Where to Rent Skis & Snowboards | Advice from the Experts
If you’ve ever tried to drag a ski bag through an airport, you’ll know why ski rental shops are a booming business here in Whistler. Nobody’s got time for the hassle, the cost, and the pain of lugging your ski gear over to Whistler. Luckily, you don’t have to. Because there are loads of options for ski rentals in Whistler. With rental stores scattered all over the village, you’ll be able to find something affordable and convenient that’s suited to your needs.
Of course, your ski rentals can make or break your trip. This is a decision you want to get right. To help you out, we’ve pooled our local knowledge to help you:
- Choose the right skis/snowboard for your trip
- Find an awesome local rental shop
- Get a great deal on ski and snowboard rentals
What to Expect: Ski Season Conditions
The ski season in Whistler is long and varied. It’s also very different to ski seasons in other parts of the world like the Alps or Japan. So rather than bringing your trusty old all-mountain carvers, rent some gear that will truly make the most of Whistler’s unique snow. We’ll give you a quick rundown of the season (and what to rent) here. For a more in-depth look, read our complete guide to the whole Whistler ski season.
Early Season (November – December)
Conditions: Early season means that despite lots of snow falling from the sky, there isn’t that much of it on the ground yet. Rocks and trees are still exposed in places. And you may find some runs still closed due to lack of snow, especially in November
What to Rent: With all the powder, we’d recommend renting fatter skis or snowboards than you’ve used elsewhere. They’re hugely popular here in Whistler. The extra width and rockered shape will help you float effortlessly over the pow (rather than falling gracelessly through it). And we’d definitely recommend renting in the early season. No one wants to ruin their favourite pair of skis on a poorly covered rock.
High Season (January – February)
Conditions: By January, the base of snow is normally consolidated. This means the whole mountain is open for you to explore. With regular fresh snowfall and cold temperatures, conditions are generally excellent this time of year. Whether you like carving pistes, slashing through powder or bouncing through the trees, you’ll find something to suit you here.
What to Rent: We’ll never say no to a fat powder ski or board here in Whistler. But this can also be prime-time for cruising the groomers. Lots of rental shops will let you trade in your gear between days. So mix it up and choose a fat ski for powder days, and a stiff, agile carver when there’s bluebird skies.
Late Season (March – May)
Conditions: Spring can mean anything in Whistler! Generally, the snow on the lower half of the mountain will start to melt, while the alpine keeps good, cold snow. Expect lots of spring slush and great groomer skiing in the morning. This is also the best time of year to head to the terrain park and learn some new tricks!
What to Rent: As the snowfall slows, we’d recommend a good all-mountain ski/board for the time of year. You’ll have the adaptability to ski from deep powder in the alpine to spring slush in the village in one smooth run. It’s always worth trying a set-up designed for the park if that’s your bag: lighter, more flexible gear will help you get airborne and save your legs.
What to Expect for Whistler ski rental prices
Renting skis in Whistler doesn’t have to be too expensive. Especially when you compare it to the price of flying a huge ski bag all the way out here! The price of your rental will depend on:
- Your ability – beginner rentals are always cheaper than expert
- How many days you rent – ski rentals get cheaper the longer you rent for
- When you arrive – rentals are more expensive in peak season than the quieter shoulder seasons
For example, the cheapest ski rentals we could find started at $32 per day for a beginner set of skis. That’s very reasonable, especially considering how much a ski trip costs in total. On the other hand, premium rentals of this season’s high-end gear can cost closer to $100 per person. We do have a few tips for keeping your rental cost down, including:
- Book early. Most ski shops will offer up to a 20% discount if you reserve online before arriving
- Do your research. Shop around and find the package that’s best for you. There are loads of options, and we’ve picked a few of our favourites below
- Bring your own gear. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own helmet, jacket, pants, poles and even boots. It may seem like a big expense, but if you ski every year it’s definitely worthwhile
- Use rest days. Lots of ski shops will waive the rental fees for your rest day, as long as you tell them when you book
Where to Rent Skis in Whistler
Do your homework and save a long walk around the village looking for skis. Check out these Whistler ski rental shops that we love. They all offer great service, great skis and great local mountain tips. Book before you arrive to make things even easier and save some cash.
Proudly locally owned and operated since 1992, Spicy Sports have a reputation for excellent customer service. They also have a huge range of the most popular, high-end skis every season. Choose the Atomic Bentchetler for the best pow-day ever, or Volkl RTM to charge the whole mountain. They even stock rentals from local outfit Foon Skis.
- Price: Starts at $32 per day for beginner skis, or $44 for performance models
- Location: Village Gate (by the grocery store) and Upper Village
- You should know: Book online to save 20% on walk-in prices
Whistler’s biggest ski (and snowboard) rental shop, Summit also boasts the best location. They’re just a few metres from the gondolas, saving your feet from the dreaded ski-boot walk. Summit has a huge rental store that stocks big-name, respected brands like K2, Volkl, and Rossignol, with options for everyone from beginners to pros.
- Price: Starts at $52 per day for adults and $27 for kids
- Location: Hilton Whistler Resort, just 50m from the Whistler Village Gondola.
- You should know: Summit offers discounts for groups of 10 or more. Get in touch before you arrive to save some serious cash.
Thinking about buying your own skis? Start at Fanatyk Co, where you can demo top-of-the-range skis to your heart’s content. And if you choose to buy after renting, you’ll get a credit towards your purchase. The team at Fanatyk Co are Whistler locals with tons of valuable knowledge. They’ll help you make a great choice. Just don’t blame us if you end up buying your skis after a couple of days on the mountain!
- Price: Demo skis start at $79 per day
- Location: Sundial Place, a five-minute walk from the Whistler Gondola
- You should know: Fanatyk Co don’t rent ski boots, but they do sell them and are genuine experts when it comes to finding the right boots for you.
If you’ve been enticed by the promise of Whistler’s endless, but accessible backcountry skiing, you need to take a trip to Excess Backcountry. They rent excellent backcountry ski set-ups that come with touring bindings and skins too. And their staff are extremely helpful, sharing their knowledge of the backcountry conditions and highlights of the week.
- Price: $65 per day for a touring skis and skins
- Location: Village stroll, less than five minutes from the gondolas
- You should know: If you’re renting backcountry ski gear, you must also rent a shovel, probe and avalanche beacon and know how to use them. You can get all that gear at Excess too.
Where to Rent Snowboards in Whistler
Snowboarding is just as popular as skiing here in Whistler. While you can get great gear from any of the shops we mentioned above, there are some cool companies that specialize in snowboards. Try any of these local snowboard rental shops to get the best gear.
Staying in Creekside? Book your rentals from Coastal Culture and then head straight to the Creekside Gondola, less than five minutes away. Coastal Culture is full of awesome friendly people who know a lot about snowboards. They’ll kit you up and brighten your morning. Plus they’ll let you “try before you buy” so you’ll be sure to get the right gear.
- Price: Snowboard and bindings start at $28.80, or $45.60 for performance boards
- Location: Creekside village
- You should know: You can also rent snowboard jackets, pants and a helmet for just $22 per day.
A old-timer by Whistler standards, Evolution have been doing their thing here since 1994. Truly independent, and still locally-owned, they pride themselves on stocking progressive and environmentally-minded snowboard brands. You’ll find the latest models from Jones, Libtech, Gnu and Capita here, including the gnarly one-directional Jones Hovercraft for the powderhounds among you.
- Price: Starting at $49.95 per day
- Location: Village Green – five minutes from the Whistler Village Gondola
- You should know: Evolution doesn’t rent boots, so bring your own (you’ll be far more comfortable anyway)
Wherever you’re staying, Affinity Rentals offers a convenient and helpful option for your snowboard rentals. They stock performance boards like the Ride Machete and Lib Tech Travis Rice, as well as even cheaper, beginner options. Be sure to book online before. You’ll save money, and if you don’t end up using your rentals, they’ll refund the whole cost!
- Price: Beginner boards from $44 and performance from $64
- Location: Seven different shops including Glacier Lodge in Upper Village, Pan Pacific Mountainside, Delta Whistler and the Pinnacle Hotel
- You should know: If you’re planning a rest day on your trip, Affinity won’t make you pay for rentals that day. Just let their staff know when you book.
Prior is a legendary Whistler snowboard factory is best known for its top-class, stunningly attractive snowboards. They even run a design competition every year where locals artists compete to have their work featured on the newest board. But as well as selling custom-made, handcrafted boards, they also offer demos. For the discerning rider who wants to try the best, a stop at Prior is a must.
- Price: Give Prior a call if you want to demo a board
- Location: Function Junction – 15 minutes drive south of Whistler village
- You should know: Even if you aren’t renting, Prior offer free factory tours twice per week. You can see how their custom boards are made meticulously, just minutes from the slopes.
Whistler Ski Rentals: Something for Everyone
Renting skis and snowboards saves you time and effort, and gives you the flexibility to choose the perfect ski for every ski day. Remember, book early, shop around, and bring as much gear as you can to get the best deals. And don’t forget, renting isn’t just for beginners. Whistler offers loads of premium rentals that can lead to ski days you’ll never forget.