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Is it better to rent or buy ski equipment?

Updated 4 October, 2023

Is it better to rent your ski equipment on location, or are you better off buying your own gear? It is a tough question and really depends on several variables. Did you know that it can still be beneficial to rent gear, even if you have already purchased a ski or snowboard setup? Let us explore the pros and cons of buying and renting equipment.

Buying vs. Renting

First Timer

Someone who has never skied or snowboarded first needs to determine if these sports are really for them. Buying a completely new ski or snowboard set-up before your first lesson is something that we never recommend. You should always see how much you enjoy the new sport before spending more than is necessary. Also, it is important to point out that you will most likely make quite a bit of progress in your first week. It could very well be that you would need different equipment in a short matter of time. Therefore, renting equipment is the best solution when you are a first-timer skier or snowboarder.

Renting is a better option for first time skiers and snowboarders


There is a slight difference between first-timers and beginners in winter sports. First-timers have never tried the sport at hand, whilst beginners have already been introduced to the basics of the sport. A beginner has already tasted the feeling, and should know some basic movements. Buying equipment could already be interesting for some beginners. It can be useful to look into buying your own gear as a beginner if you are convinced that you like skiing / snowboarding / telemarking, and that you will most likely continue the sport for years to come. This group should talk with their instructor to find out in which direction they would like to progress.

Skis and snowboards come in all shapes and sizes with different purposes. Hence, it is important to find out which aspect of the sport you are likely to spend the most time practising. However, if you are not sure what you’d like best, consider an all-round board. 

Specialized equipment vs. All-round equipment

Specialized equipment in skiing and snowboarding is gear that is made for a specific purpose. Freestyle skis, for example, are made for freestyle manoeuvres whilst carving skis are made for great edge control. Unfortunately, freestyle skis are not great for carving, and neither are carving skis great for freestyle tricks. What if you would like to practice both freestyle and carving? Opt for an all-round set-up. If you are a beginner, you will be better off buying an all-mountain setup rather than a specialized setup. This gives you time to explore different disciplines. 

Specialized equipment

It is time to look into buying a specialized set-up when you really start to enjoy a specific aspect of the sport. If you’re finding immense enjoyment in making powder turns but struggling to keep your board afloat, start exploring powder boards. Alternatively, perhaps you’ve developed a keen interest in performing tricks but your current equipment feels too stiff and heavy. In such cases, consider freestyle boards.

You can roughly divide skiing and snowboarding in the following disciplines:

Specialised equipment vs. All-round equipment

  • Freestyle – for tricks. Mostly useful in a fun park.
  • Freeride – for off-piste. Mostly useful in deep snow.
  • Carve / gate racing – for racing through gates.

There are major differences in skis and boards per discipline. It is therefore important to test them, talk to the staff and find the niche that you are most interested in.


Intermediate and advanced level skiers typically benefit from having their own equipment due to their experience and familiarity with their preferred skiing style. However, there are instances where renting equipment can be advantageous, especially when they want to explore different types of skiing or try out alternative ski models. With constant advancements in ski technology, there are always new skis available that can enhance the skiing experience.

While having your own equipment is generally recommended, there may be situations where your existing gear may not be suitable for the specific terrain or challenges you wish to conquer. In such cases, renting becomes an appealing option, even if only for a day. Additionally, renting gives you the opportunity to test the latest ski models and take advantage of cutting-edge technologies. 

Where to rent ski and snowboard equipment

If you are visiting Niseko, Japan, there are some great rental options in the resort area. There are independent rental shops as well as hotels that have their own in-house rental. Luxury boutique hotel, Sansui Niseko, for example, offers ultimate convenience for their guests with their rental shop located at the hotel’s ski-in ski-out entrance to the slopes. They have the full range of equipment suitable for first-timers through to experts.

Whether you choose to rent or buy your equipment, the key is to prioritize your comfort, safety, and enjoyment on the slopes. Consider your skiing preferences, skill level, and the convenience of rental options available. With the right equipment in hand, you will be able to make the most of your mountain experience.

To avoid the rental store queues and make your holiday as hassle free as possible, book your gear before arriving to Niseko. Hokkaido Ski Club can assist with arranging all equipment rental bookings. For more information, please contact us now.

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Hokkaido Ski Club

Hokkaido Ski Club comprises an international team of professional snowsports instructors, coaches and mountain guides. Every member brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise with over 100 years of total shared experience in the international snowsports industry.
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