So you want to organize a ski lease?
You’re awesome! If you have a lot of friends who want to start a ski lease, or you’re a social person who enjoys organizing things, you should think about organizing your own ski lease.
Organizing a ski lease can be hard work, but it’s very rewarding. You get to rent a dream house in the mountains you otherwise likely couldn’t afford, and most ski lease organizers give themselves a significant discount on the lease or don’t pay anything at all. (Be upfront and honest about your plans for that, though).
Here’s what you need to do to get started (in this order):
- Find some friends who want to get in on a ski lease with you. Get an email chain started, and find out how much people are willing to pay, where they want to be located and what amenities are important to them (e.g. what’s a dealbreaker on a particular house?).
- Start looking at rentals. You can try looking for rentals on VRBO.com and search for anyone who mentions “monthly” in their description. Check Craigslist. This might include going on a trip to the mountains to look at houses! Talk with your initial group about the house and get their support on choosing your selection.
- Once you find the house you want, talk with the landlord and be clear that you’ll be renting it for a ski lease. Most landlords in ski towns are familiar with ski leases, but you can explain that it doesn’t mean the house will be overflowing each weekend. Push the benefits of a ski lease to them — especially that they’ll be able do minimal management work to rent their house for the entire ski season and they’ll avoid paying short-term rental taxes.
- Last step: You might find that you need a few more members to fill out your house. That’s not a problem! There are usually many more people that want to join a ski lease than there are ski leases available. Post your lease on Cabin Fever and you’ll likely get a lot of emails from interested people.
Most important: Have fun!
What should I look for in a house?
Ski leases are different from your typical rental (especially if you’ve never rented in a mountain town before). You’ll want to look for a home with:
- A bedroom setup that matches your group. Families with children may want a home where the bedrooms are very equal in quality, so everyone feels like they’re getting even quality. Or, a younger group may want a home with bunk bed rooms. Talk to your group and see what’s important.
- Easy parking in the winter. A lot of homes are not designed well for winter parking, and have sloped parking — or parking spots that disappear under piles of snow. Make sure there’s enough parking for your group.
- Hot tub. One of the key feature of many ski leases is the apres-ski hot tub session.
- A good, responsible landlord. Many landlords who rent to ski leases don’t have a lot of landlord experience. Talk to them and make sure they’ll be able to support you in a pinch when, say, the garage door gets frozen shut at 8am and you want to hit the slopes.