It's that time of year again: time to book the annual ski trip. Book your flights, find accommodations, purchase those lift tickets, and leave your skis and snowboard at home. Wait, what?
This season one company is suggesting that you do just that, leaving your gear, and the headache of bringing it on the plane, at home. Spinlister.com, a Santa Monica, California-based company, is offering a unique online program that allows travelers to rent ski and snowboarding gear from ski town locals—and get some inside knowledge in the process.
"I hate to travel with my gear," explains Spinlister founder Marcelo Loureiro. "Usually when you travel with your skis or snowboard you have to put it in oversized luggage, pay extra fees, and struggle to find a car where it fits. We wanted to eliminate that."
The idea is simple: ski town residents list gear they are willing to rent on the website based on their geographic location. They set the price, anywhere from $10 a day for heavily used equipment to $80 a day for high performance equipment, and then wait for a renter. When a renter connects with them, they organize a meet-up and then arrange payment through the Spinlister website to avoid shifty money transactions, essentially creating a secure online bulletin board. Spinlister takes a service fee from the rentee and a commission from the lender, but everything else is free.
According to Loureiro the meet up is the intangible pay-off that he hopes to foster in the ski and snowboard community.
"Visiting a mountain for the first time, what is the most precious thing that I can get?" asks Loureiro. "Local knowledge. Someone who knows the mountain, knows the best runs, the best conditions. Someone who is a part of the local culture."
The peer-to-peer ski and snowboard rental service stems from a bike share system already run by the Spinlister site. Loureiro says that he often rents out one of his bikes to people visiting the Santa Monica area, and along with that gives them tips on where to grab the best burger and a cheap beer. The added knowledge is something he thinks will translate well to the ski and snowboard world.
However, Loureiro admits his snow connections are limited, so he has brought on Signal Snowboards founder and creator Dave Lee to handle winter operations. He will help build a network of gear renters in prime ski and snowboard locations around the U.S., with hopes of growing the network as the season goes on. For Lee, the move made all the sense in the world.
"This is exactly how snowboarding started—cool people finding cool people to snowboard with until it officially became something big," explains Lee. "Spinlister in a way gets back to the essence of the sport. Snowboarders supporting snowboarders."
After enjoying success with the bike share program, Loureiro hopes the ski and snowboard catches on as well, and has plans to start a surfboard exchange this summer. More than anything though, he hopes the rental service will change the culture of gear in the action sports community.
"We aren't promoting ownership; we are promoting access to gear," says Loureiro. "In that way we are promoting great experiences in the sports we love."
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