snowboard and bindings you will want to make sure that you are purchasing the right size.

The size of snowboard you need will be calculated on your height and weight. 

Also for a beginner snowboard you should be looking for freestyle or all-mountain snowboards.

These types of boards have a centered stance and are normally soft to medium flex.

You can look online for your snowboard. There are many online sites that sell snowboard and binding packages. 

Also, if you buy in the off season you can score a snowboard for much cheaper than buying peak season. 

This is another great reason why you might want to just rent the first season to see if you love snowboarding, and then when you know you do, you can buy your snowboard and bindings at a deep discount or clearance during spring or summer. 

Final Thoughts

If you are a beginner snowboarder it just makes more sense to rent your snowboard and gear until you have a little bit of experience and know that snowboarding is something that you will be doing regularly each season. 

Once you know that snowboarding is going to be a part of your life, then it just simply makes more sense to buy your own snowboard and gear.

Owning your own gear is more convenient, and affordable in the long run.

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