Ski Butlers brings vacation ski and snowboard rentals to you in Lake Tahoe
No more waiting in rental shop lines while everyone is out ripping up the powder … with the company Ski Butlers, you can arrive to your Tahoe winter cabin, get settled and let your skis come to you.
Founded in 2004, Ski Butlers is featured in 60-plus hotels and resorts around the world in 35 destination spots. CEO and founder Bryn Carey started Ski Butlers out of a single-car garage in Park City, Utah, when he realized there had to be an easier, faster way to get on the slopes without having to wait in long rental shop lines.
Carey grew up in a skiing family and hit the slopes when he was just 1 year old. He competed in ski racing through high school and college, eventually earning a degree in business administration from the University of New Hampshire.
He moved to Park City after college and realized that one of the highest margins for profit in the ski business lies in rentals. He thought maybe there was an opportunity to provide better service in renting skis, thus making it not a necessary evil when arriving at a ski resort.
“You don’t always get the best treatment at ski shops,” says Ski Butlers VP of Sales and Marketing Mike Cremeno. “Instead, you can get fitted in your living room with a glass of wine in the comfort of your home.”
When launching the business in the summer of 2004, Carey first went around and talked to hotels and resorts, doing some market research and asking how they would feel about a ski rental delivery service to provide for their guests. After receiving an overwhelming positive response, he soon created a business plan to accommodate the demand.
As the 2004-05 winter approached, Carey started building the business out of his garage, storing skis and delivering them to winter destination guests in Park City. In Ski Butlers’ first year, he blew the company’s goals and expectations out of the water.
“He got such a positive reception from (hotel) guests and partners that he realized he needed to expand,” recalls Cremeno.
By 2010, Ski Butlers was present in 35 North American locations, and now it serves over 60 ski resorts in the US and Europe.
“We have hundreds of partners,” Cremeno adds.
A few years after the launch, Carey brought Ski Butlers to Lake Tahoe and hired on additional staff to serve the area. It has offices in Truckee and South Lake Tahoe, working with at least 25 properties in North Lake Tahoe alone.
Top partners on the North Shore include: Constellation Residences, Tahoe Luxury Properties, Squaw Valley Lodge, Martis Camp and the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, to name a few. Ski Butlers further has a presence in Marriott Timber Lodge, Marriott Grand Residences and Wyndham Vacation Rentals in South Lake Tahoe, among other locations.
“As a new company in the market, we wanted to get involved with the community, so we joined the Chamber of Commerce (in South Lake Tahoe), found out who the nonprofits were, and started volunteering,” says Cremeno.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Ski Butlers highly encourages its employees to volunteer at least two hours a month at a nonprofit of their choosing. The company also works with organizations such as Protect Our Winters to incorporate sustainable practices into its business.
“We are very interested in climate change … we partnered with POW and are closely monitoring our carbon footprint. By 2020, Ski Butlers will be 100 percent off the grid,” Cremeno says. “We are buying electric vans and offsetting our credits with solar and power energy. We’re trying to be leaders in the industry by setting an example.”
Rated five stars from 23 TripAdvisor reviewers who utilized its services in South Lake Tahoe, customers say that if you ski only a couple of times a year, then Ski Butlers is the way to go. Reviews from March 2017 include:
• “Everyone is very helpful and we love not having to wait in line to get our equipment.”
• “Not only did they deliver skis and boots to our house, but they’ll even come to slope and switch things out if you’re not happy. For example, my sister decided her boots were too big, we met Ski Butlers at the gondola 30 minutes later and they had a few new pairs waiting for her to try. That is amazing!”
Although there are other ski rental delivery services available in the region and across the ski industry, Cremeno is convinced Ski Butlers is unmatched in comparison.
“Thousands of people are overjoyed with our service — we’ve been called the Uber of ski rentals,” he says. “People are always telling us how easy and convenient Ski Butlers is. We hold a 93 percent customer satisfaction score in the industry and while we’re not the only ski rental service out there, we are the biggest and best.”
‘A CULTURE-FIRST COMPANY’
Ski Butlers also streamlines its services by holding on to customer information and only carrying specific brands.
“Most ski shops carry a multitude of brands; we simplify it by carrying only one brand,” Cremeno says. “It’s like a Starbucks — with Ski Butlers, you get fitted for your equipment one time, and then you get the same products and service wherever you go. When we have their information, we’re able to bring the ski shop to them.”
As far as working in the Tahoe-Truckee market, Cremano notices that consumers here are tech savvy and prone to last-minute shopping, whereas people in other markets book their ski vacations way in advance.
“People in Tahoe love to ski and are passionate about the sport. Especially at Northstar and Squaw … we deliver skis and snowboards on a daily basis to avid skiers,” he says.
When asked what his favorite thing about being a part of Ski Butlers, he quickly says the culture and the people.
“We’re a culture-first company; we believe in people pursuing their passions in the mountains,” Cremeno says. “For our partners, the ski industry can be stressful at times, and we like to relieve that stress. We work hard, play hard, and we want our customers to experience that as well. We’re always having fun and facilitating that fun to our customers.
“We’re growing too fast — even with bad snow years, people understand that ease and service is worth a little bit more for the cost. With us, you don’t lose any time on the slopes. The ski industry had a need to make the rental process easier, and we filled that.”