For me, purchase, no question. Like I mentioned upthread, I have two sons, 2.5 years apart. My general strategy will be to buy new stuff out of season and pass it down. (I also have a nephew 1-1/2 younger than my youngest -- don't know if he'll do snow sports, but bikes and other stuff will get passed down to him for sure.)
Skis. I bought new "last year's model" skis and bindings in the summer on discount ($200, I think. MSRP would've been $300+). Then in season I bought adjustable Roces boots ($100), which we got two seasons out of. Real rough math, but kid 1 got almost 30 days on the gear, making that roughly $10 a day. Say kid 2 uses the stuff for two years, also around 30 days, that makes $5 a day. (Right now I don't have issues with passing boots down from kid to kid.)
Snowboard. Similarly, last spring/summer when discounts started, I bought a new "last year's model" board for about $120. (Ride Lowrider, 90cm. Looks like 2013 model has MSRP of $180 this year.) I bought new Flow Micron bindings (previous year's model, XS) off of eBay for about $50. Boots I'll buy in season to make sure they fit, probably full price. Once I see how the kid does and how the boots work out, I'll watch next spring's sales and buy the next 2 sizes up of the same model of boot if discounts are good. Same plan for passing snowboard gear down to second kid as with skis.
I'm sure this beats rentals anywhere. At some point too I did some numbers on those "new gear each season" programs and didn't think they made sense for me at all, especially since I plan to pass down. I can see kids' needing new boots each season, but I'm hoping a given size board will last 2 seasons per kid. So given their age spread, I'm thinking they'll get about 4 years out of a board.
Plus there's never having to deal with a rentals area.
Sooner or later your legs give way, you hit the ground.
Last edited by MikeIn248; 10-19-2012 at 02:40 PM.