It is coming up on one of my favorite time of the year, both Black Friday and the opening day of ski resorts. Which one is more exciting? For many, the early season ski and snowboard deals signal the purchase of new gear for the new season. What a better way to start the new season than with new gear.

So what to expect in terms of Black Friday deals for skis and snowboards is a question many have. For this 2017-18 season, I believe the best bargains will be on jackets, pants and accessories. After last season’s early season snow in many areas and the continued record snow in some areas of the west, much of the 2016-17 ski and snowboard inventory was sold by the retailers, therefore leaving less reason for deep discounts this fall. This was good for the retailers, but not so good for us deal shoppers. As I have seen so far, some of the best discounts have already occurred on skis and snowboards (yes you read that right) with some of the prices on skis and snowboards actually beginning to increase again as the merchants inventory decreases.

This probably isn’t the news you were looking for, but that is the reality of an industry whose primary selling season is at the end of the year and opposite almost every other industry. When almost all of the other industries are trying to get rid of bloated inventory and prepare for next years shipment goods into there warehouses, the ski and snowboard industry is trying to not only get rid of old stock, but also trying to wow the skiers and riders with their latest and greatest offerings.

As a diehard skier who is also on the thrifty side, the ski industry is an enigma to me. I spend a considerable amount of my time thinking about skiing, preparing to ski, preparing to buy skis and staying in shape for skiing. Even in the middle of the summer when I am enjoying my second favorite activity, mountain biking, on a long, hard climb up a trail, my mind will often drift off to how this ride is going to help me come January. This however is the easy part of being active as I like to ride, hike and do outdoor activities.

The hard part for me is actually buying “the” gear. There are usually so many options and with equipment becoming so darn good over the last decade, often times making a decision many for me times is a struggle. Usually, much of it simply comes down to, “what kind of deal am I getting?”. How much better will these more expensive skis actually ski for me? Am going to like the swing weight of these new poles?

Ski boots are a different story though. It simply comes down to how well they fit and ski. Their is no compromise for a deal on ski boots. As for the snowboarders, you have it a little easier as your boots are pretty darn comfy compared to ski boots. I am not saving any money if I am miserable on the chairlift or sitting in the lodge since my feet are killing me. So I get fitted properly, buy orthotics and pay the going rate. This isn’t to say I don’t find any savings since usually I know in advance when I am about to need a new pair of boots (actually pretty soon so am on the lookout) and have begun my preliminary exploration.

Some of the best Black Friday deals will be the ones you make now as outdoor retailers will probably not be discounting their skis and snowboards any more than they already are.