In the winter of 1992, my wife and I, Karen opened Rip N Willies with only 5 snowboards and 50 sets of skis. I had been involved in the ski business since 1985 and my wife since 1988, in the Tahoe area, so we decided to venture out on our own. We had two main objectives. #1. To rent top quality equipment at affordable prices, and #2. To provide the customer the best service possible.
We believe we have met those objectives on the basis of how large our repeat customer base is. When we first opened in ‘92, the other shops in town thought of us as just a small shop with a crazy name. Shortly after that we became something the big guys had to contend with, crazy name and all, and since ‘92 we have grown from 1200 sq. ft. to 2600 sq. ft. of commercial floor area.
I have lived here in Tahoe since 1974 and my wife since 1987. Karen and I love what we do and that’s what comes across to our friends that come through the door, year after year. People come back not only because of the great prices and nice equipment but also because they get to know us as ‘their local rental shop’. It’s a family here in more ways than one. It still has the feel and look of an old time ski shop but with a millennium essence.
Rip N Willies is an unusual name but it came out of the frenzy of the snowboarding craze that was happening in the early 90’s.We wanted something different that could represent both a ski and a snowboard shop and we didn’t want to use the so called ‘normal’ ski shop names. We just wanted something unique but fun. Isn’t that what its all about anyway, fun?
As for the ski shop it self. It was built in 1948 as a residential home and was converted to an office in the early 70’s. From there it changed to a ski shop in 1979 and in 1992 it became what it is known as today, Rip N Willies Ski and Snowboard Shop. We have kept its quaint Tahoe feel inside and out. It has just grown a bit since 1948!
Hope to see you soon in the shop.
Tom and Karen D’Louhy