Here are examples of what's available at a sampling of shops around the country. Unless otherwise noted, lease prices are for entire equipment packages (skis, boots, bindings, poles). All prices are last year's, though most retailers say they'll hold the line.
The Alpine Shop
Burlington, Vt.; (802) 862-2714
Seasonal lease: $99 for used equipment; $124 for new; $144 for shaped skis. Buy-back program: Pay marked price for new equipment; sell it back the following year for 50 percent of the purchase price (store credit), 25 percent after two years.
Rochester, N.Y.; (716) 586-6460
Seasonal lease: Lease used boots for $25 per year (re-size during the season at no extra charge) or new boots for 50 percent of the suggested retail price. Lease skis, bindings and poles for $110 per year, with a $20 mounting fee.
Wilton, Conn.; (203) 762-8797
Seasonal lease: $85 for used equipment; $40 for a used helmet. Buy-back program: Buy new equipment at full price and sell it back the following year for 60 percent of the purchase price (store credit).
New York, N.Y.; (212) 757-8524
Buy-back program: Pay full retail price for skis, boots, bindings, poles, plus a $12 mounting fee; return the equipment (except bindings) by April 15 and get 50 percent to 70 percent back in cash (depending on its condition). Use the same equipment the following year and get a discount on the seasonal rental fee.
Colorado Ski & Golf
Multiple locations in Colorado; (800) 288-9730
Used equipment trade-in program: First year, pay $49 for skis/bindings, $35 for boots and $10 for binding adjustment; in subsequent years, trade in for appropriate size and pay $20 for skis, $20 for boots and $10 for binding adjustment. New equipment trade-in program: Buy any junior equipment in the shop at marked price and get 50 percent back toward new equipment the following year (or 30 percent back after two years).
St. Charles, Ill.; (630) 584-1250
Seasonal lease: $149 for new skis, bindings, poles and either new or year-old boots, with the mounting price included. Junior boot exchange: Pay full retail price for new boots once, then get as many free trade-ins as you want (used equipment) up to size 6.
Woodland Hills, Calif.; (818) 225-7669
Buy-back program: Buy new equipment at marked price, get 50 percent back (store credit) after one year or 25 percent back after two years; there's a $15 mounting fee.