Earth Issues

Snowpool makes carpooling to ski resorts easier

 | March 24, 2011

So you’d like to go skiing or snowboarding at Sun Peaks, but there’s just one problem—you don’t have a ride.

There are a few options. You can take a shuttle or bus to the resort, but you’ll be limited by the bus or shuttle schedule. Or you can carpool with friends, but only if you know someone who’s driving up on the same day.

A new website makes it easier to facilitate a carpool to your nearest ski resort. It’s called www.snowpool.org, a free service specializing in carpools to ski resorts.

Patrick Davey came up with the idea seven years ago as a backpacker coming from Ireland to New Zealand.

“(At the time) I didn’t have a car, didn’t have very much,” said Davey. “I was saying to some friends ‘It’s ridiculous to see all these cars driving up with one or two people in a car.’”

“(With carpooling) you can save money and, from an environmental point of view, you’re polluting a lot less.” Not too long after, Snowpool was born.
The service is easy to use. If you’re looking for a potential ride, simply select your country and narrow down your search by region or ski resort. The calendar will show the available carpools; clicking on the blue box will show the driver’s contact information.

If you’re looking for passengers, just click on “Add Carpool”, fill out the details and hit Submit. Listings are automatically posted on Snowpool’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Davey said the service was launched in New Zealand five years ago. It receives 500 to 600 carpool listings from New Zealand each winter. US and Canada were just added this winter and Davey hopes that usage will eventually increase.

Davey’s friend Maria Rubinchik is helping to spread the word. With her help, an article on Snowpool was published in Omega, Thompson Rivers University’s (TRU) school paper.

Jeff Palatnick, a TRU student, posted a carpool on the website after reading the article. He thought it was a neat idea.

“Especially on days when I want to go up to the hill and drive on my own, it would be great to find people to carpool with and split the gas money.”
Also a student, Rubinchik said Snowpool is a service that will especially benefit college students.

“I know just from speaking to people at school that a lot of people don’t have cars or don’t have good enough cars to go up the mountain,” she said. “To me there seems to be a need for a service, so it’s just a matter of people taking action and getting connected.”

Carpooling can also help you meet people with similar interests.

“I don’t advertise Snowpool at all as a dating site but there certainly have been some relationships that came out of it that I’m aware of,” said Davey, chuckling. “There’s probably more relationships that come out of it that I’m not aware of.”

“But one reason they go particularly well for a ski resort is . . . you’ve got that long enough distance that it’s worth it, you’ve got something in common with the person you’re going with, and when you get to the other point, you don’t have to hang out with that person. You can if you like them, but if you don’t, you can just go do your own thing and meet again after.”

Rubinchik provides some pointers to make the trip run smoothly.

“Usually I talk to the person on the phone, just to get a feel of the person. Maybe ask them if they’ve been there before, if they’re comfortable (driving there), and if their car has snow tires. Agree ahead of time where the meeting spot is and how much you pay for gas so there’s no surprises.”

In addition, Davey said it’s best to let other people know where you’re going before you leave, and remember to be on time.

For more information, visit www.snowpool.org.

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