The 5 Best Sites to Buy Skis and Ski Gear
Another ski season is upon us, and to help navigate the confusing online environment, we have put together a list of our favorite websites for buying ski gear. All the sites below are reputable companies that we purchase from ourselves. In creating the list, we prioritized factors like having a wide variety of inventory, an easy-to-use website, free shipping, and a good return policy.
For skiing and snowboarding, Evo.com quickly has become one of the top sites on the Internet for new gear and clearances. This Seattle-based company has a great online interface for choosing gear and placing your order (we especially like the “sell out risk” that shows exactly how many of an item are left), an excellent selection of ski touring and downhill hard goods and apparel, and free ground shipping in the U.S. on orders over $50. Sizing is always a challenge when online shopping for ski gear and clothing, but Evo has one of the best and most comprehensive sizing and buying guide sections we’ve run across. Their articles offer helpful tips and cover anything from ski boot sizing to the various fits and styles of outerwear. In addition, they have a reasonable return and exchange policy , as well as an impressive inventory of discounted and used gear.
Backcountry has a strong focus on expert and off-piste ski gear, with a great inventory of powder and alpine touring skis, boots, and bindings. We appreciate their wide selection of colors and sizes in ski and snowboarding soft goods, and they seem willing to take a chance on some smaller, boutique brands. Plus, they continue to expand their in-house selection of ski touring gear and apparel.
The nation’s largest outdoor retailer is best known for camping and hiking gear, but they’re a strong player in the winter months as well. REI’s inventory focus is on resort skiers with gear and apparel. The plus side is if you order online and have a local store, you can always pick up or return products there and avoid shipping costs. If you are a member (it costs $30 for a lifetime membership), you get 10% back on regularly priced items as a dividend, which amounts to a constant sale of sorts. Members also get access to a used gear trade-in program, occasional “garage sales,” and savings on shop services.
If discount shopping is your goal, The House is the place to go. They consistently offer flash sale-style deals, reduced-price outlet items, and seasonal sales. It’s a good place to score discounts on both current and past-season items for your kit, including skis, boots, bindings, helmets, and more.
Amazon may not be the first retailer that comes to mind for ski gear, but they are a growing presence in the market. Their strong suit—and the reason they made our list—is value. You’ll consistently find the lowest prices on smaller items like goggles, helmets, gloves, and socks. The online retail giant also has an easy return policy and no-nonsense customer service—not to mention good shipping deals if you’re a Prime member.
Don’t go to Amazon looking for great detailing on sizing or hands-on employee reviews, but their high volumes of sales make user reviews somewhat helpful. We have a tendency to look to Amazon for items that retail for less than $200, and we’ll often find that if they are stocking the product, it’ll be at the best price.
Ski Equipment (Hard Goods)
This category includes your primary ski gear: skis, bindings, and boots. All retailers on this list carry the popular all-mountain skis from top brands, but moving outside of those items reveals some variation. In ranking the retailers, we placed an emphasis on consistency of stock as well as carrying a good assortment of products. Backcountry excels in the high-end market, including ski equipment for alpine touring and deep powder, while REI has a large stock of resort gear. Specialized snowsports retailers like Evo have the widest selection covering nearly every category, including skis for youngsters and park and pipe.
Ski Clothing (Soft Goods)
Soft goods cover clothing items like insulating and outer layers in addition to accessories like goggles, gloves and helmets. We always appreciate a wide selection of colorways for apparel and outerwear, and we’ve taken this into account with our rankings above. Also, ski gear varies quite a bit depending on the area of the country you live in, snow and weather conditions, and the type of skiing you’re into (resort or backcountry), which means we gave high marks for having a comprehensive stock of clothing and accessories.