Winter Blowout Sale!

Limited Time to Say Goodbye to
Winter Merchandise with our BLOW OUT SALE!

Join us for a huge Blowout Sale to make room for summer inventory!
It’s your last chance to snap up some big brands.

Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17th


Spring Snow Is Here: A Letter From George

Dear Friends, Family and The Ski Renter Community,

Spring skiing at its finest! Spring is here but the snow is sticking around, too. Even though it’s getting sunny and warm here in the Valley, there’s still amazing snow just waiting on the hill for you to enjoy! The base at Squaw Valley, for example is 52” as of today.

Used equipment sale. If you’ve fallen in love with the snow like we have, you may want your own equipment. Our Spring Used Ski Equipment Sale is coming April 16th!

The warm Spring weather also brings camping season! Get ready for your first camp out of the season with our amazing camping rental packages. All the equipment you need for the best outdoor adventure is just a no-fuss rental away with The Ski Renter.

The fun never stops!

Why buy when you can rent?


Owner, The Ski Renter

Fitting skis and boards

Last week, we talked about fitting boots so now it seems only reasonable to talk about fitting skis and boards. Both ski & snowboard sizing has some general rules but they are also somewhat dependent on your preferences and we try to listen to you to provide the best ski to what you are doing. Now then, for ski sizes, here are the general guidelines:

  • Level 1 skiers (beginner to intermediate), the ski tips should come to somewhere between your chin and your mouth
  • Level 2 (intermediate to advanced), somewhere between your mouth and your eyes
  • Level 3 (advanced to expert), anywhere between your mouth and the top of your forehead depending on what you are skiing

If you are heavier than average, then go a little longer (5 cm or so). Lighter, shorter. Generally speaking, the shorter the skis, the slower they will go but the easier they are to control; the longer they are, the faster they will go and the more difficult they are to control.

If you are unsure of your ability, go a little shorter. You have a range of about 5 cm either direction to play with.

For more advanced skiers, we also carry a variety of higher-end demo skis at The Ski Renter, some with stiffer flex, various camber and rocker combinations, wider powder skis, all-mountain, and big mountain skis. But keep in mind, if you are not an advanced to expert skier these skis will be harder to control and manage on the mountain so stick to the basic skis unless you are planning dropping chutes off-trail, hitting the deep powder between the trees, or catching some serious air in the park.

Like skis, fitting snow boards have some general guidelines to follow:

  • Level 1 riders (beginner to intermediate), the tip should reach somewhere between your sternum and your chin
  • Level 2 (intermediate to advanced), between your chin and your nose
  • Level 3 (advanced to expert), between your nose and forehead depending on what you are riding

As with skis, if you are heavier, go longer and/or wider, if you are thinner, go shorter and/or narrower. Also, make sure your board is wide enough to avoid toe drag, caused by the toes sticking out over the edge of the board. Many of the other factors that apply to skis apply to snowboards, too. Shorter boards are going to be slower but easier to control while longer boards are faster but require more effort to control. Our boards are largely All-Mountain boards that will fare well in the park, power, and on the groomed trail. Freeride boards are the longest, best suited for off-trail riding while Freestyle boards are the shortest and are at home in the park. If you are getting good with the rental boards and want to try something else, we have demo boards suited to all types of riding to help you hone your skills.

But the most important thing of all is to have fun. Don’t make it too complicated; it’s not rocket science. And having the right equipment will make it that much more fun, so do give these factors consideration when you are picking out your gear. And talk to our technicians; they are all certified in fitting boots to the skis and boards, and fitting the skis and boards to you! All are certified for the equipment we carry in our shop.

Think snow!

A Few Words on Boot Fitting

As you can imagine, proper boot fit comes up in conversation at The Ski Renter quite a bit, so here are some key points. For boots, the watch words are “snug (like a glove), but not too tight”; you don’t want to cut off circulation, but you don’t want your foot loose in the boot, either. If the boots are too loose, or have too soft a flex in them, it will be more difficult to control the skis; and they won’t be as safe.

A lot of people want to walk around in the boots to see if they are comfortable. Remember, ski and snowboard boots are not designed to walk in, they are designed to give you support and control while you are skiing or snowboarding.

Ski boot and snowboard boot fitting are actually pretty similar. When you are standing straight or sitting, your longest toe may touch the front of the boot. However, when you flex your knees forward into your skiing or snowboarding position, this should pull your toes back so they are just barely touching or not quite touching the front of the boot. Too tight or too loose can cause discomfort or pain and will make it harder to control your skis. Your toes should just barely touch or not quite touch. Remember, snug, but not too tight means the boot fit is just right!

Remember, wear socks designed for snow sports when you ski or ride. They will cushion your foot inside the boot, they will help keep your feet warm, and they will keep your feet drier than regular socks. And remember to wear the same or similar socks when you get your boots fitted that you will wear when you are on the slopes. Otherwise, they won’t fit the same. We have snow sports socks available at The Ski Renter for you to try on when you are being fitted for boots, and we sell snow sports socks, too! So now there’s no excuse.

Think snow!

Awesome conditions!


Up to a foot and a half of new snow, and now the forecast is cool and sunny for the next week or two. All of the resorts are reporting powder or packed powder. That’s almost perfect conditions for most of us, with ski hills reporting snow depths ranging from 75 inches to 140 inches! We are looking forward to a great President’s “Ski” Weekend coming up (February 13th, 14th and 15th). And for many, the entire week! So enjoy (and remember, “sunny” means use sunscreen)!

On another note, we just got back from the annual ski show in Denver last week, where we previewed the equipment coming out later this year and placed our orders for next season. It was an awesome show, and great new equipment! We can hardly wait to get next year’s gear on our racks! It just keeps getting better and better!

Get Outside With Family This Coming Thanksgiving Weekend!

In case you haven’t heard: REI has decided to close all their stores for Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). Instead, they are encouraging their employees and clientele to get outside. We love that other retailers share our values! Thanksgiving Weekend is a time to be with your family and friends.  We’ll be closed Thanksgiving Day, but we’ll be back in the store on Friday from 10am to 2pm, just in case you need anything.

So get outside! Plan your first trip to the snow this season or camp where it’s still warm. Plan ahead by calling the The Ski Renter and reserve all the gear you need for your Thanksgiving adventures!

NOAA predicts, “There is an 85% chance El Niño will last through the 2015-16 winter”

El Niño’s coming! This could mean a great snow year… or not. We tend to associate El Niño years with increased rainfall, and that typically means more snow in the mountains. We desperately need both!

As you can imagine, we pay a lot of attention to the weather here at The Ski Renter, and it turns out, it’s been about 50-50 in the past, with some El Niños delivering strong rains in the valleys and great snows in the mountains, and some not so much. It depends on the size of the El Niño, and a lot of other factors, many of which even the weather forecasters do not understand. However, the El Niño that is forming currently is one of the larger ones on record. And of the last five El Niños of this size, four delivered great snow, and three were some of our snowiest winters on record, so we’ve got a good chance!

Typically, we get our first snows in mid-November and Boreal is usually the first ski hill to open, with most of the others following soon after. As soon as the temperature gets low enough, they start making snow to help ensure an early opening. If they then get a storm or two on top of it, its assured!

I looked up the last ten seasons, and on average, opening day was November 21st; the earliest opening day being the 15th, the latest the 30th.

For many, the goal is to be able to ski Thanksgiving Weekend. Thanksgiving is November 26th this year, so it looks like we have a great chance, but after all the weather pundits have spoken, it’s still “wait and see”. Still, wouldn’t it be great enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner in a mountain cabin looking out over snow covered meadows and pines?

Mark Twain, famous writer and political commentator, once exclaimed, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Trust me, Mark; we would if we could!

“Think Snow!”

And in the meantime, there are still some great camping days out there until then. It’s beautiful this time of year. The trees are in full Autumn color, most of the insects are gone, and the campgrounds are less crowded. The mornings are cooler, so take your long Johns, a sweater and jacket, and a poncho just in case. We’ve got it all and more; everything you need at The Ski Renter.

Don’t miss out on the NEW snow!

With snow expected tomorrow, reserve your gear today! Bypass the long rental lines and inflated resort prices by stopping in at The Ski Renter before you hit the road. Head for the slopes with ski and snowboard rental bundles starting at only $17.99 (youth) / $28.99 (adult).

The Best Snow Conditions in the Past Four Years

Apparently, you took our motto to heart and “thought snow” ! That last series of storms that finally gave us some more water here in the Valley, added up to 17 inches of snow in the Tahoe Basin. Mt. Rose got the full 17 inches bringing their total depth to 68 inches! Sugar Bowl received 9”, bringing their total depth to 53 inches. Kirkwood got 7 inches of new snow, bringing their total to 52 inches. Squaw Valley received 3 inches bringing their total to 52 inches, and Northstar 3 inches, bringing their total depth to 48 inches. These are some of the best snow conditions in the past four years. 

So Where Are the Best Conditions Right Now?

Snow News Is Good News!

So, where are the best ski conditions right now?

It’s Sunday, January 25, and I’ve been checking out the latest snow conditions; which ski hills have the most snow and comparing them to previous years. (That’s what you do on Sunday when you own a ski shop.)

Some of the best all around snow conditions right now are at Heavenly Valley in South Lake Tahoe with 32 inches, upper and lower slopes.

Sugar Bowl has 15 inches of snow on the lower slopes, but 45 inches on the upper slopes. Sugar Bowl is known for its high annual snowfall and is one of the closest ski areas to the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kirkwood has 25 inches at the bottom and 37 inches on top. Kirkwood is approximately 33 miles south of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 88 and is known for having one of the highest average snowfalls of any resort.

Bear Valley has 30 inches of snow, both upper and lower slopes. Bear Valley is south of Lake Tahoe on Highway 4.

Boreal Mountain Resort has 25 inches of snow on both the upper and lower slopes. Boreal is located near Sugar Bowl at Donner Summit, and like Sugar Bowl, is one of the closest areas to the Bay Area.

Following is a list of some of the Lake Tahoe area ski hills with the best conditions right now.

Ski Hill Lower – Upper
Sugar Bowl 15”- 45”
Homewood 7” – 40”
Kirkwood 25” – 37”
Squaw Valley 18” – 34”
Alpine Meadows 18” – 33”
Sierra-at-Tahoe 12” – 33”
Heavenly 32” – 32”
Bear Valley 30” – 30”
Donner Ski Ranch 11” – 30”
Northstar 18” – 28”
Boreal 25” – 25”

At this point, we haven’t had any appreciable snowfall since December 30th. That’s a long dry spell, but actually is not that atypical. The snow depth on the upper slopes at Squaw Valley right now is 34 inches. Comparing the snow depth on the upper slopes at Squaw on this date over the past ten years, snow depth has been 34 inches or less five times, and over 34 inches five times, so this year is very close to average. As it turns out, January is often a dry month.

Think Snow!
George Denise
The Ski Renter