IF YOU don't own your own skis, you will hit the alpine equivalent of Avis to rent some sticks. While most ski resorts have shops that rent equipment, you can save a few dollars (and often get newer and better equipment) if you rent your gear locally before you head to the slopes. Here are the area shops that rent alpine and cross country skis (rates include skis, bindings, boots and poles):

INNER SKI -- Daily, $16; weekend $32 (Thursday pickup, Monday return). 8 E. Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg, 948-1494; 6649-A Old Dominion Dr., McLean. 556-9200.

OLD TOWN SKI & OUTDOORS -- Daily, $16; weekends, $29.50 (Friday pickup, Monday return). Cross country: $12 a day. 821 S. Washington St., Alexandria. 683-1510.

OWENS SKI & SPORT SHOP -- Daily, $14; weekend (two days only), $29.50. 8945 Woodyard Rd., Clinton. 868-2480.

SKI CENTER -- Two-day minimum, weekend (Thursday pickup, Monday return), all $29. Massachusetts Avenue and 49th Street NW. 966-4474.

SKI CHALET -- Daily $16; weekends: $29.50 (Friday pickup, Monday return). Cross country: $10.50 a day, $19.50 weekend. High performance rentals available. 2704 Columbia Pike, Arlington, 521-1700; 3610 University Blvd., Kensington, 949-6000; 4060 Walney Rd., Chantilly, 631-7880.

SKI HAUS -- Daily, $15; weekends (Friday pickup, Monday return), $29. 11130 Rockville Pike, Rockville. 468-7750.

SNOW KOUNTRY INC. -- Daily and weekends, $15 a day. 13342 Laurel-Bowie Rd., Laurel. 953-2116.

THE SKI RACKET -- Daily, $15; weekends (Friday pickup, Monday return), $27. 1725 Elton Rd., Silver Spring. 434-2221. 556-C Ritchie Highway, Severna Park. 544-6161.

THE SKI SHAK -- Daily $15; weekends (Friday pickup, Monday return), $28; 5224 Port Royal Rd., Springfield. 321-7502.

VILLAGE SKI & BIKE -- Daily, $20; weekends (Friday pickup, Monday return) $30. 690-4756.