How I Just Paid Less for My Kids’ Ski Outfits Than I Did for Their Lift Tickets


ski apparel renting options

Living in the Bay Area, we have enviable access to amazing outdoor adventures with our kids, and most families will find themselves drawn to the snowy slopes of Tahoe, Mammoth, or Bear Valley at some point.

Unfortunately, with the amount of gear required to keep those little bodies comfy warm (whether skiing, sledding, or making snow angels), you’ve practically broken the bank before you even arrive. Until you try Zent.

I can’t take credit; my husband discovered this San Francisco-based snow apparel rental company about a month ago when planning a weekend Tahoe ski trip with our two older kids, ages 4 and 6. This was their first time skiing, so not only were we unsure whether there would ever be a second time for either of them, we also feared the clothes we purchased this season would be comically small by next year.

Yes, borrowing from friends is always a nice option and a free one at that. But it can be a bit of a hassle, especially if you need to source items from multiple families. So, back to Zent: we pulled up the website, selected from a list of top, well-known brands (we chose Columbia, but they also feature The North Face, Arc’teryx and more), and chose our “package”—in our case, Deluxe, which means everything from après-ski boots to long underwear to goggles. They also offer more basic Outerwear packages, as well as a la carte items, and sizes range from toddler through adult.

The total for a 9-day rental of every scrap of clothing our kids wore on the slopes? A mere $70 per child. That is less than a single-day children’s lift ticket at most of Tahoe’s leading ski resorts. Shipping both ways is free, so there are no hidden costs. And yes, you need to return the items in good condition, but just don’t do any post-skiing tie-dye projects at the lodge and you should be okay on that front.

This was one of those times when I was looking everywhere for the catch. I didn’t find one. Also, did I mention that most of the items in our box were brand new with tags? Seriously, is this a trick?

Renting snow apparel may not be the best option for those who head to the mountains at every opportunity, and once your kids’ rate of growth slows down, the items you buy will serve you for longer. But for families like ours, this kind of service checks all the boxes: economical, convenient, and stylish.

Now, if someone can please start a rental company for ski-carrying sherpas, we will be all set.



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