We all dream about living and working closer to the mountains. Making it happen seems impossible from the “real world”, but you can find companies to work for that share your passion. Or, you can start your own business in the ski industry.
That’s how Ski Butlers was born. Bryn Carey wanted to create a business that connected people with their passion of skiing. He decided to take the grueling pain out of renting skis and used over-the-top customer service as a foundation to start Ski Butlers from his garage. 13 years and 36 ski resorts later, Ski Butlers is getting ready to go global.
We talked with him on his way to Colorado and found out how it all happened.
Q: Legends say that you first went skiing when you were 1? Where was your first bunny hill?
A: According to my parents, that’s correct. We started at a young age in my family! We grew up in a small town near Sugarloaf, ME, skiing every weekend all winter long.
Q: Did you know any sweet tricks by the time you were 5? Like 180s, or not crying when it got too cold…
A: I loved the “bump offs,” which was a competition for young kids to go through the bumps, throw some tricks and have some fun. The daffy was my go-to trick.
Q: What was your favorite ski destination with your family growing up?
A: We lived at Sugarloaf in Maine, so that was my favorite hill. When we had a chance to go west, I would have to say Whistler/Blackcomb, which is still one of my favorites.
Q: Did you rent skis when you went on ski trips?
A: No, but my dad would get me rentals for the season when I was young, so I can remember the pain of waiting for rentals.
Q: What was the worst part about going into a ski rental shop? Any specific horror stories from yourself, friends or family?
A: It was the worst when friends came to visit. We had to take them to the rental shop, get lift tickets and wait, and wait, and wait … I wish we had Ski Butlers back in the day, it would have made entertaining much easier!
Q: Why did you move to Park City?
A: I moved to Park City in high school as my dad came to work for the Canyons during the American Skiing Company years.
Q: What’s your favorite lift to ski on Park City Mountain on a powder day?
A: Easily Jupiter or 9990. I love fall-line skiing, steeps, and good snow. Those places usually deliver the goods.
Q: Do you use SNOCRU to tell your friends to catch up on deep days? What’s your favorite part of the app?
A: Yes, I use SNOCRU. It’s fun to set goals and then have the ability to track them. It holds me accountable to take that extra run or ski on a day I might not want to.
Q: Why did you start Ski Butlers?
A: I started Ski Butlers for two reasons. First, I’m an entrepreneur, so I wanted to start a business in the ski industry.
Secondly, I knew that renting equipment was a big hassle on a ski trip and if I could solve that problem, we would be successful.
We solved that problem and the customers come back year in and year out and tell all their friends!
Q: When you started the company out of your garage, did you have any help?
A: At first it was just me. I had a friend of friend apply for a job and I said,“I’ll call you in a month if I need help.”
I called him two days later.
I needed help, it’s a lot of work to start a business, even if it is out of your garage.
Q: What’s the most above and beyond thing you’ve done to get someone their skis?
A: WOW, we go above and beyond every day. It’s second nature now.
The biggest was probably waiting for a customer until after midnight since their flights were delayed.
We do small WOWs like bring a Ski Butlers t-shirt or grab a cup of coffee on the way to the delivery.
Q: That kind of customer service has brought Ski Butlers to over 37 resorts … I hear Ski Butlers has plans to take over the world?
A: It’s simple, our first Core Value is to Deliver Legendary Service. Everything we do, from hiring, to training to our customer service bonuses align with that first Core Value.
As a team member this makes the job easy. As long as you come in ready to WOW each customer, you’ll have a very successful career at Ski Butlers and make way more tips!
That kind of energy from our team is helping us expand to ski resorts around the world.
Q: Which country is next?
A: Haha, we can’t share our secrets!
Q: Any advice to skiers out there who want to carve out a way of life in the industry?
A: Our BIG Why is believing in people pursuing their passions in the mountains.
If you have a passion for the mountains, then come live in the mountains, work hard and join a company that shares your values or start a company with your own values.
Don’t go to the real world just because there is peer pressure to conform. Follow your passions.