Tahoe Area: Good Value Listing / Advertising Alternative to VRBO and Airbnb

vrbo airbnb alternative listing advertising lake tahoe

Tahoe Area Ski Leases and Vacation Rentals: SnowPals is a Good Value Listing / Advertising Alternative to VRBO and Airbnb

About SnowPals.. we have been connecting busy SF Bay Area snow-sports enthusiasts together to share skiing, snowboarding experiences and to share ski leases / to book Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals for the last 21 years since 1999.

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Advertise on SnowPals by listing your Tahoe rental, seasonal ski lease or family / group members ski lease share to get results.

Feedback from property owners who have listed with us:

“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay.

“I think SnowPals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of SnowPals. We actually found this ski lease last year on SnowPals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $40 listing fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks SnowPals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if SnowPals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo | Page down to read more feedback from property owners, ski lease groups and families who have listed on SnowPals.

Are you looking for a good value alternative to listing your vacation rental or ski lease on Airbnb, VRBO, FlipKey or HomeAway? We offer a simple and low $40 ad listing fee; notably we do not charge renters and we’ve been connecting property owners with renters since 1999.

 

Are you not getting noticed because your listing is on sites next to thousands of other properties? What does it matter if your target audience can not find you?

SnowPals’ listing is affordable, user friendly, and niche targeted to Lake Tahoe vacation rentals and ski leases. We’ve been helping vacation rental owners increase their booking referrals since 1999 by connecting SF Bay Area professionals who enjoy snow sports with Tahoe area property owners to book vacation rentals and ski lease organizers looking for seasonal ski lease members.

For 21 years, SnowPals have been connecting San Francisco Bay Area residents and visitors to Tahoe together for outdoor activities and snow sports. SnowPals’ 8,230 members list (as of October 2019) grows yearly and we have a 16,000+ audience reach for social media, newsletter list and new visitors to our website; the chart below is a screenshot of SnowPals’ visitor statistics from Google Analytics:

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list on SnowPals to get results

Get results: increase your vacation rental bookings by advertising on SnowPals to reach your Lake Tahoe rentals target audience.

How Much Does It Cost?

For group and family ski lease share listings: we have a simple listing fee of $40 for the entire ski season (until April 30) for ski lease advertising; submit your listing at http://www.snowpals.org/leases | Browse Ski Lease Listings.

For vacation rental or seasonal lease rental advertising: the listing fee is $40 for seven consecutive months or $60 for 12 consecutive months (which breaks down to $5 per month ad rate); submit your vacation rental or seasonal lease rental listing at http://www.snowpals.org/rentals | Browse Vacation Rentals & Seasonal Lease Rentals.

Comparison of Airbnb & VRBO Advertising / Listing Fees

AirBnB listing fees: Takes 3% of the overall rental price (plus added fees) as their charge. This includes credit card processing fees also. (note: guests are apparently charged 6-12% of the booking as a fee to them, so keep this in mind when pricing your home compared to your competition).

VRBO listing fees: They have the option of no listing fee and 10% fee per booking. This includes the credit card processing fees also. You can also choose to pay a yearly fee starting at $349 for the year. It says there’s a 0% fee, but it’s a bit misleading since you still have to pay for credit card processing. So in reality it’s a 10% fee with no yearly fee or a 3% with $349/yr. (or more depending on plan).

SnowPals is a good value alternative to listing on Airbnb and VRBO for the Lake Tahoe area; list your vacation rental or ski lease to get booking referrals. To get an idea of what people are listing; browse vacation rentals and ski leases.

Are you considering turning your home or vacation rental property into a seasonal winter ski lease?

Read up on Key Tips for Drafting Ski Lease Property Rental Agreements.

Reviews And Feedback From People Who Have Listed With Us

“We had our place posted on Airbnb as a Winter Ski Lease and on other online listings for about 4 months and maybe had 3-4 inquiries. Within 1 day of posting our chalet for winter ski lease rental on SnowPals, we had immediate inquiries and we had it leased within a couple of weeks. Tim is great to work with and made the process super easy. I will definitely continue to use SnowPals listing! Rated 5/5.” – Margie, property owner of Tahoe City Chalet. 10/2/2019; you can also read this review on SnowPals Facebook Page to verify.

“SnowPals has been a huge help in finding the last few member of our ski lease this year. Not only does the service act as a recruiting tool, it is a great resource for members to see lease specifics and photos of the house even after they have signed up. Creating a listing was easy, and personally I thought the advertising support was extremely responsive to emails. Thanks for offering a great service.” – Jonas of Truckee New Luxury House 11/16/2018

“I’ve been a member of Snow Pals since it started. For the last two years I have been using the cabin share ad listing on SnowPals to fill vacancies in my seasonal rental. For the money involved this is a great deal as it targets a very direct market. It’s incredible that so many Bay Area snow sports enthusiasts get together in this manner. Highly recommended.” – John W. of Donner Lake Cabin Share 10/5/2018

“We have used SnowPals for 4 yrs in a row to help find others to share our ski lease. We have had great success with quality applicants. We have tried other sites and none can compare. The nominal fee is a great value.” – Chris of Family Ski Lease Agate Bay 10/1/2018

“Thanks to your wonderful website, our cabin is now full for the 2018-19 ski season. This is our 6th season advertising our ski lease on SnowPals. I had about 35 people contact me for the listing this year. I don’t know how you they do it, but with SnowPals we get only professional folks and most of them people familiar with snow country. I had tried craigslist and pretty much just got people who wanted to pay $100 and have someplace to lay their head, and could they make the $100 payment in two payments. When I switched to Snowpals.org I found almost exclusively professional working people who had no trouble paying the full lease membership fee and who appreciates a nice, uncrowded place, which is how we do our cabin. THANKS!!” – JoAnn M. of Alpine Meadows Luxury Ski Lease 09/10/2018

“Snowpals ski lease listing is the best for the Tahoe area lease and rental market advertising! It’s well worth the $40 listing fee which is comparatively very cheap. I very much appreciate all you guys do in attracting folks who share a passion for snow sports.” – Christine S. of Tahoe Donner Truckee Ski Lease 9/6/2018

“Thank you Snowpals. I have listed my vacation rental property for the last 4 years with great results. The results from Snowpals advertising brings me good responsible renters every year. I only list with Snowpals now.” – Randy S. of North Tahoe Home Rental 9/6/2018

“I’ve listed my ski lease ads on Snowpals over the past several years. The ads have helped me greatly in filling the memberships in my ski annual ski leases. They have also given me the opportunity to meet and get to know and create some great friendships over the years!” – Jack D. of Lake View Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/4/2018

“Our Snowpals ski lease ad listing worked great. We posted the ad on a Wednesday, and had filled the last 4 spots in our house within 6 days. We had plenty of responses which allowed us to be selective and ensure a good fit for the house. We would definitely use it again. Thanks!” – Kelle & Marc of Great Donner Lake Ski Lease 12/5/2017

“Snowpals offer a great ski lease listing service! I was uncertain at first about whether we’ll actually find someone we wanted to share a ski lease with, however lots of people ended up approaching me of all ages and backgrounds. Most of those seemed like they would be a good fit, and it only took me a single meeting with one of the first responders to decide it would be awesome to share a lease with. I give SnowPals a rating of 10/10; would re-list next year if we need people to join our ski lease!” Jaco R. of Heavenly Kirkwood Ski Lease 11/18/2017

“Listing my ski lease on Snowpals helped us fill the remaining 5 spots with cool people (and great skiers, even one woman who has trained with the US ski team!). It’s better than posting on Craigslist, because all of the people who reach out are actual ski/snowboard enthusiasts. Would definitely recommend, and $40 is totally worth it–just put it into your ski lease budget–a drop in the bucket for great ski members additions!” – Alan A. of Ski Palace Tahoe City Ski Lease 11/16/2017

“I can’t say enough about how great my experience with Snowpals was! Snowpals made it easy and logistically possible to find cool ski / snowboarders for our house!! You know the people you find and who find your listing are like minded, and love to be in the snow! The vetting process is so much faster, and it’s a great community to get involved with.” – Michelle M. of Squaw Valley Ski Lease 11/08/2017

“This is our second season using Snowpals to find the last couple members of our ski lease. It’s easy to post and we end up getting tons of responses! We’ve had so much success that every person we’ve found so far on Snowpals has joined the cabin for the next season! Definitely worth $40 ad fee!” – Miriam M. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 11/02/2017

“For the second year in a row I found great tenants in less than a week on Snowpals aka SkiPals. So much more efficient than using Craigslist, which attracts all the international people on visas, and Airbnb, which attracts weekend rentals. Will continue to be my go to Snowpals to list my ski lease.” – Kathleen M. of Kings Beach Ski Lease 10/26/2017

“I’ve now used Snowpals two years in a row to fill my ski lease and it’s been an amazingly smooth process! There are so many fun people who share my enthusiasm for ski season – and are all courteous, helpful, clean, and overall a blast to hang out with. I can’t imagine going back to trying to hunt down unsure friends! Snowpals is now my go-to for filling my ski lease every year.” – Agatha of Heavenly Four Bedroom Ski In Out Ski Lease 10/5/2017

“We’ve used SnowPals for the last couple of seasons and compared to other listings it’s brought in the best leads by far. Keeping our listing up-to-date is always easy, and this year we didn’t bother to list anywhere else… it’s not worth the time or trouble vs relying on SnowPals.” – Robert H. of Beautiful NEW Truckee Luxury House 10/2/2017

“I think Snowpals is fantastic; I’ve actually been on both sides of Snowpals. We actually found this ski lease last year on Snowpals and the organizer from last year wanted to hit up North Lake this year, so we took over the lease. We included the $35 fee within our rent so actually the person who is leasing from us will pay that. We obviously didn’t tell them that, but I think $40 is a reasonable amount for someone to pay to alleviate the stress of finding the right fit. We filled the spot for the ski-lease quickly! Thanks for your help. We had so many people interested. My husband was telling me that he thinks Snowpals has great potential, and I agree with him. We had at least 25 people contact us, which means there’s a market for matching up owners of homes with tenants. Not sure if Snowpals has the capability to essentially be a management company to find tenants, but I do know our organizer last year actually found our place by reaching out to Airbnb/VRBO listings in Tahoe to see if we could take the house off their hands for the winter time. Just a thought. I am sure it would invaluable to an owner. Hopefully one day we’ll be coming to you to help lease our home in Tahoe 🙂 ” – Sally B. of Tahoe Heavenly Boulder Lodge Ski Out Condo 9/26/2017

“I am please to let you know that we filled our ski lease in Tahoe Donner. I am sold on Snowpals! Last time we were in the market for a replacement, we advertised on CraigsList and this was a much more pleasant experience! Thanks for your help.” – Laurie B. of Beautiful Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 9/22/2017

“Tim and the Snow Pals’ team have made filling our ski lease drop dead simple. One post and we fill our lease right up.” – Micaiah F. of Meyers Ski Lease 9/18/2017

“We have successfully used Snowpals to fill a few vacancies in our house over the years (pre-season and mid-season). We received multiple responses in a short amount of time, and nobody flaked (unlike experience with other sources). Snowpals is definitely worth the minimal advertising investment.” – Jen W. of Carnelian Bay Ski Lease 11/30/2016

“Snowpals is a great site to get quality referrals for our vacation rental. I received more than 23 different enquirers and had my vacation rental condo booked for as a ski lease within a month of posting. I am pleased with the professional renter we were connected with and look forward to using SnowPals again next year.” – Kathleen M. of Northstar Condo Vacation Rental 11/25/2016

“Thanks to Snowpals we went from 5 members and an expensive, empty house to a dynamic group of 11 consisting of regular and weekdays only members in about a month’s time. A $40 listing fee saved the original members over $1200 each, and we all made new friends!” – Kate S. of South Lake Tahoe Ski Lease with Hot Tub 11/24/2016

“Snowpals is a great resource which helped us to find additional members for our ski lease. We now have a fun winter to look forward to with a great group of skiers from San Francisco. Snowpals’ website was easy to use, and ad placement just took a few minutes and we got tons of responses. I would definitely use Snowpals again.” – Alexis R. of Tahoe Donner Ski Lease 11/21/2016

“I was astounded by how much high quality interest I got through Snowpals – I could have easily filled my lease twice over.  Tim at Snowpals was very responsive; great experience overall, would use it again and would be happy to recommend to others.” – Anne R. of Tahoe City Ski Lease Memberships 10/27/2016

“Snowpals saved our winter this year! We wanted to organize a ski lease but had friends who were unsure if they could commit. We listed our lease on snowpals in mid September and were able to fill it by the end of September. And the people we met are amazing! I would highly recommend using snowpals for anyone trying to organize a ski lease.” – Agatha B. of Heavenly Ski-in/out Ski Lease 9/28/2016

“Snowpals is just what you need if you are trying to fill your ski lease with quality members.  I posted an ad on Snowpals, and within 9 days I had received a dozen inquiries.  We were able to close out our roster quickly and conveniently.  I will use the site again for certain.” – Alex P. of Alpine Meadows Year Round Family Ski Lease 9/17/2016

“Thanks for running Snowpals’ website. Met some of my best friends on here when I found my first ski lease. This year we advertised on Snowpals and filled our ski lease memberships quickly.” – Justin H. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease 9/20/2016

“Snowpals helped us find amazing families and fill our lease more quickly this year than we ever have in the past!  I highly recommend snowpals for anyone who is looking to fill a few spots in their ski house!” – John H. of Tahoe Donner Family Ski Lease 9/12/2016

“Thanks for listing my ski lease quickly – in the last 10 days I got a lot of people who where interested, so now I finalized and we’re full 🙂 !  Thanks again for your help and for SnowPals, it’s great to get this done so quickly!” – Jan V., Tahoe Donner Luxury Cabin

“We found 4 great folks via Snowpals to fill up our ski lease. Totally worth the $35 ad listing fee. It usually took us longer to fill our lease with another listing service we had to pay a higher listing fee than Snowpals’. Thanks!” Mike M., Carnelian Bay Ski Cabin

“Last year we advertised on both Snowpals and Craigslist.  The Craigslist responders were to a person looking for the cheapest bed possible, with one scammer who wanted to come look at the house when we weren’t there, and tried to get all sorts of information from me. The Snowpals responders (last year and this year), were professional, business owners, professors, and high tech people. We will certainly be back next year!”- JoAnn M, ski lease organizer, Alpine Meadows Ski Lease

“I’m very happy with the quality of people referrals your site attracts. Keep up the good work!” – Sandy W., owner of Truckee Rental House

“It was awesome posting on Snowpals! Within 36 hours, I received a bunch of responses in my inbox, and our listing closed fairly quickly. All the emails were super nice and friendly, and many responses were from people already familiar with the Tahoe area and experienced in previous ski leases, which was a huge plus!” – Cindy L., Tahoe City Ski Lease

“SnowPals is a far better resource than Craigslist or the local papers. For several years running I’ve managed to find excellent full season renters in a very short time and with minimal hassle. Thanks Snowpals!” — Chris K., Markleeville homeowner

“We got about twice as many queries from SnowPals as from Craigslist. The queries seemed from ‘more normal’ people, and it was nice to not have to hit renew every few days.” – Trent G., Donner Lake Ski Lease

“Advertising my ski lease on Snowpals was quick, easy and highly effective! In no time, I had responses from really nice, high-caliber potential ski cabin members. I filled my spots in no time with people I really like, who are a great fit for the cabin.” – Heather D. of Alpine Meadows Ski Lease

* Read additional reviews from people who have advertised / listed their Tahoe vacation rental and ski lease on SnowPals’ Facebook page:

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♥ Share this page with friends and family via twitterfacebook. List your ski lease or vacation rental. Browse ski leases or vacation rentals.

 

 

Survival Guide & Tips: Skiing with Kids

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By Joe Woo, Snowpals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. 

Skiing with kids. It seems like a simple thing. But let me tell you. If you haven’t done it before and aren’t prepared for it, it can ruin a great time on the slopes. However, with the right preparation, it can be more fun skiing with them than skiing without them. For those of you toying with the idea of finally bringing the kids up or maybe you’re considering bringing up a nephew or niece…read this. What I’ll do first is share some of my kid skiing experience and what we do to make it lots of fun.

For me, skiing pre-kids was easy. I never thought about anyone else. I never considered having to ski with anyone. If anyone I was skiing with slowed me down or was having a bad time, I could separate from them and meet up with them later. That was no big deal. When you add kids to the mix, things really change. The main thing is that you can’t just dump the kids and continue skiing when they’re cramping your style. When you’re on the mountain with your kids, you’re stuck with them for better or for worse. What is a parent to do?

Over the last two seasons I’ve come up with a pretty good system for skiing with kids. My wife and I came up with it using trial and error to finally dial in something that works for our family. It was a lot of effort using trial and error and lots of frustration but it was worth it. Why go through all the effort? Why not just dump the kids in ski school for the day so that I could ski without them?

Cost is an obvious issue, but more importantly skiing with my kids is fun. It is more fun than skiing without them because when they’re having fun, there is nothing better than skiing together, laughing together and watching them learn, grow and overcome all the little challenges of skiing. The look on their face when they accomplish something they didn’t think they could is priceless and worth more than anything in the world. When it is good, skiing with them is better than any skiing I could do on my own.

So, what’s the issue? Those fun times were rare and didn’t happen often. When they did happen, they were priceless, however it seemed like the bad times outweighed the good times. Finding a way to make those fun times happen more was something I had to do.

So, how do you do that? What I discovered through two years of trial and error is CCSF. What does this mean? Confidence, Comfort, and Sated (not hungry) equals Fun. If you can get the Confidence, Comfort and Sate (not hungry) issues right that will equal Fun for your family. Lets look closer at each element.

Confidence

Confidence is a very important thing for anyone. It is especially important for kids to have when skiing. I’ll go so far as to say that confidence is so important that I believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing. Without confidence, the kids will never want to ski, will dread skiing and will make your time on the mountain miserable. You should do everything in your power to build your kids confidence in skiing.

How do you do that? For us we decided to always try and put our kids in skiing situations that we knew they could be successful. We never made them do anything we knew they would fail at. They quickly built confidence the second day they ever skied. The thing that built confidence the most was succeeding in tasks when they were scared of doing something even though I knew they could do it. These were the cases where I pushed them hard because I knew they could do it, but they needed to realize they could do it and when they did it you could see the confidence grow.

For example, my 5 year old son refused to ski without being between my legs and me holding him down the bunny slope. I knew he would crash at first if he tried skiing by himself as this was his first time on skis. After about 5 runs between my legs I started to stop actively holding him and he would ski holding me. Then after a few runs of doing that we would stop halfway down the hill, put his skis in pizza and let him go so that he was standing still on the hill in pizza. Then I would go about 10 feet in front of him and tell him to slide to me. At first it was a struggle because he didn’t want me to let go of him. He would cry when I would let go. I just wanted him to slide to me in pizza. He didn’t have to stop. I would catch him. But he was scared to do it, but I knew he could do it and he finally did through the cries and tears. Once he realized he had actually done it, he did it again.

At first it was 10 feet, then 20 feet and I would stop him. If he veered off course I would slide over to catch him. Then I told him to stop by himself and he just did it. He was amazed that he could stop by himself and the rest is history. He skied the rest of the day by himself without ever turning. Just pizza strait down the hill with his arms held in front of him like he was ready to do some serious karate chops. His way to balance I guess. The next day he was turning back and fourth and excited about skiing.

My daughter was the same progression at the same time. Soon they got bored of the slope and asked to do another lift. We moved onto another beginner lift with slightly steeper terrain and a longer run. That was last year at Diamond Peak. They gained so much confidence at Diamond Peak, Mt. Rose and Squaw Valley. I continued to teach them parallel skiing and my daughter is no longer in pizza. My son is in an advanced pizza today, but is almost ready for parallel skiing.

Today my younger son is six and my daughter is eight and both are happily skiing black diamonds off Red Dog, KT-22, Headwall and other lifts at Squaw Valley. My older son is actually skiing (as opposed to just surviving down) West Face, Tower 16 and the various terrains off Silverado chair! It is amazing what a little confidence can do. My kids are testament to that without ever having professional ski lessons. Whatever you do, make sure the kids gain lots of confidence. I truly believe it is the foundation to successful family skiing.

Comfort

Now your kids are confident skiers. Is that it? Not really. No matter how confident they are, if they are not comfortable, they will complain and ruin your day. Kids are not mature enough to overcome the little issues so they don’t ruin the big things like a fun day of skiing. Our kids are pretty tough and the last thing we do is baby them, but every kid has a limit to what comfort they’re willing to give up on to have fun on the slopes.

It is important that you take the time to learn what your kids comfort limits are and make sure those needs are satisfied. My kids don’t complain that much about their comfort. I think it is because I’ve invested in making sure they stay warm and dry no matter the conditions. They have top of the line ski pants, jackets, gloves, base and mid layers. They have great helmets and goggles. Goggles were an issue and I finally got them decent stuff that doesn’t fog and they can clean easily. Another important piece of equipment was the neck gator. It seals out the cold air getting in from the neck. The kids rarely complain about being cold or wet and it is one less issue we have to worry about.

Sate

Kids don’t do well when they’re hungry. Instead you sould make it a priority to make sure they’re sated and not hungry. This one is really simple. Kids start getting moody and melting down when they get hungry. It is amazing. They are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Feed your kids periodically and your chances are better at having a great day. We discovered that if we have a big breakfast, lunch around 12:30 or 1, 2:30 heavy snack and small snacks on the lifts in between, we avoid the hunger meltdown altogether. Now I always have a large Hershey bar in my pocket and on every other lift ride, I’ll give each kid one piece to eat. This system has worked great this season.

Skiing with your kids can be fun and very rewarding. Just remember that kids have unique needs that you have to consider. The best way I know is to remember CCSF. Confidence, Comfort and Sated equals Fun. Try is next time you’re out with the kids. Good luck!

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More skiing with kids tips for parents..

From Jeremy Feinberg, a Ski Instructor at Kirkwood for 6 years plus, a certified PSIA Level 2 instructor, training for Level 3; he teaches skill levels that range from first timers to expert; he coaches a Progression team that skis 99% of the legal terrain at Kirkwood.

As someone who makes their living teaching children how to ski I can say that there are some good things in this survival guide; a comfortable and well fed child is one who is set up for success, and depending on the child, confidence can be a limiting factor, however in the 1+ page of text there was very little emphasis on skill development and no mention at all of the physical and cognitive limitations that change as a child grows.

That being said, a few things to keep in mind include: 

It’s hard to learn new skills when people are on terrain that is at the edge of their comfort level, dial it back, gain ownership over the movements and then take it to the steeper snow.

Confidence can be a good thing, but you can have too much of a good thing… your child needs to ski in control and not be a menace or hazard.

Leash and harness systems enable parents to get younger kids on the snow but can reinforce bad habits, however the harnesses themselves can be useful for picking up kids from the snow and helping them on to the lift.

The Edgy Wedgie can be a useful teaching tool, try it for a run or two, take if off and see if the child can stop without it… use it for a few runs, not a few days or seasons.  

If its your child’s first time skiing, start on a small hill below the lift, 30-50 feet long and almost flat with a flat runout at the bottom, or a gradual uphill if you can find it, learn to stop there, then head to the chair.

Some children perform at a higher level with their parents around, some excel within their peer group under the tutelage of an experienced coach, it helps to know which group your child falls into

The pace of skill development as detailed in the Survival Guide sounds about right, just keep in mind that today I had a 6 year old girl first time skier (along with a five year old girl with separation anxiety issues whose mother checked her out after lunch) who was able to stop within the first hour, we were on the chairlift before lunch and making turns.  By the time her parents picked her up (1/2 hour early) she had taken several runs through the trees. Tomorrow after a brief warm up she will be ready for the lower intermediate lift.  Her older brother who was on a snowboard was unwilling to follow us through the woods.    Her parents were impressed by her success and gave me a generous tip.

If you want to get your child out of the wedge and making turns that have a least some parallel at the end of each turn, and you want that to happen quickly, ski school is the place for your child, especially on the weekdays when group sizes are small and only experienced and highly certified instructors are getting any work.  

Please don’t be that person who has their child skiing advanced terrain in a power wedge, if you are going to ski with your child and teach them how to ski, make the day about them, you need to be there to support them and help them along the way.  

Recognize the limitations of your own teaching abilities and don’t let your child (or yourself) get stuck in the skill rut; if you have any questions about how this can manifest one can use the intermediate rut as an example: go to most ski resorts and watch the way people on the intermediate runs ski, particularly how they initiate their turns.  What you will see in most cases are varying degrees of stem (wedge or pizza) to start the turn.  People make this movement because they are not comfortable performing a movement that ski instructors call crossover.

Crossover is the movement that separates advanced skiers from people that ski advanced terrain, it is defined my crossing your center of mass over your skis, down the hill into the new turn (basically throwing one’s body down the hill, swooping your skis underneath the body to catch the center of mass)  

Crossover one example of a movement that can define a skill rut, it’s difficult to teach and limits a person’s ability to explore and enjoy the mountain.

**On a related note** Teaching the spouse or significant other how to ski is tough, I call it the relationship tester, put that person in a group or private lesson, meet up for lunch and ski together in the afternoon, at their pace, where the instructor said would be a good place to ski.  Your romantic relationship is one of equals, the student/teacher relationship is not, things can get ugly quick.

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An Insider’s Guide to Ski Leases: Tips and Advice

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Ski Leases for families and groups. The Ins and Outs of Getting Into One.

I’d like to talk to you about ski leases. Not the kind to lease ski equipment, but condo and cabin rentals for an entire ski season for ski addicts like us. I had never heard of one until the end of last season. After I learned about them, they seemed so intriguing and beneficial to my situation that I had to learn more. I finally got into one and would like to tell you about my experience with my first ski lease. By doing so, I hope that you will gain some insight into them and learn about what they are and how you too can get into one. I’ll start with my story and then provide a general description of a ski lease and then some tips from people that have lots of experience with them. Hopefully this will help you into your very own ski lease either for your family or for your group of ski and snowboarding buddies.

When I discovered ski leases I saw them as a great ski housing opportunity for me and my family. You see, I’ve come back to skiing full tilt after almost 20 years of hiatus. Back in the day, I skied every opportunity I could get and being young and without responsibilities, never had an issue finding a place to crash when up in Tahoe. Back then, the freedom of being able to drive up to Tahoe, bum around, ski lots and have really no worries about a place to stay was taken for granted.

Flash forward twenty some-odd years and is it still that way? We all know that answer to that. Marriage and kids have become the major parts of the equation. Since the kids are now old enough to ski all day without a meltdown, we can go up quite a lot. However now when we go its not just me and my buds anymore. Can you imagine going up to Tahoe with my wife and three kids to just show up at someone’s place ready to crash there? It just doesn’t work that way anymore.

What is a family to do? Buying a ski house is out of the question right now. We could book a hotel stay, but that gets very expensive especially for those of us with a ski season pass with the goal of getting in as many ski days as possible. How about day trips? We had to go that route towards the end of last season because we were spending an ungodly amount of money on hotel stays. I’m sure I’m in a similar boat with many of you out there. The solution for someone like us was the seasonal ski lease.

What is it? Basically it is a rental of a condo or cabin in Tahoe for the ski season. If you know you’re going to Tahoe often for skiing then renting a condo/cabin for the ski season is a great alternative to paying for hotels/other lodging each time you go up. It can be more cost effective but also more convenient because you can leave your ski gear and clothing at your ski lease cabin and not worry about having a place to stay and the chore of having to pack for every ski trip. Combined with a season pass to your favorite ski resort, the major expenses are covered and you’ll only have the cost of meals and gas to worry about. If you’re a ski nut like me and aren’t yet in a similar situation, I can’t express how priceless it is to have peace of mind, comfort, and the convenience of having a ski season pass and a place to stay anytime during the season taken care of.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into a ski lease, how do you get into one of these great deals? Through my research, I’ve discovered three ways.

(1) – you can deal directly with the owner of a property and lease the place for you and your family or group for friends for the season. If that is too costly, then you could ask families/friends that you know if they’d want to go in with you and share the cost of the lease.

(2) – you could contact a local professional that brokers these kinds of deals. I haven’t had much luck finding these professionals though. From what I’ve heard and if you can find one, they can put you in touch with owners that are looking to rent out their property. Once in touch with the owner, you could do the lease yourself or put together a group of members to split the cost. A good resource is to search for Lake Tahoe area vacation rentals available as a seasonal ski lease listed on SnowPals rentals page.

(3) – you could go to online resources and search for individuals that already have a deal in place with the owner of the property and are looking for additional “members”. For those of you that are new to this, this route is probably the easiest way to enter the ski lease world. SnowPals is a great resource for Tahoe ski leases organized by various groups and has an entire section dedicated to available Tahoe area ski lease membership opportunities. For those of you looking for ski leases in areas outside of Tahoe, you could check TGR, EpicSki forums or Craigslist for postings.

The cost per membership varies and there are so many options out there. I’ve seen listings on SnowPals for full season (typically December to April) ski lease membership for one person from $700 all the way to $2500. If you’re single and can spend just $700 for lodging for an entire season–that’s an amazing deal; let’s say you stay at the ski lease for a total of 30 nights, your cost per night would be $23.34 per night. Naturally, the more nights you stay, the more value you get from the ski lease. Signing up for ski lease membership is a great way to maximize your ski season pass since it encourages you to go up to Tahoe the night before and be close to the ski resort and can take advantage of a good night’s rest and get the chance to ski/ride fresh tracks/powder when resorts start up their lifts. Also, the value of beating the crowds and traffic to the resort is priceless; how many times have you been stuck in traffic or frustrated with locating free parking spaces? In addition, getting into a ski lease gives you the chance to expand your social circle and make new friends.

So, how did I find my ski lease? I got into mine by letting everyone I knew know that I wanted to learn about ski leases and my desire of joining one. Within a short period of time, a friend contacted me to ask if my wife and I would be willing to go in with them on a ski lease. He knew the owners of a great place in Truckee and they mentioned to him that they wanted to rent the place for the ski season. I told him absolutely and that we should jump on that. We brought our families together along with one other family and now we have a great house to stay in any time we want from Dec 14 to May 15. Each “member” in our group is a family. We each paid an equal lump sum on November 1, have no guest fees and our lump sum cost includes all utilities and snow removal. It is such a great deal. Of course, if another family is up there when we go up, we must share the space with them, but since we all know each other and our kids are all friends, other members being up there makes our stay more fun. Also a great benefit is that we take turns watching the kids so each set of parents get some down time. We also rotate turns cooking so that gives us more quality family time to enjoy our time together.

So what are some of the pitfalls? There have to be some, right? From my research, most pitfalls come from a misunderstanding of the rules of use when in a group ski lease. If you leased the place on your own, then the rules are yours and yours alone. However, if you are going into a ski lease as part of a group, then it is important to understand the rules otherwise there could be trouble. Of course it is important to click with the other members and if you do then it is important to nail down whatever rules all the members of the ski lease decide on in a clear and concise written agreement. Here are some things to consider from my wise and experienced ski lease mates, Eric and Andy:

  • What does your membership cost include? Make sure you know up front what your membership cost includes and what other expenses (if any) you’ll be responsible for at the end of the lease (e.g. utilities, firewood, hot tub maintenance, snow removal, house cleaning services, etc.)
  • Guest fees. Some ski leases charge “guest fees” for non-members to stay overnight to cover any additional expenses for lease. Make sure you are clear about guest fees in your ski lease and the rules for them
  • Parking. What are rules for parking? Last thing you want is to go up late Friday night and not have a parking space or at least be prepared for no parking space. Consider the option to carpool or ride share to your ski cabin if you don’t have alot of people in your family and empty seats in the van/SUV.
  • Storage of your stuff. Can you store stuff at the ski cabin/ski lease and if so what are the rules and where do you store your stuff?
  • Priority for bedrooms. If it is important for you to be in a bedroom, then what are the chances that you might not get one if everyone in the membership happens to be up at the same time. Some ski leases have agreements to allocate a dedicated bedroom where it is solely yours for the entire season which is very beneficial to bringing your own bedding and store your winter clothing and gear in the closet for convenience and easy access.

So, if you go up to Tahoe a lot and need the convenience of your own home without the financial commitment, but want a more cost effective solution than hotels/motels, a ski lease is the way to go. There are so many different options available out there. A great place to start is to browse available ski lease memberships organized by families or group of skiers/snowboarders to share a ski cabin. If you’re in a different area than Tahoe, you can also try craigslist, TGR, EpicSki, SnowHeads forum and other places online in your search to join a ski lease.

Many thanks to Eric and Andy, my ski lease mates who share their many years of experience and useful advice on how best to get into a ski lease and to reap the benefits of maximizing our ski season pass, lodging cost savings and most of all, deepening our friendship with shared experiences. Also many thanks to those of you who provided me with some great stories and advice.

Read more about ski leases and/or list yours

Take care and enjoy!

Joe Woo is SnowPals’ Resident Ski Gear Tester & Columnist. He lives with his family in the North Bay.

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