The Ski Lease

You’re a city slicker by week, but when the snow starts falling a second home (ski lease) in the mountains sounds dreamy. Without loads of cash sitting around, most people don’t have the option of buying this type of expensive escape. Enter the ski lease, a seasonal lease for a home near your favorite resorts, split between more people than the house can comfortably hold. It’s a popular choice to for the less well off ski bums.

The idea here is to find a large group of friends willing and wanting to spend time in the mountains this winter without having to drive back and forth on the weekend. Next, you find a rental. An example would be a four-bedroom house for 15 people willing to jump in on it. Between beds, pullout beds, couches, and the floor, this should be plenty of space. The other thing to remember is that not everyone will be up there at the same time. Voilà! Now you have the mountain house of your dreams at an affordable price. Here are three tips to control the chaos of organizing a house for 15 friends:

  1. Get the money up front

The lease will typically run anywhere from 4-6 months. I wouldn’t expect to get all of the money up front, but 1-2 months’ rent is reassuring and shows commitment. The other option is to have everyone write out checks for each month at the beginning and give them to one person. That way when rent is due you’re not scrambling to get money from the whole crew.

  1. Build a calendar

Invite everyone to a group calendar and ask that they add their names to days of the week/weekend that they will be in the house. This gives people an idea of what to expect when they head up. You can also add in set weekends that people get a room to themselves so the space is shared in a fair manner. Bonus tip: If most of your friends are nine-to-fivers try and sneak up for a few weekdays during the season to get the house to yourself.

  1. Friends pay

This one can bum some people out, but really it’s the only way to keep things under control. If you have a buddy who didn’t want to commit for the season or some friends visiting, make sure they are contributing to the house in some way when they crash the place. Many people set a $25 per stay requirement for people not on the lease. Others ask for donations of food and beer. Whatever you decide, make sure everyone knows and that everyone is on board.