Learning how to ski was one of my goals when we moved to Austria. I had skiied once before the move and had run into a tree. Now, being less an hour’s drive from our nearest lifts and with the potential to ski little but often, there really was no excuse.
But how to get all that expensive ski gear when I may hate the sport and use it only once? The answer was the Ski Fleamarket (Flohmarkt). This takes place every year just before the start of the ski season in around October or November. In the Mezzezentrum, a big exhibition centre reached by Buses 1 and 8, is one hall of skiing madness. Racks of clothing, goggles, helmets, poles and of course skis combined with a lot of people milling around. Try and work out whether the €200 skis are good value or whether you should just buy the €50 pair standing right beside them. Push through hordes of small children to reach poles that might be your size. Once we had found our bargains, we waited in the very long queue to pay for it all. But it was worth it: me, all kitted out (including a gift of a jacket from a friend) for less than €100.
The second tip is to find a friendly ski renting shop that will sell you some ex-rental skis. If you rent them for a day first, you’ll get to try before you buy!