Ski Famille MD Chris Thompson tries out the Skismart service.
In March I decided to hit the slopes with my family. This may not sound like an unusual occurrence for someone running a ski company, but we hadn’t been out to the mountains together for four years (cue violins!).
Being the work adicted control freak that I am, I decided that a simple family holiday wouldn’t be nearly complicated enough for me, my wife or our two children. I decided to combine the trip with a photography push to secure more images of Ski Famille’s childcare and chalet services in action.
A further family was recruited to be our complaint models for the photo shoot (thank you Oli and Sarah Cooke for your cheerful and unquestioning help) and I set about pulling together all of the other things required. The photographer put dates in the diary, flights were booked and attention shifted to the more detailed elements of our trip.
An obvious issue quickly became ski wear. With so long an absence since we last headed for the hills en famille I was the only person with vaguely respectable clothes for the slopes. Mrs T’s ski jacket had long since moved to the shed for winter protection when cleaning out the rabbits, eldest daughter Eva was now an entirely different size and shape and young Delphi hadn’t even entered the world at the time of our last Alpine jaunt.
Added to this, we felt it was prudent to have a number of alternative outfit combinations available to our models. The hope was that a few different styles and colours would keep the new brochure and website photos looking fresh and interesting. We will, I hope, avoid cries of “Oh look its them again” as guests flick from page to page.
Fortunately our friends at Skismart came to the rescue. Skismart is a ski wear rental company started last year. They work with carefully selected brands to provide a premium ski wear rental service .They kindly offered to lend us a number of sets of clothing for both adults and children. Following an initial call they set us up on their system so we could provide everyone’s measurements and book the most appropriate kit for the trip.
The Skismart process impressed from the start. All email communications were crystal clear with precise updates regarding what was on its way and when it would arrive. When the clothing was delivered (exactly when expected) it was well packaged, sparklingly clean and in pristine condition. Better still I hadn’t had to go shopping … I hate shopping …
Everything was of superb quality. Jackets and Salopettes from Spyder, Eider and Schoffel were accompanied by kids ski suits from Helly Hansen. As irregular skiers the level was far above what we would choose to buy, but as a rental made a lot of sense. Everyone would be snug and warm (not a big challenge this March as it turned out) but also looking far more stylish than had we raided the lofts of skiing friends or done a dawn raid on a discount supermarket’s ski promotion; although I would highly recommend the latter tactic for thermals and bits and pieces like kids gloves.
Once in resort the Cooke family and my own children leapt upon this fabulous haul of quality kit. Come the end of the week Oli Cooke had to be bribed out of a Spyder jacket he had taken a bit of a shine to and my daughter Eva is still trawling through our coat rack with a haunted look wondering where her beautiful new Schoffel jacket went. Returning clothing was also a fantastically easy process; box it all up and drop it off at the nearest DPD pick up point; yours probably won’t be far away.
With ski fashions constantly evolving and the best brands representing a serious investment, we think the Skismart service offers excellent value if you only ski once a season or every other year. For more regular adult skiers it may still make more sense to buy but with children and their pesky / costly habit of growing, a good quality well organised rental service is a great new resource for skiing families.
Skismart prices start from £38.50 in their adult range and £27 for juniors. They also stock some fantastic childrens wear with prices starting from £21 for a week’s hire. Considering the retail value of the clothes can be up to £500 per item, we think it’s a fantastic value service.
Thank you too to Salomon for providing a number of Apres ski items of clothing, base layers and a few more ski jackets and trousers to cover all eventualities … although we shied away from the flouro green ski pants!