On top of buying expensive ski passes at resorts, the last thing students need is a huge fee for renting gear. Renting snow gear at an affordable price is hard to come by. Although there are places such as Play It Again Sports that sell used gear for reasonable prices, some may not be fully committed to buying winter equipment. In some cases, renting is the only option. Every winter, the Student Union Gear Room provides winter gear rentals for students at discounted prices.
The Gear Room offers ice skates, skating skis, cross country skis, along with boots and poles, snowboards, snowboard boots and snowshoes. Students are able to rent these items for a day, weekends or a week at a time. There are a variety of sizes in gear for all students to rent and enjoy.
The Gear Room was created to allow students the opportunity to experience Alaska. Lyle Moore-Kroll, Student Union Building Manager, operates the Gear Room and shows its importance to the UAA community.
“It’s a way for students to get outside and do something other than being overwhelmed by their academic lives,” Moore-Kroll said. “Just something to get themselves outside of the UA community and experience Alaska for what it is.”
Before the Gear Room, students were unable to explore the outdoors without the right equipment. With expensive rental prices, many students would be discouraged to participate in Alaska’s winter.
“There wasn’t really a way for students to get outside especially if you don’t have your own equipment. Not every student can go to any other place off campus and afford to rent out their gear because it is so expensive,” Moore-Kroll said.
Students from out of state don’t often have any winter equipment, or they have not been exposed to items such as snowshoes and ice skates. Exploration of the outdoors can be intriguing, especially for students not originally from Alaska. Still, there are students who have lived in Alaska all their lives and never had to opportunity to snowboard or cross country ski.
“I mean that is great for students that are not from Alaska to get outside and experience nature and what Alaska has to offer and that’s why this Gear Room is important for them, but also for people that are here who know how to snowboard that may not have their own gear just to be able to afford to do so whenever they can and not necessarily have to keep and maintain their own set,” Moore-Kroll said.
Winter equipment that is easily accessible with a fair price allows students to take a break from campus and experience new things with friends. Clynce Carrillo, Student Union Building Manager, describes the importance of students’ expansion of experiencing new sports.
“People need to be more active and I always feel that the sense of exploration and even trying new sports will enhance one’s life,” Carrillo said.
Allowing students the chance of potentially obtaining a new hobby and potentially gaining new friends and experiences is what the Gear Room is hoping to fulfill.
“It’s an affordable and efficient way to get out there and do fun stuff and also meet new people,” Moore-Kroll said, “Some people are new to snowboarding or skiing, and they get offered by an acquaintance or someone in their class and they’re able to come to the Student Union and rent gear.”
The Gear room will be fully transitioned to winter equipment within the next couple of weeks. This will allow more time for prime snow conditions for these winter sports. Take advantage of these low prices and experience this winter wonderland of a state.