Anyone who has followed us for a while now will know that we love to ski. Spending time in the mountains has to be one of my favourite things in the world; nothing can quite beat a day of fresh snow, blue skies and sunshine.
But however much I love a family ski holiday, there are certain aspects to it that don’t sit so comfortably. One is the cost and the other is the environmental footprint that a family ski holiday has.
Fortunately, there are an increasing number of ways to ease both the burden on your wallet and on the planet. Today’s options for families who want to make conscious choices include environmentally-friendly ski chalets and the revived ski train for families who want an alternative transport option from flying. More recently, there’s EcoSki, a company that promises to kit you out in the best ski gear for your ski trip while minimising the cost to the planet.
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The cost of ski clothes
Skiing is a sport that needs a lot of kit for keeping warm, dry and safe on the slopes. It’s also a sport that requires clothes to be hardwearing. And, let’s face it, you want your ski gear to look good too.
But if you ski with kids then you’ll know that one of the regular – and seemingly never-ending costs – is buying ski wear. Children grow so fast that the ski jackets and snow pants that you bought last season rarely fit by the time another ski season rolls around.
And then there’s the environmental impact.
Much of the ski clothing in circulation today is made using fossil fuel derived polyester or nylon. The clothing is then coated in a DWR (durable water repellent) – a thin layer of liquid that repels oil, grease, dirt and water – that is equally non-environmentally friendly. These two elements alone mean that ski gear already has a sizeable footprint.
Unfortunately, however, the impact extends beyond raw materials and manufacturing. The UN Environment Programme estimates around half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres are released into the ocean every year owing to the washing of plastic-based textiles including polyester, nylon and acrylic.
And then there’s the question of what happens to outdoor gear that no longer fits; in 2018 17 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills according to data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
But what if there was another way to make sure that the whole family was kitted out in really good ski wear but that you didn’t have to buy it?
EcoSki was established in 2020 by Rachael Westbrook. As a mum to three young children she wanted to find brands that made really good ski wear and that also were committed to being sustainable. But she struggled to find one platform that showcased them all.
In addition, buying good ski equipment is expensive, which is why people are often drive towards buying cheaper, poorer-quality brands.
This is where the idea for EcoSki came in.
The business works in four ways:
- The website showcases ski brands that create excellent technical gear while also limiting their social and environmental impact. These brands are available to purchase.
- EcoSki also offers a pre-owned section where you can buy hard-wearing kit second-hand.
- There’s a repair service where you can send in your old ski wear to be fixed – ski pants that have been scuffed for example.
- And then there’s the section where you can hire ski gear. As with the ski clothes that you can purchase on site, all the ski gear for hire is very high quality. EcoSki only stocks top brands that are as committed to making high-quality gear as they are minimising their impact on the environment. That’s why you’ll only find brands such as Patagonia, Ortovox and Protest on the site.
- You can read more about EcoSki’s brand selection criteria here.
Ultimately, EcoSki is a sustainable online skiwear rental shop that aims to help skiers make better choices while saving them money in the process.
How to hire ski clothes
It was EcoSki’s rental service that I was most excited about. The idea of having access to top equipment without having to pay top dollar is a great idea, plus it’s a really good way to try before you buy should you decide that you want to purchase the ski gear at a later date.
I tested out EcoSki on a ski trip to Les 7 Laux in France. I travelled with my six-year-old son and the two of us worked with EcoSki to rent clothes for the week-long trip.
EcoSki have a large selection of equipment on offer for both children and adults. In addition to ski jackets and trousers they offer ski socks and thermals, ski gloves and hats, neck warmers and mid-layers and, well, pretty much everything you need for a winter holiday.
In addition you can hire ski goggles, ski helmets, backpacks, snow boots and even an insulated water bottle. It’s a one-stop shop for all your ski holiday needs.
How to hire ski clothes with EcoSki – the process
The EcoSki rental process is very easy. All you have to do is…
- Go onto the EcoSki website and register an account. Search for the relevant rental category; they offer Women’s Rental, Men’s Rental and Junior Rental.
- Choose what items you would like to hire. There is a minimum four day rental period plus an additional day rental for anything following.
- The four day rental price is shown per day as well as the cost per additional day.
- Add the items to your basket and check out.
- There is free shipping for orders over £95 and £4.99 for any orders below this price. EcoSki gives customers an additional day free to ensure that all ski kit arrives early.
- Your ski gear arrives promptly in eco-friendly packaging and includes a prepaid return sticker for sending the items back at the end of the rental period.
- At the end of your holiday, package everything up in the brown packaging that the ski gear arrived in, add the prepaid return sticker and take it to the post office.
- Once you’ve returned the items, everything is professionally cleaned and re-listed on the website ready to be hired again.
- EcoSki works with fashion rental platform My Wardrobe. When you return your ski items, the kit is sterilised via an eco-friendly Ozone chamber and, if required, repaired and reproofed using environmentally-friendly Nikwax products.
What we hired with EcoSki
I loved my ski outfit and was very reluctant to return it at the end of the rental period! But here’s the thing, if I were to buy the Ortovox set it would cost me almost £900.00. Yep, not cheap! But, renting the outfit for eight days cost just £158.57, a significant saving.
My youngest received two ski outfits plus some fantastic Hestra gloves (it’s highly unlikely that I would ever buy Hestra gloves for my kids but renting them for a week is a brilliant way to ensure that they have top quality kit for a fraction of what it would cost to buy them).
The trousers were a touch long, which meant that the ends were scuffed when we returned them to EcoSki. Fortunately, the rental price includes insurance, which covers wear and tear such as this.
He also rented what can only be described as the most incredible bunny ski suit by British brand Dinoski. EcoSki stock a handful of these all-in-one ski suits and they are the perfect rental item. My son loved wearing his bunny suit on the slopes but who knows if he would like it in a year’s time? Renting the ski suit allowed both him – and myself – to enjoy it without having to commit to buying it at full retail price.