5 Exciting Destinations You Shouldn’t Miss in 2020

With a new year just around the corner, now’s the time to make sure you start it off right. And what better way to do that than to welcome it with some excitement?

If you’re looking for new adventures for the new year, these destinations won’t disappoint.

1.    Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska

Image: Robbie Bracco from Pixabay

Way up north in Alaska, Denali National Park offers an experience like no other. You’ve got the usual activities such as cross-country skiing or camping but you can also try out the winter biking trails for a challenge.

However, the best way to explore the area is with the help of some sled dogs. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see the Northern Lights with your new canine buddies!

2.   Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Image: Flash Alexander from Pixabay

Jackson Hole’s got a little bit of everything. For the winter sports enthusiasts, head over to the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort or Snow King Mountain to get your fix. If you want to step it up and add a little luxury to your trip, visit the Four Seasons Resort and Residences. As one of the resorts we’re affiliated with, we guarantee you’ll be in for a five-star experience.

For those who want to enjoy the sights, you can feast your eyes on the wildlife and mountain range at Grand Teton National Park. When summer rolls around, the whitewater rapids of the winding Snake River will keep the adrenaline pumping.

3.   The Great Northern Festival, Minnesota

Image: ©Krivit Photo, Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Around the start of the year, Minneapolis holds a 10-day event called The Great Northern. It’s actually a set of festivals rolled into one. This includes the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Nokomis, the City of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival, and the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

From pond hockey and cross-country skiing championships, snow and ice sculptures, to local culinary treats, this annual celebration has something the whole family can appreciate.

4.   Telluride Ski Resort, Colorado

Image: Telluride Ski Resort | Brad Foley

Another place to start the year with a skiing escapade is Telluride. What sets the place apart though, is their hike-to terrain zones. These backcountry areas test the skill of even the most advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Telluride also has several terrain parks that can give you a different kind of thrill. Filled with jumps, rails, and other obstacles, get ready to fly through the air or fall flat on your face. Either way, they’re experiences you’ll never forget.

5.   Joshua Tree National Park, California

Image: skeeze from Pixabay

Don’t rule out winter trips to deserts like Joshua Tree. You’re in for breathtaking views of the vast landscape, the iconic trees that the park is named after, rock formations that are thousands of years old—the list just goes on!

Whether you want to experience the park on horseback, get your hands dirty and go bouldering, or take a leisurely hike through the desert, adventure is waiting for you everywhere you look.

Although the new year hasn’t even started, it can feel like there’s not enough time to get out and explore. Kit Lender can provide all the gear you need to enjoy your adventures to the fullest. Check out our most popular kits for men and women. If you’re taking the whole family, we also have gear made especially for your boys and girls.

For as little as $30/day, each one of you can be ready to take on the great outdoors! Gift cards are also available if you’d like to get someone else kitted out for their own adventure.

Don’t let your luggage slow you down. The only extra baggage you need is for all the fun memories you’ll be taking back home.

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Vermont-based winter clothing rental business is taking off


STOWE, VT — Written by: Liz Strzepa

It’s no secret that shredding the slopes isn’t cheap, and neither are the clothes you need to do it.

“You could be talking about (spending) $800, $1,000 and up,” said Stowe native Forrest Shinners.

He said people could spend that amount of money on such items as jackets, snow pants, boots, gloves and goggles.

But what if you could rent all of that for a fraction of the cost?

It’s an idea Shinners had when he was lending outfits to his friends from New York City to wear on ski trips.

“I had somebody say, ‘Oh, wow! It’s like Rent the Runway for the mountains. This is a service. You should charge for it,'” said Shinners.

That’s how Kit Lender was born.

“The Airbnbs, the Rent the Runways, these (businesses) kind of created a new market for people that liked experiences and renting stuff and realizing that’s something they would go to. But in the ski market, it wasn’t there yet,” he said.

Through Kit Lender, people can rent all of the ski trip essentials, including high-end brand items from Patagonia, The North Face and Sorel, for a daily fee.

“We start at about $30 a day up to about $45 a day,” said Shinners.

The kits are shipped wherever the customer wants, anywhere in the U.S.

Pickup is handled by FedEx.

“(FedEx will) come to the hotel or you can drop it off at FedEx. It’s all prepaid and ships back to us,” said Shinners.

The Stowe-based business has been so successful over the past five years that it has recently moved into a larger warehouse space.

After being recently featured on a nationally televised show, Shinners said rentals are booking up.

“I mean, it’s surreal. When you’re talking about hundreds of percent growth year after year, it’s just, it’s wild,” he said.

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Stowe company Kit Lender strikes out on ‘Shark Tank,’ but sees bump in business

This article by Tommy Gardner was published by the Stowe Reporter on Dec. 5.

Credit to Stowe Reporter

Forrest Shinners, co-founder of Stowe gear-rental company Kit Lender, couldn’t get any investors to bite during his appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” last Sunday night.

But he said the exposure has helped make an already busy holiday season even busier.

Kit Lender rents ski and snowboard clothing to people who don’t do either frequently enough to buy their own gear, shipping it in boxes to the customer’s hotel or ski resort destination, and providing return instructions.

Shinners told the “Shark Tank” investors — Sunday’s episode featured Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary, Lori Grenier and Robert Herjavec — that Kit Lender, which he started in his apartment almost five years ago, had $755,000 in sales last year, with $106,000 earnings for the company. Those figures brought a “wow” of approval from Cuban.

Shinners asked the sharks for a $200,000 investment in exchange for a 7% stake in Kit Lender, but, one by one, they politely declined. Whether from the editing or the actual pitch, it seemed as if Herjavec was close to investing, but ultimately, he was with the other sharks: They thought it would cost too much to make the leap to become a big company by itself.

O’Leary suggested Kit Lender partner with the “two players that know where 80 percent of the customers are,” likely a reference to Vail and Alterra, which have been gobbling up ski resorts, including Stowe Mountain Resort, in the past few years. He suggested he do it soon, too, before someone else sees “how good of an idea this is.”

“Someone else is going to think big. It should be you,” O’Leary said.

Shinners turned on the charm with Herjavec, telling him “the table is all set” with the company, and suggesting with a grin the two could go riding together on their Italian motorcycles.

“I have worked on this so hard, and I’m ready to take it to the next level,” he said.

Shinners said this week that the crew put a lot of work into preparing for a Shark Tank bump, which they did get, and it came after pretty hefty Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Small Business Saturday boosts.

“It was very manageable,” he said. “Everything went very smoothly.”

According to Shinners, the website “tached out” at 25,000 concurrent uses, and has stayed high since.

“Which is wild, considering 50 to 100 is pretty crazy,” he said.

“Shark Tank” made things a lot more hectic in other ways, namely Shinners’ social life. He said he’s received so many emails, texts, phone calls and Instagram messages that he joked he might need to hire someone to respond to all of them. He likes to respond to everyone who takes the time to reach out to him and the company.

Some of the support has come from the recovery population, after Shinners told the sharks that, shortly after launching the company in 2015, he was going back and forth constantly between New York City and Stowe, and selling out of product regularly.

“That’s when I pretty realized I had a pretty unhealthy relationship with alcohol,” he said, tearing up as he told the sharks, and about 5 million people. “So, I quit drinking and focused on this business.”

Shinners said he has now been sober for four years and quit his day job at a New York investment firm this year to concentrate full-time on Kit Lender.

Now, after the Shark Tank episode, not only is business booming for Kit Lender, but the world is coming out to support Shinners.

“It’s pretty cool that people reach out, kind of cool connection to people,” Shinners said Tuesday. “It’s this great common bond amongst people.”

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