Sick of Airline Baggage Fees? Try a Demo.

As it gets more expensive to fly, resorts are increasing their size and quality of rental fleets. Here's why you should check it out.

With airlines flying to ski country charging $15 or more for checked baggage, resorts are getting the word out about their updated rental fleets. Over the past years, rental programs have expanded to include more high-end and demo gear, appeasing serious skiers who don’t want to lug their boards around—and pay for the privilege of shipping them.

“Years ago, you could only buy high-performance equipment,” says Tom Pettigrew, Park City Mountain Resort’s Director of Skier Services. “Destination skiers don’t have the advantage of living in a ski town and being able to try a wide variety of ski types on a regular basis. Now they can try out different styles of skis and not sacrifice performance.” Pettigrew says his program has around 300 pairs of demo skis, a five percent increase over last year, and the resort hosts an on-mountain yurt where skiers can trade out skis during the day.

, one of the largest organizations of rental skis in the country and serving resorts from Aspen to Whistler, are offering a variety of deals on their demo program, which includes skis from K2, Dynastar, Rossignol, and Salomon. The deals include a 20-percent off early booking deal and a free rental for a child under 12 with every adult rental.

We suggest trying a wide range of demo skis—brands, size, and shape—before buying. But bring your own boots regardless, and don’t check them in your luggage. Rental boots are for suckers.

Or, you could just fly on Southwest, which doesn’t charge fees for luggage.


K2 Sidestash (2011)

Your Favorite Skis of the Year

Different skis are good for different people, but every year there are always a few pairs that everyone seems to be obsessed with. Here are the most popular skis of the season, the one's you've been searching on our site, googling, stalking on Steep and Cheap, and raving about. And, to stoke the fires, the one ski coming out next year that's already creating major buzz.

Favorite Skis 2010

12 Cheap Skis

We asked manufacturers to make the case for their best low-cost, high-performance models. As you read, keep in mind that the prices listed are suggested retail prices. Shop around and you’ll likely find these skis for a couple hundred bucks less than what’s listed.

benchet 12

Prime Powder Skis

In the gear world there's nothing more lust-worthy than super fat powder skis, the kind made of heli drops and snorkel-deep days. These are the best of the year.

10-11 ski opener

Fat Skis: 2010-2011 Preview

Skiing Magazine had a chance to ski a few of next year’s skis at the SIA On Snow Demo Days at Winter Park. Due to the huge amount of skis available and the little time we had, we limited ourselves to fat skis. We tested a handful of new, redesigned and carryover models between 95mm and 115mm underfoot. Although certain skis did better in certain conditions, there really wasn't a bad ski among them.