Since renting can be a pain, and is expensive if you do it frequently, I went out and bought ski gear yesterday. The lady pointed me in all the right directions. We started (and fortunately ended) at Action Sports in Branford, who had a "ski swap" yesterday. I had a price in mind: $500, maximum. Ideally, $400 or less.
The first thing is the most obvious: skis. We started out front where they had the tent with all the stuff people brought in to swap (pretty much they just gave you store credit). A very nice lady from the store helped us out, and told me I'd probably need to go with around a 174cm length for the skis. We found a very good pair of used K2 Omni Hawks for $150, and I was sold right away. We then went inside and saw some real fancy new skis, but they were $400, so I went with the used ones. Glad I did that. They look nice.
Next: boots. We started again out front in the tent, where another guy from the store was fitting people. He sized me up as about 29cm. We looked around and tried on a couple pairs. I ended up getting a pair of 29.5cm Lange boots, which fit pretty well. I think they were around $40, but the receipt I have isn't showing them (maybe I pay for them later?). Good boots. I was then told to leave them for tuning and whatnot and to pick them up November 1st. Good deal.
Then we went back in and had to find a helmet, goggles, and poles. An older guy named Mark, great guy, helped us out. I ended up with a cheap but decent pair of Axis Powder pols for $30. The helmet is a nice flat gray Giro Encore 2 model that I got for $50. Then there were the goggles. The first pair I tried on were decent, but I ended up going with a bigger pair of Smith Fuse Regulators for $90.
All told, I walked out with all the equipment I'll pretty much need (I'll probably need a new pair of pants) for under $400. Good stuff. Now I just need to learn to ski.