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November 2019

Mountain Spy :: November 2019

We ask, "Do you rent winter clothing?"

Written by Dave Meeker | 0 comment

The Question: I'm going to be in your area over the holidays and would like to see about renting winter clothing. Do you have any to rent?

Outerwear is expensive, and new and casual snowsports participants don’t always have or want to invest in a full range of technical apparel. Some mountains offer soft-goods rentals, some don’t—that’s not on trial here. We wanted to see how resorts deal with the cost-conscious and the uninitiated.

For this Spy mission, nobody laughed at me (good), but I also often had to ask for more info. That made me feel weird. Shouldn’t you be the ones asking the follow up questions? A real newbie might not even know what questions he or she should be asking.

As always, folks, if you have a question you think would be good for Mountain Spy to ask, send it to


Answering phone: Automated message. Waited for operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do not rent any apparel. There are select places in town that do. If you were to type in ski rentals or snow apparel rentals and (resort location), you’d be able to find those places. I think some of them are (names two rental outfitters). Those are the two that I can think of off the top of my head that do apparel rentals, but we don’t here.
SAM: Great. Good to know. Thank you.
Staff: Yeah, of course. Have a good day.

Rating: 6
Comment: Nice job offering suggestions for alternatives without being prompted, including names of outfitters and tips for what to Google. What if I had other questions, though? She was quick to end our call.


Answering phone: Automated message. Waited for operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Let me connect you with someone who might be able to help you. We don’t have any of those areas open just yet. One moment.
Second contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do not. We do not rent clothes.
SAM: Oh, OK. Do you have any suggestions about winter clothes if we are just going to be trying out a few activities?
Staff: Hmm, I’m not sure if there is any place around that rents winter clothes (pause). I know when our family comes up from Florida, we’ll go to Goodwill and see if we can get something really cheap there. But as far as renting anything, I really don’t know of any place.
SAM: That’s OK.
Staff: Yeah, the only thing we rent here are the skis and ski boots and things like that.
SAM: OK, great. Thank you for your help.
Staff: Uh-huh, you have a good day.

Rating: 4
Comment: She was nice. And, when prompted, she made an alternative suggestion about where to find cheaper outerwear, which is a start.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uh, yes, we do have bib overalls and jackets. They're $10 per item. So, if you got the set it would be $20.
SAM: OK. Great. Is there anything else I should know about the rentals?
Staff: I mean, are you coming to ski or snowboard?
SAM: That's the hope.
Staff: Yeah. OK. OK. Yeah, we do. We rent them both at our shop in (location) and also here at the area as well, so…
SAM: Great.
Staff: I mean, I don't know. Is there any other information you need? We do rent clothing. We don't rent any goggles or our hats or anything like that, but we do rent the over the bib overalls and the jackets.
SAM: OK, great. I'm not doing most of the planning, but I wanted to check up on the clothing rental, so thank you.
Staff: Oh, you're welcome. Bye-bye.

Rating: 7
Comment: She answered my question right away and knew the pricing, but got a little flustered when I asked for more information. She recovered, and followed up with appropriate details. Where do I get a hat and goggles, though?


Answering phone: Automated message with LOTS of options. Finally got to choose to speak to a representative.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do not rent, unfortunately.
SAM: Oh, OK. Any suggestions?
Staff: Umm, as far as renting?
SAM: Yeah. We just wanted to try some skiing and snowboarding.
Staff: You could try (name of outfitter). I’m not sure that they rent—they’re a separate company from us—but you could check with them.
SAM: OK…so it’s (repeats name of outfitter)?
Staff: Yes.
SAM: Great. Thank you.
Staff: You’re welcome.

Rating: 3
Comment: Navigating the automated menu was a tough start. The staffer was friendly enough, and did suggest an alternative, but didn’t seem keen on making much of an effort to help me out, which was a missed opportunity.


Answering phone: Automated message. Chose other inquiries.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Hmm, for renting? I don’t think that we do. Are you looking for coats and things like that?
SAM: Yeah, like snow pants and a jacket, that type of thing.
Staff: OK. Let me double check on that. Do you mind if I put you on a brief hold?
SAM: No—that’s OK.
(Call drops.)
(SAM calls back.)
Second contact: Female. Same name.
SAM: Hi (name), I think we were just speaking and the call dropped. I wanted to know about renting winter clothes.
Staff: Oh, OK, yeah, we do not rent winter clothes. We rent equipment here but not clothing. There is a place that you can buy clothes at.
SAM: OK. So, if we just wanted to try some skiing or snowboarding, there is no option for short term rentals?
Staff: Not for clothing, no.
SAM: Is there anything nearby or do you have any suggestions?
Staff: On property, you can buy clothing.
SAM: Right…
Staff: I don’t know if you want to go to a consignment store. You could do that, too. But it’s used clothing. There’s one in (location) near us. That’s the only place if you don’t want to pay a lot of money.
SAM: OK. Well, great. Thank you for finding that out for me.
Staff: Alright, bye.

Rating: 3

Comment: It’s soooo annoying when someone means to put me on hold and hangs up instead. At least when I called back she had an answer right away, but she made me feel awkward for even asking.


Answering phone: Automated message. Chose general information.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We do not. Let’s see here. I think it is (name of outfitter) that does that. Let’s see here. We used to a while ago, but… (Pause while she searches.) So yes, if you Googled (name of outfitter), they will be able to do that as well as all other rentals. It says here they have adult sizes and children’s. So, yeah, it’s (repeats name), and all you would have to do is look under skis and demos on their website. And it says here that if you have any questions, you can contact them and they will be available to help you.
SAM: Great. Are they close to you?
Staff: Yes, they sure are. They’re just right down the road.
SAM: Fantastic.
Staff: Alright, is there anything else I can help you with?
SAM: No, that was it. Thank you.
Staff: OK. You have a great day.

Rating: 8
Comment: Cheerful, helpful, and it sounded like she actually double checked the info she was providing me, which was great. I was a little confused at first, though, because she didn’t tell me what she was doing (e.g., “Do you mind waiting while I find you an answer?”), but it worked out.


Answering phone: Automated message. Chose general information.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No, we do not.
SAM: Oh, OK. Can you make any suggestions?
Staff: Indeed. So, you could certainly purchase clothes at any of the downtown locations (lists several outfitters), and if you are looking for something, you know, along the more meager payment plan, you might look into (name of outfitter). They have a lot of great used stuff that you can buy and it’s for half the cost. I think you can find them online if you go to (web address).
SAM: Cool. That’s good to know.
Staff: Alrighty, is there anything else I can help you with?
SAM: No, that was my only question. Thank you.
Staff: You’re sure welcome. You have a good day.

Rating: 5
Comment: When I asked for suggestions, she had several—awesome. “Meager payment plan,” though? She was looking for a nice way to say budget friendly. That wasn’t it.


Answering phone: Automated machine. Chose operator.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, let me transfer you to (pause)…just one second here.
Second contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: The only thing we have is the snow bibs and snow pants. They’re $12 a day.
SAM: OK… so, if I need other stuff, do I have other options?
Staff: To buy them. We don’t rent the jackets and stuff.
SAM: Is there anywhere nearby or is there a shop?
Staff: Yes, we sell (lists brands).
SAM: OK, so you have the snow pants to rent, but the other pieces I would have to purchase?
Staff: Yes.
SAM: Well, great. Thank you for your help.
Staff: You’re welcome. Bye.

thumbs downRating: 2
Comment. The initial transfer was very abrupt, which was a bad start. And while the second staffer did answer my question, she was not very forthcoming and I had to pry more info out of her.


Answering phone: Automated message. Chose customer service representative.
First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: We rent the ski bibs, which are the pants that come up to about your chest and then they have straps, almost like overalls, but they are made of a nylon, kind of puffy material to keep you warm. So, you would have to wear the inner layer, and we don’t rent coats or gloves. With the rental of skis or a snowboard, you can also get a helmet, so that will cover your head.
SAM: Great. So if I need some kind of similar jacket, what do I do?
Staff: Well, where are you coming from? Are you coming from an area where you would have no winter type clothing?
SAM: Yeah, we weren’t planning on bringing a bunch of heavy-duty stuff with us.
Staff: OK. You know, depending on how cold it is out, you could get by with two or three layers. I usually recommend something like an Under Armour type material that is moisture wicking but seals the heat in. And you could get by with that and maybe a lightweight jacket and hoodie. You don’t want the old-fashioned wool coat. That is really going to weigh you down.
SAM: OK. That’s great. Thank you.
Staff: And we do sell gloves here. But people usually just pack a pair of gloves—that doesn’t take up too much room. But just dress in layers. That’s what we recommend.
SAM: Great.
Staff: Alright. Is there anything else I can help you with?
SAM: I think that’s it for now. Thank you.
Staff: OK. Now, is it just yourself? Are you coming with a family?
SAM: We’re going to be a group, but someone else is doing the bulk of the planning.
Staff: OK, because we do have group rates. And if there’s not 15 of you, you can just go online and save money by ordering tickets in advance online. So just keep that in mind, OK?
SAM: Oh good! I’ll let the person know.
Staff: Alright. Well, thank you very much. We look forward to your visit.
SAM: Thank you!

thumbs upRating: 10 (THUMBS UP)
Comment: This is how it’s done. She assumed nothing about my existing level of knowledge, gave practical, economical advice, and, the big one, she asked about my trip. After the call, I felt like the folks at this resort would take good care of me.

Identity revealed: Perfect North Slopes