Carpooling up to the mountain could be the most amazing thing ever. After countless solo missions - driving alone in the middle of the night, spending a ton of cash on gas and Redbull, and barely making it to the mountain in one piece - finding someone to team up with to split gas cost and driving duty is nothing short of a luxury.
So let's say you've found that carpool buddy through some awesome niche carpooling platform and you start to plan. Figure out where and when, and that's it. Right? No, it's not. There are many details that need to be covered to ensure a good carpooling experience. Below are some nuggets for you. We'll be adding to the list so bookmark this post! And send us your own ideas. We want this to grow and help as many carpoolers as possible.
1) Time of departure and flexibility +/- (for drivers and riders). A day trip starting at 300 a.m. so you get first chair up at Killington is a far different from a day trip starting at 730 a.m. so you can get a casual day of park laps and Coronas on the sun-deck at your local PA or NJ hill. Setting expectations and being flexible make for good carpooling.
2) Departure/Pick Up location (for drivers and riders). A great pick up point can lead to a speedy getaway out of the city. A poor pick up location can lead to an hour in gridlock and hating the world. Be strategic and look for places where you can double-park or stand, and along major highways thruways. Also make sure that there's adequate parking for overnight or multi-day parking should both parties be driving to a meet up location to ditch one car and jump in the other.
3) A Fair Fare (for drivers). Being upfront with how much you’re charging and for what, exactly, is a key component to having a good carpooling experience. Everyone hates that awkward conversation at the end of the trip. That happens when folks are not on the same page from the beginning. We suggest discussing the following details during the planning stage and not at the end.
How much are you charging for gas? Is it regular or premium? (current gas prices)
Are you charging for tolls too?
What about your time if the passenger is not taking a shift behind the wheel?
Is the total cost split evenly across all the people in the car, including the driver, or just the passengers?
Who covers the cost of speeding tickets or parking tickets if that were to happen?
Would you trade a ride for lodging or other goods or services?
4) Racking or not racking (for drivers). Letting folks know, preferably in your post and at least during planning, that you do or do not have ski car racks will help you and your passengers figure out how much additional gear and baggage to bring. If you don’t have racks, another thing to think about is how many / which seat needs to go down in the back to fit the skis and boards in through the trunk. This helps you figure out how many passengers can fit comfortably in the back. From our experience, if one seat has to go down, having only one passenger in the back is most comfortable. If you have an SUV, though, that’s a whole different story.
There will be more to come. So stay tuned!
Jay and the Team