Budget-friendly Ways to Gear Up
The Importance of Good Gear
it is likely the most important thing you spend money on for your young skiers. Prepping for a ski trip is not the time to run to Walmart for a winter snow outfit, no knock on Walmart quality, but It's imperative that they have the technology in their gear that will keep them warm. Cold kids are miserable kids, and miserable kids will will never learn to love skiing.
That said, gearing up a family for the slopes could do some major damage to the bank balance, coats, gloves, pants, boots, scarves, gators, long underwear, turtlenecks… Here are a few tips that might help you out.
As soon as you plan your start asking friends who ski if they have any gear you can borrow. You'd be surprised how many friends' children have outgrown their gear and will happily lend it to you for your trip!
Buy a little Large
Buy your children's gear a little on the large side - and you might just get two seasons out of it. And look for technology that is designed to grow with your kids. Bibs with adjustable straps can be let down to lengthen the legs for growing kids, and many of the best brands now offer hidden seam technology that allow you to let out the sleeves and pants, presto - one more season!
I live in California so our choices at these stores haven't been great, but it's still worth making a call to see what they have on-hand to see if it might be exactly what you need.
Ski Swaps & Consignment Events
Even living in Southern California, I have found some great gear at our big children's consignment sale. I picked up my daughter's first outfit at a local sale - not only was it adorable, she's worn it for two ski trips, and it might make it through one more if we're lucky!
Ebay & Online Options
It takes a little time and effort, but I've gotten some great finds on Ebay, Craigslist and other local sites. This method helps if you know exactly what you are looking for - otherwise the search can be exhaustive.
Target & Walmart
When it comes to the underpinnings - Long underwear and turtlenecks. The big box stores do a good job. For Walmart you better buy early though… wait too long into the season and they'll be sold out.
You might think of shoes and jeans when you think of your favorite outlet mall, but you would be surprised at the finds you can score in the gear department. Our "local" Camarillo outlets have a Spyder, Columbia, and North Face outlet.
I picked up some amazing buys on everything from a new ski outfit for me from Spyder, gloves, neck warmers and socks at the Columbia Outlet (saving an extra 10% with the coupon - see the hot tip below) to North Face boots for the littles at around $20. Total score.
Hot Tip: Check to see if your local outlets offer a AAA coupon booklet. Many do, discounts vary, but it's almost always worth the trip to the office to shop with that booklet.
Don't forget to pay it forward. Pass along the gear your littles have outgrown, list a box of ski gear on Craigslist, send a box to your ski swap...and share your money-saving strategies in the comments!
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