This is ideal if you only ski once a year and don’t want to invest in the expensive kit, which may look dated in a couple of years.
SkiSuitRental.com partners Wendy Williams and Googie Gundolf both moved to Austria for love - and ended up becoming passionate skiers, with years of experience in what makes the perfect ski holiday.
Gundolf, originally from Australia, said she and Wendy were inspired to start the business after seeing how many of their visiting friends and family members “tried to beg, borrow and steal ski suits from us! Especially for their children, kids grow so quickly, and they don’t always want to wear an older sibling’s hand-me-downs.”
SkiSuitRental.com stocks a wide selection of high-quality brands designed for alpine skiers. “Staying warm and dry on the slopes is the key to enjoying skiing, particularly for young children. You can choose the colour and design you want and choose a new style every time you ski,” Gundolf says.
“When I first moved to Lech am Arlberg, I wasn’t so keen on skiing because I always felt so cold, but then I realised that’s because I never invested in a good quality suit, and that makes all the difference,” she adds.
“Many people who come here as tourists underestimate the mountains and alpine climate, and that can be dangerous if conditions change suddenly and you’re not properly dressed.”
Williams and Gundolf have selected all the apparel they offer based on their rigorous criteria for ski suits - so all the jackets are waterproof and wind-proof with specific design features such as snow catchers and lift-pass pockets.
Renting a suit for six-day holiday costs around €132 for an adult, and €60 for a child - so it won’t break the bank. At the end of your holiday, you pack the ski-suit back in the box it arrived in, attach the prepaid postage and drop it off at your hotel reception or with the chalet owner - and it’s then sent off to be professionally cleaned.
Currently, SkiSuitRental.com covers all of Austria’s ski resorts, and will also deliver to any ski resort in Europe, providing there is a reception at your hotel or a contact person at your chalet. They also deliver to your home address if that’s more convenient.
However, with Austria, the market leader when it comes to winter sport tourism in Europe, it’s the ideal location for their business. 17.5 million tourists arrive in Austria in the winter months, with the majority heading to Tyrol and the Salzburg region to hit the slopes.
Williams, a Canadian by birth, says the business taps into the sharing economy - the system built around sharing resources and furthering sustainability. “The idea of ownership is much less important these days. Renting the ‘hardware’, the skis, poles and even boots and helmets, has long been the norm - so why not rent the ‘software’, the ski apparel too? We offer an added convenience value for our customers by delivering the product exactly where they need it.”
Every item shipped is hand-inspected for quality, cleanliness and appearance but if a client does find a problem with their ski apparel or if it doesn’t fit, Williams and Gundolf send over a replacement by the following morning.
“For people who live in small flats in large cities, like London, an annual ski holiday might be a highlight of their year, but they don’t have room to store ski suits at home and might not want to travel with a lot of luggage - particularly with airline restrictions on luggage allowances,” Williams says.
“Another advantage of renting a ski suit means that it doesn’t matter if you’ve gained or lost a bit of weight since you last skied. You can order exactly the size you need, even if the jacket and pants sizes are different. There is nothing worse than trying to ski in too-tight ski pants!” she laughs.
“Our service is also perfect for first-time skiers who are not sure if this is something they will be doing regularly - and it works really well for families with growing kids.”
It’s a service that has also proven to be popular with professionals who come to Austria for a few days on business or for a conference and plan to ski for a day or two at the end of their trip.
Williams and Gundolf have had enquiries from as far away as South Africa, as well as from young Australians and Americans who are travelling in Europe for a year.
Much of the benefit of an enjoyable and relaxing ski holiday comes from really being able to switch off from your daily worries and preoccupations - and SkiSuitRental just makes it so much easier, taking the hassle out of planning and packing for your trip. Really, looking good on the slopes has never been so easy!
This article was originally published The Local in 2016.
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