Aldi Snow Gear: Is It Really Cheaper than Hire?

Aldi snow gear returns this Saturday 22 May after a COVID enforced absence last year with TV news predicting frenzy.

For people counting snow trip costs, especially families, the question is it really cheaper buying than hiring is a key factor to consider before rushing in.

Aldi 2021 CraneSki Jacket and Pants Range for Adults
You can’t argue with Aldi prices

Let’s take a look.

For the record, no, we are not #AldiInfluencers with priority access to their range etc. Still less do we get promo funding from them. We have previously asked for some gear when they launched a more premium offering to on snow test it by doing the hard yards over an extended period, as we normally do for our Snow Stuff reviews/tests, but so far without a positive response.

So any Aldi gear we have, we paid full freight for, just like everyone else.

Which actually wasn’t a lot for the drawer full of Aldi ski socks, and not a great deal more for several full kids outfits purchased over previous years, or the random thermals, skivvies and essentials like Cabin Cozies.

Ask yourself how much you plan to go to the snow. Decent quality sub-alpine hires will work out cheaper than buying the equivalent for the basics of parka and pants for two or three weekends, or a couple of midweeks.

Three kids in Aldi snow gear at Cerro Catedral, Argentina
What you save on gear can help pay for the trip: we decked these 3 out for under $600 a few years back © Santiago Murtagh / snowaction.com.au

For example, in NSW the Ski Co Cooma do a great hire job (easy to find behind Maccas) – it’s their specialty, they are quick and efficient. And for snow chains they show you how to fit their easy fit range.

They offer Standard and Performance clothing ranges: “Standard – Fully waterproof, windproof and seamsealed. Performance – Fully waterproof, windproof, seamsealed with retail features from brands you know.

For kids 2 days parka & pants hire = $17 / $20, 5 days = $24 / $36 (standard/performance rates respectively)

For adults 2 days parka & pants hire = $30 / $46, 5 days = $42 / $64

Whereas buying an Aldi Kids jacket and pants will set you back $70. They claim a waterproof/breathable rating of 12000mm/10000 and fully taped seams. So for one weekend taking 2 kids you will save $100 if you just hire.

For adults the cheaper Aldi Crane range is $60 for jackets, $50 for the pants, $110 total. The waterproof/breathability ratings are the same as in their kids range. And the equation much the same – for a trip or three hiring is cheaper.

Step up to Aldi’s INOC (In Need Of Challenge) ‘premium’ adult range and you get 20000/20000 waterproof/breathability ratings, a removable inner jacket and lightweight shell for more all round versatility at $120 jackets, $100 pants = $220 all up.

Renting in resort is usually more expensive. For example, clothing at Thredbo for 2 days and 5 days works out for kids 5-12 $66 / $99, for teens $75 / $109, adults $105 / $155. You can get 20% off that if you pre-book with your lift passes.

In Victoria at Buller Sports 2 days jacket and pants hire is $66 kids, $80 adults, 5 days $106 & $86. So again, it’s almost cheaper to buy than a weekend hire. Off mountain you’ll find much cheaper hire rates.

Aldi kids jacket and pants is almost cheaper than weekend hire from Thredbo, but more than triple what you can pay in Cooma

So what’s the bottom line?

At those resort hire rates, if you are going for more than 2 days, yes, buying Aldi snow gear is indeed cheaper than hiring.

At cheaper off snow hire rates you would need to go several times – more than 3 weekends for example – to pay less buying Aldi than hiring.

So if your budget is already stretched, just hire for those one off trips.

But if you do plan to go more, this season or in the future, in our experience Aldi kids gear, including the jackets and pants, is pretty durable. You can pass it on to the next kid in line/the cousins etc as they grow.

The same equation applies to the likes of Decathlon, the French global sport’s warehouse now making a bigger mark for their snow range as highlighted by their attention grabbing $10 ski deals recently. Or something good value from a ski shop.

And who doesn’t feel better having their own stuff, COVID paranoia or not?

Aldi 2021 socks and Cabin Cozies
New sock patterns this year we don’t have. And Cabin Cozies at $4.99 hard to pass up when it’s frosty outside.

What else matters?

If you live anywhere cold enough – most of SE Australia fits the bill – you can also get some good use out a snow jacket for general winter wear, especially the premium range with its detachable inner puffer jacket.

That also applies to accessories like base layers. Sure, Aldi thermals are not Le Bent, the bees knees of thermals for serious skiers and riders in our experience, but they are OK. Very handy in winter in a place like Canberra under the jeans about now in fact! Ditto for Aldi ski socks. These go the distance in spades.

For kids who have never been to the snow, buying the gear well ahead of time gives them time to get excited about the big snow trip. We have decked out a few kids in our family over the years and it’s almost worth the purchase price just to see them whack it all on, helmets and goggles included if you’ve gone for those too, and start stomping round the house or back yard – specially for the Queensland grand kids!

The Little Layers accessories are cute, cheap and functional for all-round winter use.

Happy kids unwrapping Aldi snow gear
It sure is more exciting to get your own snow gear ahead of the big snow trip! © snowaction.com.au

Aldi Snow Gear Shopping Tips

After so many years of Aldi snow sales the enthusiasm did seem to be wearing off back in 2019. There was lots left over weeks later in Canberra stores then, even though Canberra has one of the highest ski participation rates in Australia plus a bloody cold climate.

But on TV news they are predicting a full on frenzy for 2021, with Aldi promising security and social distancing measures in place to quell the rush.

Our tip: avoid the wealthier suburbs of your city, where you can expect some pretty selfish behaviour and the most frenzy. For example, in a Sydney Eastern Suburbs Aldi we have seen mothers scoop up armloads of gloves to fill their trolley, then dump them at the checkout after getting the size they actually wanted from what they snatched from the pile. Pretty sad really.

Whereas in less affluent areas a lot of people can’t afford to ski. So less rush guaranteed right there. Plus they look after each other more. Like at Mt Colah on the northern fringe of Sydney, where we witnessed and shared in community spirited purchase at the Aldi glove pile fitting out 3 kids in our family.

“What are you looking for love?” asks the lady at the front.

“Small girls pink” I reply, and she promptly tosses me a pair and continues her search. I did the same for others, using my height and reach to see and extract a few requests while rummaging for our own needs. And passing more requests on. It was catching. Help each other and you can all get what you want people. Well, maybe not toilet paper in lockdown, but Aldi snow stuff yes!

In NSW most of the unsold gear will end up at Cooma Aldi anyway, so you can usually find some stuff there long after the sale. In the ACT they concentrate what’s left in a few stores too. Presumably the COVID shut downs in Europe mean surplus stock shipped our way too.

One final tip: avoid the centre aisle in the meantime – I went in for some oats and soup vegies, came out with a record player, extendable garden shears (both reduced, we’re not silly) and a cast iron frypan yesterday. Oopsie..

Don’t go near the centre aisle in the meantime .. © snowaction.com.au