Breckenridge resident pitches outdoor lockers as a way to speed up the ski rental process
What started as an idea for people to quickly rent skis or snowboards for the day has turned into a pandemic-friendly business model for streamlining the ski and snowboard rental process.
For customers who want to bypass the traditional rental process, SnoBoxPro hopes to partner with Breckenridge rental shops to offer the locker pickup service with the goal of creating a fast and contact-free process that helps to reduce a point of congestion at ski areas.
The idea started when SnoBoxPro founders Nicholas Friedman, who lives in Breckenridge, and Paul Fitzsimmons went snowboarding, and Fitzsimmons wanted to demo a board for the day.
“I just remember it taking forever,” Fitzsimmons said about the rental shop. “And I was thinking, ‘I know what I want. I’ve been snowboarding for 20 years. This should be quick.’”
After the experience, Fitzsimmons and Friedman talked about how the process could be streamlined and done on a smartphone. From there, the two envisioned a way for people to rent skis and snowboards online, sign a waiver electronically and pick up their gear from a locker via a QR code, similar to the Amazon locker model.
Fitzsimmons and Friedman formed the company in 2019 and presented the idea to resorts heading into the 2019-20 season. But resorts weren’t on board with the concept at first. However, when pandemic restrictions limited capacities of indoor spaces, the founders said resort rental shops became interested in the idea that could help employees move people through more quickly and serve more customers.
“It really is about rentals made easy,” Fitzsimmons said. “… The more we can do on our phones ahead of going into the store, the faster we can make it and the more time people spend on the actual mountain.”
Walking through the digital rental process, Friedman explained that customers would fill out a web form with information about dates, gear and sizing, including height, weight, gender, ability and boot size. A DIN setting for ski bindings also would be included for skiers.
The information then would be sent to the rental shop so ski technicians could get the rental gear set up. The customer would fill out a waiver and pay online, then receive a confirmation text message and QR code to open a locker filled with their gear. Friedman noted that the lockers include boot heaters.
“We automate the entire process to provide a standard DIN calculation as well as ski length or board length calculation and boot size,” Friedman said. “And in doing so, one of the things we found out was this really took 80% of the people out of the shop and onto the mountain. You still need your first-timers, your beginners, your people that haven’t rented before to go into the shop, but this way we can schedule the 20% of people, on average, that needed that face-to-face service, and 80% of the intermediate or advanced skiers and snowboarders could rent online.”
When the company partners with a rental shop, the lockers would placed outside the store for easy pickup and to reduce the amount of people inside the shop.
SnoBoxPro plans to place its first few lockers in downtown Breckenridge. The owners say they’re in discussions with local shops and ski areas but don’t have any official agreements in place.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.