GEARING UP: RENT, BUY OR BORROW?

Snowboarding can be a lifetime hobby. We've already spoken at length about how important it is to have equipment custom chosen and sized exactly for you. So when is it time to shell out the cash for a brand new setup of your own? Here are some basic questions and guidelines to keep in mind.

Brand new!

Owning your own setup is the best option. You can constantly customize and evolve your gear to match your skill level and different conditions. You'll get to know how it performs, and it will always be tuned just for you and no one else.

Once you decide you want your very own equipment, be prepared for the price. A snowboard setup can cost from $500 up to the thousands. While we don't expect money to not be a factor, remember how important fit and function are before you just go for the best-priced package deal at the board shop. That being said, most retail shops will offer board/boots/bindings packages for a variety of skill levels. It's a good place to start.

The lease

A great option for beginners, children and those not yet committed to the purchase is an equipment lease. Often you'll end up with new equipment, and the best thing about it is that you will be able to grow accustomed to it throughout the season and focus on your progress and fun instead of adjusting a new rental setup every time. Often shops will allow a buy-out of your lease at the end of the season if you've grown attached to it.

daily or weekly rental

The least committal way to access equipment is to rent by the day or week. This is the way to go for someone who hasn't already committed to a season or those just not quite sure they're going to like it! Though it's the most expensive option per day, it's still less than buying new equipment and watching it collect dust the rest of the season. Some shops will even apply the rental cost to the cost of a purchase if you decide you're hooked!

borrowing

If you're borrowing equipment from a friend, that means a) they really like you and b)you scored some free gear for the day! But remember, safety first! Chances are, even if your friend knows a lot about equipment, their shape, size and skill levels don't match yours. You still need to have the gear fitted to you. Bring the setup to a shop and have an expert tweak it for you before you strap in.

Ultimately, you want to feel comfortable, happy and safe with your gear. Understanding these options before you make the decision to rent, borrow or buy is crucial to your satisfaction and enjoyment. Now get out there and have fun!

Content courtesy of SnowSports Industries America | SIA and Snowlink.com