Just over two-and-a-half years ago Donnie Clapp aritulated something critical to any prospect for skiing’s growth when, discussing that very topic, he wrote this:
“For those of you who haven’t joined the club yet, kids are like living anchors, dragging behind us as we half-heartedly paddle our boats toward meaningful recreation. Want to go for a hike? Your choices are something way shorter than you’d prefer, fifty extra squirming and whining pounds on your back, or (and this is most common) ‘Screw it, let’s just wait until they’re older.’
Now ask yourself what specialized equipment a satisfying hike requires (hint: none). Easily the most accessible outdoor pursuit in the world, hiking is such a logistical nightmare with a couple of kids that all but the most dedicated among us abandon it as a realistic option. Skiing is like outfitting a private mission to Mars in comparison.”
But let me focus on one pair of words within Donnie’s statement, “logistical nightmare.”
Before I dig into that, I want to go back to an interview Alex Kaufman recorded with a couple in Florida that operates a ski club and ski shop in a place where every skier, by default, is a destination skier.
“With the airlines changing the tactics they use to make a lot of money and charging for baggage, very few of our customers have their own skis anymore. It’s cost prohibitive lugging them out there, so most of them rent.”
Now let’s assume, for a minute, that a similar sentiment exists with outerwear. The jackets, the pants, the goggles, the helmet, the gloves…all of which look small on spread out on your bed and then instantly fill up your suitcase.
Now factor in:
And you have a situation where skis aren’t the only things that make sense to rent. And if renting skis is now the norm for people in warmer climes, perhaps the next, painfully obvious step is renting clothing. Especially with prices like this:
And that’s exactly what GetOutfitted offers.
Instead of $500 for an outfit that your son will only wear for a a week a year that will likely cost you another $200 ($50/bag x 4 flights) to fly with, you can spend $200.
But remember, skiers wouldn’t just save money, they’d save time, frustration, and hassle.
One of the interesting dynamics here will be to watch Ski Butlers from here on out.
Bryn and co. have built an awesome brand and awesome company around an awesome service. They’ve proven this “gear as a service” model with skis, they have the relationships, and they are as close as anyone to replicating this model and either providing some healthy competition or beautifully strategic partner to handle the ski/board side of GetOutfitted orders.
But speaking or partners, that’s why I bring all of this up. If skiing’s status as a “logistical nightmare” is accurate (and it is), we need to recognize these services for what they are – businesses that can help more people take better ski vacations – and NOT what they aren’t – a competitor to your rental shop.
Unless you want to recreate their services yourself, maybe now’s the perfect time to start a conversation.
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