In the winter of 1992, my wife Karen and I opened Rip N Willies with only 5 snowboards and 50 sets of skis. I had been involved in the ski business in Tahoe since 1985 and Karen since 1988. We decided to venture out on our own with two main objectives. #1. To rent top quality equipment at affordable prices, and #2. To provide the customer the best experience possible.
We believe those objectives have been met based on our repeat customers and referrals. When we first opened in ‘92, we were thought of just another small shop with a crazy name. Shortly thereafter, we became something the big guys had to contend with – crazy name and all. Since ‘92 we have grown from 1200 sq. ft. to 2600 sq. ft. of commercial floor area, known for our great products and great service.
I have lived here in Tahoe since 1974 and Karen since 1987. We love what we do and hope that’s what comes across to our friends that come through the door, year after year. People come back not only because of our great prices and equipment but also because they have gotten 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 itself. 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