Many people are getting out and enjoying the winter weather this time of year at area ski hills, and some are even traveling to distant resorts for ski and snowboard outings. For regular skiers, though, the drive up to the slopes can get tiring, not to mention expensive.
To solve this problem, many local ridesharing websites have popped up to service specific ski areas. Take SnowPals, for example, for people heading to Tahoe. Alternatively, sites like RideBuzz.org exist for all kinds of carpooling all over the country.
One website that has combined these two ideas – ski and snowboard ridesharing and a national scope – is The Ski Lift, an organization dedicated to connecting people who want to carpool as they head out to the mountains.
The site’s founders are all avid skiers and snowboarders and initially saw a need for ridesharing from the college town they lived in to the nearby ski areas. They wanted travel to be easier for skiers and to cut back on emissions.
“We all ski and snowboard and don’t like the traffic up to the mountains and thought, ‘What if we had a carpooling website just for this?’ So from there it became a big project,” Chini Mukhopadhyay, one of the web developers for The Ski Lift, told Earth911.
The website is based in Colorado, but its reach has grown. This will be The Ski Lift’s third season, and they are expanding.
“We have a pretty big user base growing in Canada and in Washington. This is also the first season we’ve expanded to reach out to East Coast resorts. We hope to get some traction there,” Mike Hurowitz, another owner and web developer, said.
When looking for a ride, users can search the site by location and even by a specific resort, since people are often traveling to the same destinations. Currently, the Ski Lift is reaching out to ski resorts directly to help spread the word.
The co-owners see the project as similar to Couchsurfing, the website that allows travelers to avoid hotels and find locals to stay with. Like Couchsurfing, The Ski Lift also tries to create a sense of community among participants by creating forums and adding social networking features. These features are available to all registered users; registration is required to ensure the safety of riders. The services are all free, and Mukhopadhyay and Hurowitz said they hope this will keep users coming back.
“The goal of the site is to reduce traffic and emissions, while helping people save money traveling to the mountains,” Mukhopadhyay said, and as the website states, the owners hope everyone can make a few friends along the way.