Here is what Rachael from EcoSki had to say about her sustainable mission, the reason she started EcoSki and the future of skiing for us all:
1. What sparked your love for the slopes?
I was lucky enough to start skiing at the young age of 4 in the beautiful Scottish Highlands and have not looked back since! I have very fond early core memories of our annual family ski holidays and, after intermittently skiing through my adult life, now feel incredibly lucky to be able to enjoy this special time again with my own young children.
2. Where did the concept for EcoSki come from?
It was actually kitting my young family out for their first ski holiday that was the catalyst for EcoSki. The existing offering was difficult to access and certainly not cheap! I also came to the realisation that almost everything we use and wear to enjoy the mountains is made out of plastic - our skis, boots, helmets, gloves, backpacks, jackets, pants, even our baselayers! Everything about our clothing was contributing to our glaciers melting. From the oil extraction for raw materials right through to end-of-life, the footprint of our skiwear is huge and much of it an unnecessary contributor to global warming.
So without any retail experience whatsoever I took it upon myself to challenge the system! I wanted to help change the way we consume, both now and in the future. To help people understand the hugely negative impacts of our clothing choices and to make it easier — so it eventually becomes the norm — to share, re-wear and repair. I wanted to give skiers the option to not only buy more sustainably-produced ski kit but, crucially, to be able to repair it, rent it and buy pre-owned instead of always thinking new.
3. Who and what is EcoSki?
EcoSki is a multi branded retail business that stocks, sells, rents, repairs and re-sells ski clothing and accessories. Our range list includes everything from socks, gloves, baselayers, midlayers, helmets, jackets and pants right though to avalanche safety equipment.
It's all quality kit produced by some of the world's leading outdoor brands. Some of my all time favourites include Ortovox, Norrona, Halti, icebreaker, Planks, Picture, Amundsen, Mons Royale, Maier Sports, Hestra and Reusch. And I can't forget DinoSki who do the sweetest junior animal all in one snowsuits! We love having these, and other great brands under one roof.
We offer a repairs and MOT service to help prolong the life of our customers kit and we also have a pre-owned department where we sell any reconditioned ex-rentals. We choose our partner brands and ranges based on both their environmental and social credentials as well as their style and durability. It is a company driven by passion and purpose. A desire to instill change, give back and help skiers access better quality kit.
4. What drives your passion for a Sustainable future?
Definitely my family. I can't help but feel anxious about the future they may have if we don't start to change the way we operate. The area I feel most passionate about is consumption and waste - primarily food and clothing. These two industries are some of the biggest contributors to global warming and I think unnecessarily so too. Do we really need to buy and waste so much food and clothing? When both these items get thrown "away" (i.e.sent to landfill) they produce vast amounts of methane whilst they break down which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases. If we can help raise awareness of this and encourage people to buy less, repair, rewear and share more, then it's a giant step in the right direction.
Every fraction of a degree really does matter and every change counts.
5. Why should people opt to rent their ski clothes as opposed to purchase new?
I can not categorically say that renting kit is the most environmentally friendly choice. It really depends what brand you are renting, how many times you ski and of course whether you already have something suitable in your wardrobe!
The cleaning and shipping of rental clothing of course has a much larger footprint than a jacket you already have at home, for example, and this footprint is increased further if that jacket was produced by a brand with low sustainability credentials.
Rental is, however, my passion. It just makes total sense for me personally with my growing family. Being able to buy from EcoSki's hand picked selection of high performance, more planet friendly kit is one thing, being able to borrow for a fraction of the price and then give it back is on another level!
All our kit is cleaned using environmentally friendly products, using recycled water and micro plastic filters before being sterilised.
6. How easy is it for people to rent your ski clothes?
It honestly couldn't be more straight forward!
Simply browse our range and put together your chosen outfit. We offer everything from socks, beanies, base and mid-layers to jackets, salopettes, helmets, gloves and snow boots, even avalanche safety equipment!
Enter the dates of your trip, sign a very simple contract and pay at the checkout. We deliver your sterile, clean, waterproof kit directly to your door 1-2 days prior to the start of your rental period. At the end of your holiday, on the last day of your booked rental period, simply package up your item(s), attach the free returns label and drop off at one of many DPD Drop off Points. There’s no need to clean it - we take care of that, cleaning and sterilising in our innovative, eco-friendly Ozone chamber.
EcoSki has a minimum 4-day rental period. After which a day rate is applied to make sure you book the kit out for exactly the length of time you need. Prices start from as little as £3 per day. As a guide, a week’s rental on an adult ski jacket can cost anything from £25 to £90.
New for this winter (2022) is our EcoSki try-on service. Although this comes with the additional carbon footprint of shipping, we know this will help give peace of mind for many of our customers.
We here at Inghams have just departed on our sustainable journey, we have a long way to go but we are proud to be recognising and implementing changes for a better future. Read more about our journey so far here.