Once you're committed to a sport and a brand, consider buying last year's skis or snowshoes, since the technology doesn't change dramatically from year to year. Thanks to last winter's less-than-ideal snow conditions, a lot of retailers have a surplus of last year's models, which are likely to be marked down, according to Alford. Some flash-sale sites like The Clymb specialize in sports apparel and equipment, he adds.
Buying gently used apparel and equipment is another way to save. Bechtel says ski academies typically upgrade their equipment each year, so "you can get a great deal on a lightly used pair of last year's skis." Alford says sports resale stores, eBay, and Craigslist are also good resources for reasonable prices on used equipment—but inspect it carefully before hitting the slopes.