So, you’ve arrived in resort, checked into your accommodation and now you need to collect your equipment, ready for the adventures that lay ahead tomorrow. When booking with Andorra Resorts, all hire shops will let you collect your equipment the afternoon before which is great for those of you early birds who want to seize the day and get up the mountain first thing in the morning. At Andorra Resorts we understand that time on holiday is precious, so we’ve put together some top tips to prepare you and help keep the time spent collecting your equipment to a minimum.
Boots: Fit, Fastening and Comfort.
Before going into the hire shop, make sure you know what size shoe you are. It sounds obvious, but having worked in a hire shop before you would be surprised at the amount of people who aren’t sure what size they are!
Whether you are skiing or snowboarding, when it comes to boots the most important thing is that you opt for comfort. Make sure that the boots are comfortable and that they aren’t too big or too small. As a general rule, your toes should reach right to the end of your boots when you are stood up, but they shouldn’t be crushed. If your toes are pressing on the end of your boots, bend your knees and you’ll notice that your toes will move back in your boots slightly. Ideally, the more snug the boots are to your feet and calves the more responsive your skis or snowboard will be to your movements, which will make it a lot easier to make your turns.
If you are skiing then you can use the various straps and buckles to adjust your boots so that they fit nicely against your feet and your calves. If you have wide calves, don’t be afraid to let the rentals team know so that they can select a pair of boots with a wider fit. Back-fastening ski boots are also a good choice for people with wider calves, although the availability of these boots cannot necessarily be guaranteed.
For snowboarders, boot fastening systems can vary between depending on which category you opt for and the availability of stock in the hire shop. There are a variety of fastening systems for snowboarding boots, and these range from regular laces, bower systems (where you twist a cog to tighten the wire laces), and pull cords (where you simply pull the cords to tighten the boots). The choice of fastening system is essentially a matter of personal preference, but as with ski boots ideally you want a pair of boots with a fastening system which allows them to fit firmly to your feet.
Whilst most hire shops are generally fine to swap your boots for a different size if they aren’t quite right, it’s better to get it right first time to save any blisters or rubbing on your first day on the mountain, so take your time and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re not sure how to fasten your boots up properly. The rentals team are there to help!
When heading to the hire shop, make sure you have your ski socks with you. Ski socks tend to be quite a bit thicker than every-day socks so this makes a real difference to comfort. When you are getting ready to head up the mountain for the first time, it’s essential that you only have one layer on up to the top of your ski boot – even if it’s cold. Don’t be tempted to have a second sock, or your thermals down to your ankles as if you have two layers, they are likely to wrinkle and create pressure points against your leg and that can be painful and uncomfortable. This a common mistake people make.
Skis and Snowboards: Size Matters.
The size of your skis or snowboard will depend on your height and ability. As a general rule, smaller skis or snowboards are usually easier to manoeuvre (i.e. make turns) whereas longer skis are harder to manoeuvre but tend to go faster. Beginners tend to start off with skis or snowboards that are just below or around chin height, whereas intermediate and advanced skiers often prefer to have taller skis/snowboards, say, from nose-height upwards.
If you are a beginner, then don’t worry – the rentals team will be able to select the equipment most suitable for you and your ability. If you are an intermediate or advanced skier or snowboarder, you can help speed up the hiring process by giving the rentals team an indication of approximately what size skis or snowboard you normally go for and they will do their best to accommodate you.
Ski Bindings: DIN settings
Once you’ve got your boots and your skis sorted the rentals team will set up your bindings for you by adjusting the ‘DIN’ settings based on your ability, weight, height and boot. The DIN setting is the release force setting on your skis and determines how much force is required for your skis to pop off, reducing the risk of injury in the event of a crash. If you are a beginner then (depending on your weight) your DIN setting will be set relatively low so that if you fall, your skis will pop off relatively easy to prevent injury. Intermediate and advanced skiiers often prefer to have higher DIN settings. Essentially the higher the DIN setting, the harder it is for the skis to pop off.
If you are an intermediate or advanced skier, it really helps the rentals team if you know what DIN setting you are – don’t be offended though if they still go through the setting procedure with you, as it’s important for them to get it right. Again, if you’re a beginner don’t worry that you don’t know your DIN setting. The most important thing is that you’re honest with the rentals team about your weight and your ability, because if you under or over-exaggerate either of these it could compromise your safety – i.e. if your DIN setting is incorrectly set then your skis may not pop off as they should if you were to fall over.
If you have your own boots and are hiring skis only don’t forget to bring along your boot because without this the rentals team will not be able to adjust your DIN settings accordingly.
Please note that bindings and DIN settings should only ever be adjusted by a professional ski technician.
Snowboard Bindings: Stance (Regular or Goofy?)
When setting up your bindings the rentals team will most likely ask you whether you are ‘Regular’ or ‘Goofy’ – don’t worry, they aren’t trying to offend you! Regular and Goofy refer to the stances of your bindings, where Regular means you ride with your left foot forward, and Goofy means you ride with your right foot forward. Most people tend to be Regular riders, but if you’re not sure then don’t worry – the hire shop can adjust your bindings if required.
If you are not sure which you are, don’t worry, we’ve got a top tip! Stand with your feet a shoulder’s width apart and get a friend to lightly push you in the back. The foot you step forward with, to balance yourself, is your leading foot.
You’ll see on your bindings there are different adjustment settings on the sides – use these buckles to fix your boots firmly into the bindings. You don’t want to have them so tight that you lose circulation, but normally the tighter the bindings are to your boots, the more responsive your board will be. It’s also best to tighten your back binding first as this will push your boot right to the back of your bindings.
Bindings come in different sizes depending on the size of your boots, so If you have your own boots don’t forget to bring one of them along with you to the hire shop so that the rentals team can make sure that your boot will fit inside the bindings comfortably.
Snowboards also come with a leash, this should be attached to your leg at all times when you are on the mountain. This will stop your board from running away down the slope if you ever take your feet out of the bindings on the slopes.
Other useful tips for hiring equipment:
Print your vouchers
Make sure you print your equipment voucher before going to the hire shop. Please note that hire shops require the printed voucher, and they do not accept vouchers shown on phones/smart devices.
Consider buying insurance. Most hire shops offer insurance for only a few euros a day which means that if you lose or damage your equipment then you don’t have to pay the full replacement cost. Insurance terms and conditions vary depending on the hire shop, and you can inquire about this when you collect your equipment in resort. Insurance needs to be. purchased directly from the hire shop.
Take a Credit Card with you
All hire shops will require your credit/debit card details in case of any loss or damage to your equipment. This is normal procedure and is the same concept as when your card details are taken when hiring a car.
Consider using a ski locker
Consider using a ski locker if your accommodation is far away from the slopes to save you having to carry your equipment back and forth to the slopes. Ski lockers are available in the majority of our hire shops, but not all of them can be pre-booked. If lockers can be pre-booked then they will appear under the ‘Extras’ tab on our resort booking websites.
Finally, last but not least…
Trust the rentals team.
Don’t forget, the rentals team are professionally trained ski and snowboard technicians and know their stuff. They are there to help you and will do their best to accommodate you, so take their advice and trust their judgement. By knowing your sizes and DIN settings where appropriate you can help speed up the hiring process, but just remember they can only offer you the range of equipment that you have paid for, unless you choose to upgrade.
By booking your equipment rentals with Andorra Resorts you will get a minimum of 25% off the in-resort price, we also carefully select our shops based on their location in resort – and the quality of their equipment and service.