Returning to Skiing - New Ski Package Experience


Booting up
Jan 13, 2020
I'm in muskegon, the fam has spent the last few seasons at Caberfae, but we sprung for a Crystal pass this year, for better or worse. I can't add anymore to the gear discussion (no need to beat that horse) but if you are looking for someone to ski with hit me up when the time comes! Snow in the forecast up north in the next week.....

I will say that last season I got my first new skis in 25 years, and there have been some improvements....

mister moose

May 30, 2017
Oh, c'mon everybody. It's your outfit that's #1. These days, you want ski pants that aren't black. We even have a whole thread on advice on that here. Then get a jacket with an 8 million rating on the waterproofness, because we all like to ski in the rain. And of course get the stiffest, most watertight zipper you can, because ease of using your clothing is well, secondary. And the helmet/goggle interface is key. Make sure the color matches. And make sure you have a good Norwegian sweater on underneath for aprés. No plaid anything, unless you're in Maine or the U.P. Did I mention gloves? Whole thread right there.

Now you can shop for boots.

Yes, go to a good boot fitter. Preferably close to where you live or ski, because it is frequently not a set it and forget it thing, but don't go to the compromise shop just because it is nearby. Lots of prior year inventory out there still, hopefully you can find a good fit and a great deal.

You need an inexpensive ski to get your legs back under you and learn shaped skis on. Then once you have that foundation, then start to demo demo for your longer term skis. Demoing before you have that foundation will not help you choose skis well. There may be some good ski swaps going on still in your area. Or take a few recommendations (model and length) based on your experience and prior skiing style and then find a used pair at 1) Ebay 2) used demos local ski shops have for sale 3) many leftover deals on the internet. Here's the Moose Rule on buying skis in 2020:

$250-$350 for used skis or older demos. They should still have decent or better edges, and not be beat. Look for less wear on bindings and top sheets as an indicator of number of days on the skis. Learn the fingernail test on edges.
$350 to $450 for newer, more pristine but been out a just a few times demos.
$450 to $550 for last year's steal of a deal brand new skis. With bindings. Those deals are still out there.

So while I agree and have already said myself wait to buy new skis until you know what you want, it's a buyers market now, but fading rapidly as we approach ski season. You could buy new skis if you find a recommended, well known pair for 50-60% off MSRP, ski them for a season, and sell them next year if you end up not liking them enough. By buying a well known decent reputation pair, selling them should be easier and your net cost per day will be low. This route does have a risk you'll chafe on your skis for a season, but with good advice you should keep that risk fairly low. Your first pair of shaped skis is a blind date anyway. No one ever said dating didn't have it's pitfalls.

There is a trade-off on demoing that needs to be said. One, it isn't cheap. $40-$50 bucks a pop. You can spend the price of a pair of used skis in a half dozen demos. Two, your eyes can glaze over on the sheer number of choices. Three, you aren't a good enough skier to worry about many of the finer points. Buy the Buick or Toyota and be done with it for now, you aren't shopping for a Shelby Cobra. So in 2 or three demos you should have a decent feel for a ski you think you can date for a season or two.

One more hint. With the dynamite outfit described above, make lots of ski friends, preferably with the same BSL (Boot Sole Length) as you. Make sure they aren't a lawyer. Then you can swap skis and try them out for a run. Zowie, free demo!

OK, two hints. We have free demo days around here in Vermont. Hopefully they have that in Michigan too. Seek them out and keep the day open and go demo 6 pairs in a day. Advantage: Free, plus you get to compare all those skis on the same conditions while they are all fresh in your head. Disadvantage: Somewhere around 4 or 5 pairs your brain will shut off. Take notes before your memory leaks out.


The Velvet Hammer
Pugski Ski Tester
Nov 1, 2015
TimF posted that he's on hospice and has all of his skis for sale.
You may reach out to him and see if he has something that will work for you and also help his wife clean out the quiver.


Asst. Gathermeister-- Aspen 2021
Feb 9, 2016
Northern Virginia, USA
I've been to demo days at four different Michigan hills, and never spent a dime. Rep tents are set up, you sign a waiver and test anything you want for free.
Yep... two different kinds of demos. Actually three that I've done.... free demo days, demos days with a small fee, and demo rentals from a shop. The advantage of paying a shop is that you can do them any time and use the whole day. The advantage of a free demo day is trying lots of stuff for a couple of runs each.


Making fresh tracks
Dec 6, 2015
Ontario Canada
Yes, boots first...

Skis have changed from 30 years ago for the most part for the better. You have some relearning to do, mostly timing and stance. The new skis will make you ski better (if you already skied well).

Likely you are at a level that you will quickly out ski intermediate skis, so consider higher level rated skis to advance into.