Everybody loves a bargain and when you are looking at spending potentially hundreds of euros on ski or snowboard equipment this is especially true.
If you are in the area in November it is well worth keeping an eye out for brightly coloured posters advertising ski sales in some of the local towns. Taninges, Mieussy and Cluses are amongst the towns that hold these sales. They are usually held in large municipal buildings in order to make room for all the stands.
The ski shops from the surrounding ski resorts go to these sales in order to sell any of the previous season's stock that they still have not sold. Therefore there are usually some fairly large discounts to be had and, if your French is good enough, it might even be worth haggling!
Any of the ski shops that have bought new hire skis and boards for the winter might also be selling their ex rental stock, and possibly some ex demo stock as well. Whilst these skis and boards might have seen a lot of use, they have generally been well looked after and well serviced.
Another thing to keep an eye out for at these sales is the Ski Clubs. Every resort, as well as some of the towns in the valleys, has its own Ski Club who train together and compete in races all around France. Many World Cup and Olympic skiers have been the product of these clubs. When the clubs are looking to replace their skis they sometimes sell them at these sales. This means that, if you are at a level where you think you can handle some top end racing skis, it's possible to buy some true racing skis which might be only one season old and have been looked after very well by people who really know what they are doing.
As well as the ski shops and Ski Clubs there are also often stands selling vintage gear. It is a good opportunity to pick up a vintage one piece ski suit to complete your look, as well as some retro skis or a retro snowboard. For anyone looking to get into racing or trying to pass the speed test there are also usually some lycra race suits on sale as well.
As the temperature drops and the first snows start falling visiting the ski sales is just one way to start getting excited for the coming winter.