How to carve out savings on kids ski gear

How to carve out savings on kids ski gear

Have your kids been watching Olympic skiing, and now they're nagging you to hit the slopes, maybe for the first time?

Skiing can be expensive, especially if you're outfitting an entire family. The Problem Solvers have ways for you to carve out some savings.

It's another year and another pair of skis, pants and boots for 9-year-old Sequoia Dearborn.

"Her head is going to get bigger," explains Carolee Dearborn, Sequoia's mom. "Her face is already bigger, so we're going to get her new goggles."

Money, money, money.

"Kids grow so fast that if we don't come up with programs that help make this affordable, it's really difficult to keep staying involved," says Guy Trombley, general manager at the Mountain Shop in Northeast Portland.

At the Mountain Shop, Trombley says twice as many families took advantage of the store's lease program this season. 

It also runs a popular buy-back program: buy new skis, bindings, and boots or a used package for $150. Then when your child outgrows them, you can trade the skis and boots in for a $95 credit toward the next set.

Next Adventure in Southeast Portland has a similar lease and trade-in program that includes clothes too.

"We give you half of what we're going to sell the product for," explains Mike Bergen of Next Adventure. "So if you bring me a jacket that I'm going to sell for $40, you're going to walk out with a $20 store credit."

Then you can turn around and buy at a deep discount. For example, Bergen shows the Problem Solvers a girl's Patagonia jacket with little wear that was originally priced at $149. It's selling at for $18.

There's second-hand gear for Mom and Dad, too.

And while you can buy ski gear on sale online, experts don't recommend buying boots. The fit can vary widely between different brands.

The biggest tip to saving money? Start shopping for used gear early, ideally in mid-October. That's when you'll have the best selection.

Another place to score deals on ski gear is the Ski Fever and Snowboard Show at the Expo Center in mid-November.  Some products will be discounted by 70 percent.