Is skiwear rental the next big thing?

27th January 2022, by Abi Butcher

This kit from Ortovox is just some of the ski clothing available to rent from EcoSki

This kit from Ortovox is just some of the ski clothing available to rent from EcoSki

Renting clothing and accessories for your ski holiday might one day become the norm, if the success of a start-up skiwear rental business this season has anything to go by.

Sustainable skiwear retailer EcoSki last week said that its kit had been sold out over the Christmas and New Year period — with founder Rachael Westbrook saying demand has “exceeded all expectations”.

Rachael launched EcoSki as a “one-stop shop” for sustainable ski wear in early 2021 and the rental platform launched with MY WARDROBE HQ last autumn.

“We were at full capacity on some items over Christmas and New Year, so I’d like to thank everyone for believing in this concept and seeing rental as a serious option,” said Rachael.  “I went into the skiwear rental totally blind. It hadn’t really been done on this scale before, and a lot of people told me it wouldn’t work, but I’m passionate about keeping this hard-wearing kit in circulation and making the most of its life, and I’ve been blown away by the demand.”

A number of other companies are now following suit as well as clothing brands including Decathlon, which rents via the platform Hirestreet, and Picture, which launched skiwear rental in France this winter. You can rent more luxury ski clothing and kit via the By Rotation app and My Wardrobe HQ.

While companies hiring out ski kit have been around for a while, none have the range available of EcoSki, nor the sustainable ethos. The big-name brands of ski clothing available to rent include Patagonia, Picture, Mammut, icebreaker, Ortovox, Planks and Amundsen. There is everything available from jackets, pants and gloves to avalanche kit including bags, transceivers, avalanche probes and shovels.

Of the skiwear rented so far winter, the lion’s share (50 per cent) has been women’s jackets and pants, with demand then split evenly between men’s ski clothing (26%) and junior rental kit (24%).

Leicestershire mum-of-three Sarah La Terche chose rental kit from EcoSki for her December ski trip as it seemed “the sensible choice”.

She explains: “We booked our pre-Christmas holiday to Switzerland ages ago but were never 100% sure we would actually make it ...So we gave ski wear rental a go for the first time. With three growing children and a chance the whole trip would be cancelled it seemed a sensible option.

“I had many conversations about outfits and fit with the EcoSki team who were incredibly helpful. The kit (which is so stylish) arrived the day before our flight and it all fitted perfectly. The return process was so simple. You just shove everything in a bag (unwashed) , pop the return label on the parcel and take it to the local DPD drop-off point. No cleaning, no dramas and it meant we could enjoy Christmas without piles of ski laundry to get through. I would highly recommend it.”

Skiwear for hire is available for rental periods of four, eight, 12 or 16 days, starting at £4 per day. It arrives at a customer’s door the day before their ski trip and can be packaged up, without being washed, the day after the customer returns. After each rental, items are cleaned and reproofed or repaired if necessary and then sterilised via an innovative, eco-friendly Ozone chamber before being dispatched to the next customer.

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