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When’s the best time to buy ski racing gear?

(cover image) Rodger’s Ski and Sport in Lincoln, NH. 2017-18 Race skis are in stock (and they’re open all summer long!)

In your ongoing quest to make ski racing as affordable as possible I am sure you have wondered when the best time to buy ski racing gear is. Many people find shopping end of season sales to be the best. Others like to shop used ski swaps. For some, shopping at the beginning of the season is the most appropriate. Just like purchasing airline tickets, there is no single hard and fast rule to get the best deal.

The case to buy ski racing gear early

You can buy ski racing gear at Peak Ski Shop Killington in May. They have 2018 race skis from Head, Atomic, Fischer and Volkl in stock.

2018 Race skis in stock right now at

The big race ski brands will have a few sets of their new race skis available to demo at the end of the season each year. For the most part, those race skis are available in stores as early as May each year. Pricing on these race skis is Manufacturer’s Sponsored Race Pricing. Whether you buy the skis the first day they come out or buy them in November or December. Pricing will not change until the first MAP reduction, which usually doesn’t happen until after President’s holiday in February. Race skis are produced in limited numbers. And they usually sell out. If you have older ski racers (U16 or U19) who need specific radius and length skis, you will have to buy as early as possible to insure you get what you need.

Ski racing suits are also made in very limited quantities. The best colors and styles sell out fast. Because of this, many ski racing retailers will make them available for pre-order between April and September. Race suits are then typically available in ski shops about October 1.

When to buy used ski gear

You can buy ski racing gear used at ski swaps like the Killington Ski Swap.

Used skis for sale at a ski swap

When shopping for young, growing ski racers, it often makes the most financial sense to buy used equipment. There aren’t as many ski racing rules for U12, U10 and U8 ski racers. So more products will potentially meet their needs.┬áSince the kids grow considerably between each season at those ages, gear is frequently turned over. Additionally, gear just doesn’t get used as hard when they are that young. Therefore there is usually a glut of viable used ski gear for kids 11 years old or younger.

From August through October each year there is a plethora of used ski swaps to satisfy your used ski gear needs. Dates and locations change slightly from year to year, but here’s a link to our list of used ski swaps from last season to give you an idea of who has them and when. We will have an updated used ski swap list for the 2017-18 season available in September.

Why to buy ski racing gear at the end of the season

New ski racing gear on clearance at The Race Place in Bend, Oregon.

New ski racing gear on clearance at

Items like back protectors, forearm guards, shin guards, ski poles and SL guards, helmets, and goggles change very little from season to season. If there is a change, it is usually just color. Additionally, kids heads don’t grow a whole heck of a lot and there is some “wiggle room” when it comes to gloves and guards. So these items are perfect to pick up at the end of the season when ski shops are having their ‘end of season’ sales.

Ski racing apparel all year long

Many times you will not have the ability to wait for an end of season sale or ski swap. Like when you realize your child has outgrown their side zip pants as they are getting ready to go to summer ski camp. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Arctica is your source to buy ski racing gear like ski racing pants and ski race suits 365 days/year. We want to enable ski racers to get what they need when they need it. So we keep our prices as low as possible. Arctica stocks side zip ski racing pants and speed suits year ’round.

Planning is key

So as you can see, there is no single best time to buy ski racing gear. There are times that are better than others price-wise. But selection is often very limited. Best thing to do is to asses your ski racing apparel and gear needs as soon as the season ends and make a list. Keep your eyes open all summer long and pick up anything you can when you see it. Then asses it again right before the next season starts and update your list. That way you have the ability to be in control of what you buy when. Not be forced to buy where you are at when you discover a problem.

Editor’s note: updated 05/21/17

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