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A Ski Rental Solution

A Ski Rental Solution

Traveling with your skis is not only a drag, it can be pricey. But renting is no picnic, either. Black Tie Rentals offers an easy alternative.
By Samantha Berman
posted: 03/16/2012
Skis in front of view over Grindelwald, Switzerland

A common question: To schlep your skis or to rent once you get there? As editors, we travel a lot, so it’s a dilemma we’re faced with a dozen times throughout the ski season. Quick weekend jaunts, business trips with a side of skiing: Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to take your skis along. But renting and demoing comes with its own set of hassles—hassles of the form-filling, line-waiting variety.  So on a recent, very brief (read: less than 48 hours on the ground) trip to Lake Tahoe, I decided to try Black Tie Rentals. These are the guys who come to your hotel room or condo to fit you with boots, skis, even a helmet if needed. No hightailing it to the rental shop 10 minutes before it closes or missing slope time in the morning to get your equipment.

The morning after I arrived, two technicians showed up at my hotel room door promptly at 8 a.m. hauling a huge bag containing 6 sets of skis. (I had brought my own boots.) We talked briefly about the conditions on the hill, about the type of skier I am, about the terrain I planned to ski. If I didn’t like any of these options, one of the techs told me, they had several more sets down in the truck. I settled on a pair of mid-fat women’s K2s with the promise that if these weren’t to my liking, I'd call the number on the card and they’d meet me at the base of the slopes with more skis. A signature here, an initial there, and within 15 minutes of arriving, they were gone. And off I went to catch first chair. It couldn’t have been easier.

Surely service such as this must cost a pretty penny, right? Not so. Black Tie is comparable to resort high-performance rentals—cheaper in some cases ($54 for premium/demo skis, $44 for performance skis; prices vary by location), and they stock all the leading brands, including Dynastar, Head, Volkl, K2, Rossignol and Solomon. With locations serving almost all of the Western Rockies and Lake Tahoe ski resorts, it’s a no-brainer. Unless, of course, you like forms, lines and hanging out at the rental shop when you could be, I don't know, skiing.

reviews of A Ski Rental Solution
Your article couldnt be farther from the truth. Delivery business came about because guys who couldn't afford the prime real estate at the base of the ski area had an "in". They were smart in the fact that they preyed on bad shops who did it wrong and said lines were the issue as well as bad customer service but I will say this. You have your gear delivered to the house but now you have to get all your gear to and from the house to the slopes every day. Good brick and mortars store gear for free...skis and boots!!! You have to sit around and wait for some random dude to finish fitting gear or picking up gear to come fix your boot or drop off a different pair of skis. This all happens outside since you are not welcome in a ski shop at the base of the ski area and the delivery company isn't legally allowed to enter the base lodge to perform a fit. You get what is "left in the van" vs getting what you should actually be fit for. You still have to do paperwork even if it is in your house. They try to sell you retail gear out of a duffle bag like a trunk show salesperson. Workers for delivery companies are mostly transient (first year employees) so fits are generally bad, they don't know the gear because they dont interact with customers day in and out as to how it works they just perform "fits". They also dont mount gear, tune gear or meet with the reps and engineers about how and why the gear was built and for whom. If you do some research on the best ski shops in Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, Sun Valley, Squaw, etc none of them do delivery because they are the best ski shops in that town. They know delivery is a bad idea. My point is if you want the best gear and experience you go to a ski shop kind of like if you are going on a surf trip you should go into the best surf shop where you are. Or you could have some random dude come to your house and pull a board out of the back of his van. I'm sure the one he has in there is perfect for you. Who cares that you spent all kinds of money on your lodging, plane tickets, food and beverage, etc...the board will be awesome and if its not paddle in and call him and he can come change your board out when it works for him. Not saying all brick and mortar are the best but at least they give you what you need, when you need it, where you need it most. Delivery is for Pizza not a family ski vacation...its also your most expensive rental option which makes even less sense as they have no brick and mortar to pay for!!!
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