While owning your own pair of skis may seem an attractive option, rentals can offer greater flexibility and access to the latest design technology, writes Myra Butterworth.
Product price range: Depends on the week you go skiing and discounts of 40 per cent available online
Product tested: Head Mya 6.5 & Rossignol 9SL
Price: 209€ (including boots) to hire for a week in March
Aspirational index: (4/5)
“People can get awfully snobby about what type of skis they have,” explained my ski instructor.
“They can verge on the overbearingly pretentious, describing their latest pair of skis in the same way as they would talk about a vintage red wine – be it with a hint of carver or a touch of slalom.
“At the end of the day, you need to go with what feels right to you,” he advised.
One of the great elements of renting skis is that you can try out different pairs to find exactly that – what works for you.
It was with this in mind that I approached the Precision Ski store on a recent skiing adventure to Val d’Isère to rent a pair of skis.
I admit to having my own boots having suffered at the hands of what resembled nothing more than a skin-tearing block of plastic with a couple of buckles on previous trips. But I’m still a long way off being good enough on the slopes to invest in my own skis.
And even if I was, I’m not sure I would want to invest £800 in a pair of skis that were perfect for certain conditions, only to fly out to a resort and find the snow conditions required a completely different type.
As such, renting allows for far more flexibility – something I intended to make full use of during the trip.
Renting also means you have access to the latest technology and you are not stuck with out of date skis that you bought two seasons ago.
It goes some way in explaining why Precision Ski rents out up to 18,000 pairs of skis every season in Val d’Isère.
The Precision Ski store I visited opened just a few months ago, meaning that all the equipment was new this year. It also sells luxury brands, including Spyder, Armani, Rossignol and Arpin. And for those that require ski boots, a fitting service is available.
The company explains it competes on rental price and quality service to help entice people into their stores and then tempt them with other products.
Darren Kennedy, of Precision Ski, said: “Since the introduction of modern carving skis, the ski hire industry has evolved and now it is possible to ski on modern well maintained equipment.
“And hiring your equipment means that you can change models according to the conditions and you don’t have to worry about ski carriage and servicing costs.”
Having learnt to ski without any instruction on straight parallel edged skis in the 1990s, I decided to take my first lessons this year, which not only led to ironing out some seriously ugly – and frankly, quite dangerous – skiing habits but also some advice about the type of skis I may prefer.
Not only did my control on the slopes jump 10 fold (not difficult), but I was advised to ditch my so-called carver skis – introduced in the 1990s to make it easier to turn as they were wide at the ends and narrow in the middle of the skis – in favour of slalom skis. And it was great fun.
Had I not rented my skis, I would not have had the opportunity to chop and change in this way. So a big thank you to all those at Precision Ski who helped to make it possible. For discounts of up to 60 per cent and a great online chat service, visit http://www.precisionski.fr/en/ski-hire.