Harry How/Getty ImagesKelly Clark and Shaun White celebrate their place on the United States Olympic team for snowboarding slopestyle and halfpipe at the 2014 Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain Resort.

Website hooks up Bay Area drivers, riders for runs to Tahoe

The snow might not be falling yet in the Sierra Nevada, but that has not stopped a San Francisco company from preparing for the rush with ride shares.

Zimride, a ride-sharing website, launched a new route last month that will bring skiers and snowboarders to the slopes in Lake Tahoe.

John Zimmer, co-founder of Zimride, said the company began connecting drivers and passengers four years ago on long trips, such as San Francisco to Los Angeles, but noticed that there’s a high demand for shorter trips. As a result, the company began looking at creating a route to Lake Tahoe.

“There’s a lot more frequency in shorter trips,” Zimmer said. “People go home to L.A. maybe three times a year, but more go to Tahoe like
10 times each year.”

Though the new route only launched on Thanksgiving, dozens of drivers and riders have already begun advertising for seats.

A driver named Ivan posted on his profile that he “runs up to Tahoe from SF. Leave after work on Fridays back Sunday night.” There’s also Jon, who said he’s a passenger and isn’t picky about his Tahoe destination. According to his profile, he can “help with driving.”

On the site, a user can create a profile and choose to be either a driver or a passenger. If you are a driver, you can create routes, choose trip dates and set prices for passengers. Zimride can help drivers estimate costs for a ride, but drivers ultimately set their own prices.

Once a profile is created, users are matched with destinations and close proximity for starting points. Passengers can browse drivers and reserve spots in a car, but drivers have the ultimate decision on who rides. Rides are paid for through PayPal.

Zimmer said in addition to getting people to their destination, he hopes the services creates a new kind of community.

“It really builds a new form of transportation bringing communities together and helps people save money,” Zimmer said.

Though little snow is predicted to land on mountaintops via Mother Nature in the near future, several resorts around Lake Tahoe — including Squaw Valley USA, Heavenly Mountain and Alpine Meadows — are reportedly making snow, and most resorts will be operating limited lifts this weekend.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

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