As your skiing and snowboarding experience grows, you will likely find yourself yearning for performance-based and customizable equipment. Purchasing a standard pair of K2 twin tips may have worked in your teenage years and early twenties, but as you grow into a more stable riding style, you are likely thinking about investing in equipment that works for you. However, it is necessary to reflect on why you want to go the customized route. Do you want skis that facilitate your turning style? Do you want a board that performs well in powder and on moguls? Or, like most of us out there, are you more interested in the design aspect of customization?
If you answered “yes” to those first two questions, congratulations—customization is the best option to further your riding practice. If you only answered “yes” to the last question, you may want to reconsider your purchase choices. Customized skis and boards are an expensive investment, often exceeding $1,000. If you want a customized visual design, those options are out there. Unless you want to have a say in your skis’ weight, shape, material, and overall mechanical design, stick with cheaper, visual design-driven options.
Moreover, you should also consider mountain availability and travel potential when deciding to invest in custom-made gear. Maybe you have a season pass at your local mountain in New Hampshire, but you can easily pack equipment into your car to visit mountains in neighboring New England states. If this is most similar to your ski season behavior, a custom made ski or board is a perfect choice. However, if you prefer to spend your season touring—whether that means flying to a new mountain every weekend or taking a few weeks away from work to visit Colorado—ski rental is likely your easiest and most cost-effective option. Travelling with skis produces a special type of stress, and many resorts provide discounts on rental equipment when you purchase a lift ticket or accommodations. Why spend thousands of dollars on custom-made equipment if you can’t use it every day of the season? I understand—owning equipment, especially equipment made for you and your riding style, is a source of pride for experienced skiers. However, renting skis—especially when travelling—should be viewed as a cost-effective and hassle-free option.
All of this is to say: you should be thinking long and hard about your ski style, preferences, and seasonal behavior before making the jump into custom made equipment. Having 30+ years of slope-side experience may not be enough to justify the purchase.