Finding Cheap Heliskiing Gear: Summer Is Good For Something
If you’re a dedicated heliskier and backcountry enthusiast in North America, there’s nothing like the long, hot, humid days of summer to foul up your mood. The first snowfall is still a few months away, and there’s no way you are forking out for a flight to Chile, or New Zealand – or anywhere the precipitation comes in frozen little flakes.
May through September might seem like a never ending caldron of allergies, sunburns, shorts, and bug bites, but there is one advantage: finding the best deals on Heliskiing gear.
Of course, we never advocate buying cheapest quality gear no matter how little the cost – especially when your life depends on your bindings, helmet, beacon, jacket, and the like. But we do find summertime to be rife with great deals if you know the right places to find them. Not only will obtaining a sweet pair of boots at a bargain price keep your wallet full, it will do wonders for your psychological well being until the temperature does dip below that freezing mark.
Big resort towns often have ski swap weekends when retailers and individuals alike drag all their unsold or unused gear out of storage and solicit sales with very reasonable prices. If you live in a decent sized town in BC or Washington, chances are you can find a good swap – just look in the local paper. They’re often held in open public places like a park or high school gymnasium.
Retailers tend to have great off-season opportunities to pick up last year’s unsold products. If the store is seasonal – ski and snowboard only, you’ll want to be around a week or two after your last run down the hill.
The owners of these stores are looking forward to closing for the summer and are usually aiming to unload a lot of gear at the end of the season to earn a few extra bucks before closing up shop. Stores that are opened year round have a different motivation – getting rid of last year’s stuff to make room for this upcoming season’s, but the results are the same: nice gear for a good price. This is usually the best way to acquire gear in the off-season.
Finally, another great place to suss out some decent deals is the ol’ internet. Craigslist is always good for a steal or two. A good habit is to check it out in your area once a day to catch that rare gem of a posting. Also, retailer and vendor websites like REI and K2 have excellent sales in order to make room for next year’s merchandise. Backcounty.com is another great resource.
No matter where you find your off-season deals, it’s always a good idea to do a little research first. Head to the local ski swap with a few items in mind, including their manufacturers and decent prices you wouldn’t mind paying. Some discounted stuff you find at the end of the year in stores or online is leftover for a reason. An unbelievable deal might not be worth bragging about if the product doesn’t perform. Shop smart to keep your snow-starved sanity in line this summer.