If you are a beginner, than I recommend that you borrow your ski gear from a friend (if possible) or buy it from Lidl or Aldi. Both sell excellent ski gear at great prices – but you have to find out when their ‘specials’ are on. There’s no point spending serious cash on ski wear if you end up hating it and never going again – well maybe you could get use out of the jacket again! Once in the resort, you can hire the boots/skis/helmet.
If you have the ski bug, then I strongly recommend that you buy your own ski boots. You can hire ski boots but it’s a bit like going bowling – the hire shop hand you over a pair that have been worn by countless skiers before you! You can get decent ski boots now in Dublin for around €200 so if you are a regular skier like me, it is definitely better value for money buying your own – and then only your feet have been in them!
I bought my ski boots (Head) in Zell am See (Austria) a few years ago and they’ve been great. They are as comfortable as a pair of ski boots can be! To make them more comfortable, I got special moulds made for my feet in Snow and Rock, Dundrum.
It’s like having orthotics made for your boots – definitely worth doing for a really comfortable fit – and it also helps my dodgy knees when I’m skiing.
I don’t think there’s any point buying your own skis. Skis are very expensive (and you have to buy the bindings to go with them). It is also very expensive and a hassle to check them into a flight. Also, the technology changes all the time and so it is worth hiring them each year as you can get the latest, best versions.
For general ski gear, Snow and Rock and 53 Degrees North are very good. My favourite is 53 Degrees North in Carrickmines.
http://www.53degreesnorth.ie They sell ski gear for all price ranges and are particularly good in the sales, when you can get high end gear like Spyder and Killy for great prices.
Also, when skiing in the actual resort, you can often get great bargains in the local ski shops there – and they often have more variety than Dublin (depending on the resort).