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Norman: Keep those skis insured

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

In response to Ian Grimes’ letter “Shops’ added value a worthy goal” (Aspen Daily News, Dec. 27), I wish to give a professional opinion.

For the same price (or less) of a crappuccino or other overrated coffee drink, a rental customer can purchase insurance at $7 per day that covers all damages — excluding loss or theft.

It sounds like you think rental insurance is an oversold, seldom-utilized product of the rental business. I disagree.  



For 20 years, I have managed the tune operations for Aspen Skiing Co. “Repairing skis is a daily task at any ski shop,” you said. Customers pay $50-85 to have their personal gear tuned, even $150 or more for major repairs. Rental tuning and equipment maintenance is a large part of the business — “reasonable” wear and tear, that is.

Rental businesses buy a ski for $X. They forecast to earn $X amount off that ski over the course of X years! Basic business stuff, ya know?




When a rental guest does major damage (blown tip, broken tail, torn-out edge, and/or sidewall etc.), a shop loses future revenue on that ski. I can fix almost anything! But, that ski is not presentable to the next guest at Aspen rates and for the visual expectations the next guest may have. Therefore, the individual who did the damage to the ski is charged a fee for the damages. Sometimes the ski is repaired, and sometime the ski goes to the Ski Fence Graveyard.  

Think rental cars! You rent a car at $X price. You refuse insurance, and something unexpected (like a large rock just under the 2 inches of fresh snow) happens; you are liable for the cost of repair. It could be an interior cleaning fee, exterior body damage, wheel damage from running over a curb, etc. Most rental-car customers get insurance or have it from a credit card or personal-auto policy. Just like it is recommended to have health insurance if you chose to engage in extreme sports, we recommend rental insurance.

I have had countless calls with guests explaining the consequences of not purchasing $7-per-day insurance and what the cost is now to repair or replace that ski/snowboard. Too many times they say, “I know I should have gotten the insurance,” as they take a sip of their crappuccino!

Thanks for your volunteer service, and I hope you have an excellent and safe winter.

John Norman

Carbondale