hough it may seem like the pleasant summer heat will never end, make no mistake: winter is coming. It should come as no surprise that, in this wonderfully unpredictable state, it’s never too early to start thinking about winter. (If you’re like me, you never really stopped.) For many people in Colorado and around the world, its arrival means the return of skiing and snowboarding.
Now, there’s no getting around the fact that winter sports are an investment, but there are still steals to be found if you know where to look. Certain websites and promotional events offer quality equipment at a fraction of its retail cost and can be extraordinarily fruitful to explore, whether it’s been a while since you last took to the slopes, you have growing children that need some outdoor winter gear, or are just looking to update your ski outfit. To that end, I’ve gathered for you a few of my favorite unconventional places to find sweet deals on outdoor gear and ski equipment.
When: All the time
Offers: Outdoor gear/equipment for any season and endeavor, accessories, clothing, maps, and more
Example deals: Men’s Black Diamond Factor 130 ski boots: Retail $739, on The Clymb for $73
Author purchased: Men’s Kayland Vertigo Light hiking boots: Retail $180, on The Clymb for $59
Some of the deals you can find on The Clymb seem too good to be true, but they’re for real. What’s important to know about the company’s business model is that it mainly operates via last-minute flash sales, often with highly limited inventory. The result is that thousands of authentic name-brand products circulate on the site, but the store can run out very quickly. So if you find something you love (and in the right size), buy it immediately. It’s not the most leisurely way to shop, but if you’re up to the task, you’ll be hard pressed to find better deals anywhere.
Sports Authority SNIAGRAB Sale
Where: Online and at all Sports Authority retail stores
When: Labor Day Weekend, petering out through September
Offers: Everything you would need to ski or snowboard
Example Deal: Complete ski outfit (skis and boots included) for $250, kids’ coats for $15
Author purchased: Virtually all of the ski gear he ever bought until he was 14
SNIAGRAB, or “Bargains” spelled backwards, is the year’s biggest sales event for winter snow sport gear and equipment. Put on by Sports Authority, during SNIAGRAB the company effectively turns its stores into winter sports bazaars, with tents and rooms of snow gear offered at prices so low you have to see them to believe. It also offers additional deals in the form of coupons and discounts for people who are early to get in line that can be added onto already discounted merchandise. While the gear isn’t immediately put away at the end of the first weekend, the inventory will be seriously picked over and often depleted after Labor Day, so be sure to head to SNIAGRAB early and take full advantage of its ludicrous deals.
Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo
Where: Colorado Convention Center
When: November 7-9, 2014; tickets go on sale in September ($12 or $35 for a Brew Fest/Expo ticket)
Offers: Ski and snowboard gear, passes, vacation deals, rides, refreshments, giveaways and more
Example Deal: Offerings change every season, but expect 40-75 percent markdowns
Author Purchased: Salomon 1080 Foil skis (2007): Retail $499, on sale at expo for $299
The Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo is one of my favorite weekends of the fall. In addition to the abundance of top-tier gear from the previous season and exhibitions of new gear from the upcoming one, the expo itself is just really fun. Come see gear demos, get loads of free swag from different brands, or try your hand at some of the games and attractions. In addition, the Rocky Mountain Brew Fest runs concurrently with the ski expo at the convention center, though it requires a separate ticket. It offers relaxed beer tasting events, made and poured by some of Colorado’s finest microbrew artisans. Between the expo and the Brew Fest, you really can’t go wrong. Grab some gear, try some beer, and make the most out of this fun-filled weekend.
This post was written by Holden Lewis, an intern in Colorado PERA's Creative Services Department. Would you like to write a guest post for The Dime Colorado? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org