Northern Michigan ski gear deals abound this time of year, whether you are buying ski gear for kids or renting ski gear for kids. Check out these great deals for both! Updated September, 2011.
Boyne Country Sports: Junior Has a Fit Program (“fit” referring gear, of course, not tantrums. Though if you want to avoid the latter, we suggest planning for plenty of hot cocoa breaks and on-hill silliness). The program is simple: Bring your child(ren) to a Boyne Country Sports location (in Northern Michigan: Petoskey, Traverse City, Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain) to be fitted by staff experts in order to purchase ski equipment that is best suited to their needs/sizes. When buying the gear, tack on another $30 to join the Junior Has a Fit program. Return the ski equipment with your sales receipt and program voucher by July 1, and receive a credit of 100-percent of the purchase price toward new gear. You can repeat those steps until your kids are sporting adult skis and boots! (Check back later this fall for updated 2011-2012 prices). For a list of locations, visit boynecountrysports.com.
Bahnhof Sports Kids Club: The Bahnhof offers two options for parents, with both a seasonal lease and purchase program. The lease program is only available until November 23 and is $119.95 for boots and skis. Get the kids sized for the season, and if they happen to grow out of their equipment mid-season, just head back to the Bahnhof and swap ‘em out for bigger gear. The purchase program is just as easy: buy your kid’s equipment package at Bahnhof Sport and receive 100-percent trade allowance when you return the gear by April 30, 2011. Stuff still fit at the end of the season? Keep the equipment for two years and still receive 50-percent credit toward the next round of junior skis and boots. Works for skis ranging from 80 to 140 cm. Package costs $269.95, and as an added bonus, when your child outgrows the program, you can redeem that last voucher toward grown up gear! Call 800-253-7078 or check out bahnofsport.com/sports for more information. (Check back later this fall for updated 2011-2012 prices)
Don Orr Ski’n Beach Haus: Kids feet tend to grow fast, and the staff at Don Orr wants to make sure that doesn’t deter parents from getting their little ones out on the slopes. They have a junior fit boot program that allows parents to receive 50-percent off the next round of boots until their child reaches adult sizes. Check back later this fall for updated 2011-2012 prices. Call 800-346-5788 or visit donorrskihaus.com for more information.
Cross Country Ski Headquarters: The Roscommon-area Nordic center offers a junior’s package that will keep kids in skis no matter how fast they grow for just $184. The no-wax ski package allows parents to trade up to larger boots for $15-$25 and ski trade-ins run $15-35. When a child grows into adult-sized equipment, one final trade allows them to move into the big gear for just $95-$125. Call 800-832-2663 or visit cross-country-ski.com for more information.
Cross Country Ski Shop Children’s Exchange Program: Buying a new cross country ski package gives parents the freedom to switch gear sizes whenever their child has outgrown one (or all) equipment pieces. Boots cost $10 to move up in sizes; skis are $15; poles are $4, though most folks only need to trade boots on an annual basis, as the skis and poles often fit appropriately for two years or more. The shop also offers three different race-worthy junior skate ski packages, starting at just $199. For more information on the Grayling shop, call 800-889-7456 or visit xcskishop.com.
Not sure if your tots are ready for alpine or Nordic glory? Several area resorts offer great deals on ski rental packages, some right down to the helmet.
The Outfitter: Looking for a cross country rental package that allows you the freedom to hop around all the area trails? Check out the Outfitter in Harbor Springs, which offers daily, weekly, and season-long cross country rentals. Junior packages for one day are $12. Keep rentals for five days for $50, and keep the skis, boots and poles all season long for only $120. Outfitterharborsprings.com.
Dan Webster’s Pro Shop: Kids are naturally curious, and when it comes to winter sports, children who start out skiing often find themselves curious about snowboarding, and vice versa. The problem? Equipment can be pricey, and parents often feel locked in to gear for one or the other. Enter the season-long rental option at Dan Webster’s. For $120, parents can rent a snowboard and boot set-up for their children, and downhill season-long rental packages are $130. Want to swap sports mid-season? No problem. The folks at Dan Webster’s, located in Petoskey and Gaylord, are happy to help. Webstersproshop.com
Nub’s Nob: Junior downhill gear is available for $23 a day, with reduced rates for multiple-day rentals. Night skiing rental can be added for $10, or is free with multi-day rentals. Cross country equipment and snowshoe packages are available for $10 a day, with a cut-rate offered for additional days. Helmets (for all ages!) are just $10 a day. nubsnob.com.
The Homestead: Kids’ alpine equipment (ages 1-8) is $19 a day, and juniors’ (9-17) get their gear for $32 a day. Snowboard and snowboard boot rentals are available for $28 for kids and $40 for juniors. Cross country rental packages are available for $11 and $16; back country packages are available for $22 and $26; and snow blades are available for juniors only for $26. An added bonus: members and registered guests who charge their equipment to their house account receive 20-30-percent off the listed prices. thehomesteadresort.com.
Shanty Creek Resorts: Children 12 and under can rent alpine ski and snowboard equipment for $28 a day, and 13 and up rent for $38 a day. Helmets are available for $10 a day. Nordic equipment rental packages are $12 for kids 12 and under and $16 for ages 13 and up. Skate ski packages are available for kids 13 and older for $18 a day. Check back later this fall for updated 2011-2012 prices. shantycreek.com.
Timber Ridge: Kids age 11 and under can rent skis, boots, and poles for just $5 a day for use on Timber Ridge’s cross country trails. Older kids pay $12. The daily rate to ski at Timber Ridge is $7 and children 10 and under ski free. timberridgeresort.net.
Crystal Mountain: Kids (ages 8 and under) can rent downhill ski equipment for just $15 a day and juniors (9-17) can rent for $28 a day. Snowblades are available for $15 (kids) and $30 (juniors). Helmets are available for all ages for $10. There are packages available for tickets and rentals, starting at $15 for kids and $55 for juniors (midweek rates). Need lodging, tickets, and rentals? Packages start at $199 per family during midweek and $319 on the weekends. crystalmountain.com.
Treetops/Sylvan: The resort recently purchased new rental equipment, and is still in the process of selling its old gear. For kids in need of skis size 120 cm or higher, some great bargains can still be nabbed. Families that are looking for lodging and ski time might want to take advantage of the “Kids Package” at the resort. Starting at $499, two adults and three children receive two nights lodging, a pizza dinner, three days lift tickets, and special surprise gifts for the little ones. For $899, the whole family also gets rental ski packages and lessons—semi-privates for the adults and group for the kids—in addition all of the above, as well as one extra meal. Just looking to rent skis? Kids eight and under are just $15 a day; juniors (ages 9-12) are only $25; and teens (13-17) are $30. (Check back later this fall for updated 2011-2012 prices). treetops.com.