Where to find cheap kid’s winter clothing in Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne
Winter ski rentals
Not ready to spend $300 or more on a youth ski or snowboard kit? You’re in luck — a slew of Summit County rental shops offer season-long rentals for kids. There are even a few options for adults, like adult demo rentals through Virgin Islands Ski Rental in Silverthorne. A look at pricing and availability:
Pioneer Sports: $80 basic ski package. Skiers age 10 and younger.
Phone: (970) 688-7105
Mountain Sports Outlet: Junior swap program begins at $100 to enroll and includes ski or snowboard package. Rates $20 per piece of used gear (boots, bindings, skis or board) to upgrade throughout season or $200 for new gear upgrade. Ski sizes 70 cm to 180 cm.
Phone: (970) 262-2836
Blue Valley Ski Rentals: Pricing TBD. Skis and snowboards must be returned daily.
Phone: (970) 468-0400
Christy Sports: $99 basic ski package, $139 performance ski package, $99 basic snowboard package, $129 basic snowboard package. Denver locations only. Skiers and riders age 13 and younger.
Phone: (970) 468-2329
Virginia Islands Ski Rental: Ski packages $80 for age 6 and under, $95 for age 11 and under, $120-$170 for age 12 and older, $200-$225 for adult demo skis. Snowboard package $90 12 and young, $150 adult.
Phone: (970) 468-6655
AMR Ski and Board Shop: $80 for ski or snowboard in youth sizes only. Season-long rentals end in mid-November or when gear is gone.
Phone: (970) 453-6921
Avalanche Sports: $150 ski package in youth sizes only. Available mid-November to mid-December.
Phone: (970) 453-1461
It’s almost guaranteed to happen. Your little ones ended the ski season last April in size 4 boots, but when you dug out and dusted off the ski gear this month, hardly anything fit. The kids wear size 5 and size 6, and chances are at least one will hit a growth spurt between now and February. You also found mismatched socks, single mittens and, somehow, a helmet went missing. You thought buying personal ski and snowboard gear was expensive, but this is a whole different beast.
Never fear — Summit County Moms is coming to the rescue.
“It can be tough, but you have to be smart about it,” said Leslie Walker, a member of the popular Facebook group for moms, babysitters and teachers with more than 2,700 members. “We have a lot of places around here to find things. You just have to be willing to just relax and plan ahead, and you’ve got to be willing to hunt to save money.”
When it comes to affordable kid’s ski clothing, bargain hunting is the name of the game, Walker said. She’s the mother of a 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son and both of them were on skis at 20 months old. It’s not impossible to find gear for toddlers and elementary-aged kids, she said, but it takes a little more effort than browsing sales if you missed the close-out bargains at local ski shops in May, June and September.
”The end of the season is a great time to look for gear, just like adults,” Walker said, giving local parents a quick tip for next season before delving into what you can do right now. “You know your kid is a certain size now so you can look ahead. That’s a great way to save money.”
If cheap kid’s ski gear is still on your list, Walker suggests starting at local consignment stores like Little Bears Boutique consignment shop on Main Street in Frisco. The store still has plenty of winter pants, coats, boots and more, from affordable generic brands to the occasional piece of Patagonia clothing. It’s one of the first places she goes to save money, like the $10 pair of snow pants she just bought for her daughter. She’ll keep those at school and leave pricier gear at home for ski outings.
“Another thing I’ve found with my kids is if you can find the screaming deals, like what I found at Little Bears, it’s nice to have an extra set of bottoms, socks and mittens,” Walker said. “They’re kids. They will get wet.”
The FIRC thrift stores in Breckenridge and Silverthorne are also treasure troves this time of year, with an emphasis on treasure: You have to hunt for the right sizes and quality, Walker said. It’s a good stop for boots, mittens, hats and coats.
Walker’s final stop for gear like helmets and hardgoods is the retail shop at Arapahoe Basin. She’s also a ski instructor at the Basin, she admits, but said the store is perfect for small and hard-to-find youth sizes. When her son started skiing at 20 months, she found a helmet that was just right.
“You won’t find the big deals here, but for the under-4 kids, it can be really tough to find sizes,” Walker said. “The retail store is good for that.”
Big names, big deals
Unlike consignment stores, the Outlets at Silverthorne are a perfect stop for affordable new clothing. Walker likes the Columbia outlet, where she often stops before the season (and during) for beanies, mittens, fleece and long johns, all between $15 and $30 for youngsters. The one downside: It’s hard to find clothing for kids younger than 3 or 4 years old, she said.
Walker also likes to browse online sales for little odds and ends. For her daughter’s first season on the slopes, mom found a Patagonia onesie for a steal online, and she never underestimates Amazon for random finds.
Her final (and sometimes best) resource: a group of friends through school, work and Summit County Moms with hand-me-down gear, from coats and pants to skis, boots and bindings.
“Make friends with people who have kids older than yours and younger than yours,” Walker said. “That way you can do the internal friend swaps.”
The ski conundrum
But what about that most expensive side of winter sports: skis and snowboards? A number of Summit County ski shops offer season-long rentals for youth, ranging from 2 or 3 years old to 12 years old. Some are geared to locals, others are geared to regular visitors, but all can save hundreds of dollars on brand-new gear the kids will outgrow in a season.
“This brings money back into the county,” said Tim Hanson of Virgin Islands Ski Rentals in Silverthorne, a 41-year-old shop that’s offered season-long rentals for nearly as long. “Sometimes people are second-home owners, so they’re only here for the holidays and the breaks. We’d rather have people come back at a fair price instead of jousting them. People won’t feel like they bought a new car.”
At Virgin Islands, daily rentals begin at $18 for a ski package — more affordable than a cheeseburger on the slopes, Hanson laughed. Season-long rentals range from $80 to $170, including adult rentals. Most shops offer seasonal rentals until they run out of gear, so start looking now.
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