Gear sales tend to follow a predictable trajectory—as soon as you stop thinking about a sport, prices plummet on all of the associated gear. Just when the spring corn snow is turning to spring slush, skis everywhere are half off. On the day a faint skin of ice covers your favorite swimming hole, suddenly you can afford a decent pair of boardshorts or buy a bikini without dropping a Benjamin. And, of course, you can always get last year's kit for cheap, but then you're just evoking an accidental (and, yes, very uncool) retro everywhere you go.
But now that it's—surprise!—the holidays, there's actually a lot of gear available for crazy discounts at exactly the time you want it to be. Sure, some of it is 2011 and early 2012 stuff, but sale seekers can only be choosers to a point. Now, to the sales…
• REI Outlet is celebrating 12 Days of Deals (Get it? It's like Christmas, only deals.) through Tuesday, Dec. 18, where it's slashing an additional 20 to 30 percent off of what are already pretty low outlet prices. Today's special is 20% extra off of snowsports gear. So, for instance, that pair of Rossi Zenith Sensor3 ski boots that were already marked down to $303.93 from an MSRP of $550? Well, now they're $243.13 (extra discount doesn't show until it's in your cart), which means you can go out and buy yourself half a ski pass.
• Altrec Outlet, too, is pushing 12 Days of Deals through Wednesday, Dec. 19. Today, they're knocking 40% off of all Columbia products. Get a men's Peak to Peak rain jacket (one of Outside's 2011 Gear of the Year picks) for $175 instead of $350. Warning, though: Sizes can be limited if you're not small or big.
• GoLite, on the other hand, has 12 Days of Savings through Monday, Dec. 17. Deals so far have included 75% off Merino wool tops, $200 off a three-layer ski jacket and today's hum-dinger, 60% off Maroon Peak Trinity 3-Layer ski pants.
• Moosejaw is offering an extra 20% off across its stock, including its already-reduced (30-50% off) outlet gear. Just use the coupon code "TWENTY" to get boatloads of Burton snowboard jackets for under $100.
• Backcountry's Department Of Goods has knocked 20-60% off of its so-called New Deals, which is essentially the latest gear they saw fit to ship to the outlet, which means it's not all that crusty. Everything from Timbuk2 classic messenger bags to last year's Black Diamond crampons are available at deep discounts. Sweet!