Purchasing ski and snowboard equipment has gotten easier with the Internet.
But consider all your options carefully for your best value.
All have good and bad points so let's look closer.
1) A Friend may seem like the right place to get your gear but should probably be avoided. The main reason is you may not ski or board just like your friend. Usually the friend is trying to unload equipment they don’t want. This, in many cases, is the reason they are trying to sell their equipment. Keep in mind, just because your friend skis or boards, doesn’t make them an expert on your type of skiing and snowboarding.
2) Ski and Snowboard Shows are usually held through out the USA in many cities. Many have a "Ski Sale" or "Ski Swap" where you’ll find used or discontinued equipment at great prices. This could be a great place to save money. Arrive early for your best selection. A few bad reasons about Show Sales are you must know “exactly” what you want as far as manufacture, model and size. Many times there is no one to help you with your selection or answer your questions. If there is someone to help, many times they are volunteers and not trained to size or fit equipment. Also, you won't get a warranty because you didn’t purchase from an authorized dealer. The Show is a great place to shop, just be cautious.
3) The Internet has become a great place to purchase about anything. It’s convenient, informative and can save you time and money. But be cautious. Make sure the store is an authorized dealer so you have a warranty with your purchase. Alpine Accessories is an authorized dealer for every product we offer on-line. If you purchase ski bindings on-line, never attempt to install or adjust bindings yourself! The main reason, your safety. If you are going to purchase on-line, make sure you have a certified ski shop work on your bindings.
4) Sport Stores vary in looks and size throughout the U.S.A. but the idea remains the same, offer as many sports as possible in one place. The big disadvantage to these stores is your selection is usually very limited. Sport stores concentrate their selection of gear towards the beginner to intermediate. Products many times are not listed on the manufactures web sites so you don't know what you are purchasing. They also have a lack of trained sales people and many times no in-store service department.
5) Specialty Ski / Snowboard Shop have many advantages and is usually your best choice. A specialty shop is one that sells and services only ski and snowboard products in the winter. They offer a full selection of gear from the beginner to experts and from young to old. They offer rentals, service, have a in-store repair shop and technically trained sales people. This usually results in proper gear selection which can save you money and help you enjoy skiing and snowboarding more. Many times, the store employees are skiers and snowboarders themselves and have experienced the same things you do on the slopes. Many of these shops specialize in custom boot fitting which can improve your experience.
If it comes down to price and you see it for less somewhere else, just ask them to match the price. Many shops have no problem matching a price to keep a customer.