Can you go skiing without selling a kidney in the process?
We live in a time when for some of us, sport is a source of entertainment or a lifestyle; for others, it can often become a privilege. The prices on sports equipment are rising, and it becomes harder for people with a below-average overall income to engage in those sports, therefore rendering them "elitist".
I've recently discovered, and yes, I meant to say discovering because it was a whole event, anyway I discovered the prices of the equipment and had a micro stroke as I was scrolling through the website. I feel like that calls for some context. A good friend of mine happens to be the most outdoors creature anyone has ever met. If it were up to her, winter would be ten months out of twelve, and it would NEVER stop snowing. It sounds like hell if you ask me. But she is certainly living up to the Canadian stereotype here. And knowing how much I would dislike anything snow-related, she recently threatened me with going skiing. Let me tell you, the fear is real.
After I went through the five stages of grief, including three crying breaks, at the mere thought of that questionable opportunity, I finally came to terms with fate. I actually decided to look up what we'll need.
If you type in "Ski equipment", one of the first websites that you will probably find, at least I did, would be MEC, aka Mountain Equipment Company. It sounds like they would know what's what. I quickly found the "Ski and snowboard gear" section, then despite having no clue what backcountry ski was, clicked on that as it seemed like the most logical choice.
The first pair of skis that was shown to me stood proudly at 1,938.95$, excluding taxes. And that's only the skis. If that doesn't make you want to stay home wrapped in a duvet instead, I don't know what will. But retreat was not an option at that point, and after scrolling for a while longer, it became pretty clear that, on average, the price range for skis was between 800$ and 1,100$, depending on the model. For that price it better have a motor and a pair of wings in the package, so you can fly off the edge of a mountain.
Now, I am definitely no expert in skiing, but even I know that's not the only thing you need. I then calculated the approximate price of all the equipment one adult would need, which gave me flashbacks to maths lessons, and I had to take another crying break. The complete set, including skis, poles, bindings, boots and helmets, would cost around 3,000$, on average.
That was clearly not the amount I was prepared to pay for something that would collect dust in the basement for the rest of the year, or life depending on how the trip would go. Plan B, rent the equipment. There are plenty of shops in Montreal that offer rental, one of them is Ski Town. You can rent equipment for a day, for holidays or a whole season. Renting a new adult ski set with BOA for a season would cost around 300-350$ with taxes.
But why are the costs so high? Making skis requires a usually unlikely alliance of materials which includes fiberglass, wood and metal. It would need specific molds to be able to recreate the necessary shape and ensure flexibility without risking durability. On top of that, ski in Canada is a seasonal sport and you would hardly see anyone picking out a new pair of bindings in the middle of May. Considering that many of the companies that sell them specialise in winter sports equipment, that would put them on a tight budget for a part of the year, and no one wants to work at their own expense.
There is also another option, as a last resort. You can always take on a DIY challenge, crafting shis in your shed. As for me, I have too little trust in myself and only one of the nine lives left to attempt something like that.
Now, I'm off looking for an excuse to bail on the trip. If you won't see any of my articles nezt term, it means that I wasn't successful and am currently buried in the snow on the side of the mountain somewhere.
P.S. If you do end up making skis, send me a test drive video.