We’ve all heard of bike-sharing programs, but have you ever heard of a public ski-sharing program. In the Finnish city of Lahti, a first-of-its-kind program is being rolled out that allows residents to borrow some skis for a quick cross-country ski trip to the store when snow hits the city.
Lahti has laid out urban ski trails on some sidewalks in the city center, and residents are free to pick up skis from one of the ski-sharing stations to run errands or simply to get some exercise.
“We wanted to try something new,” says Anna Huttenen, the project manager for sustainable mobility for Lahti, which has been chosen as the European Green Capital of the year.
Lahti is on a mission to become carbon neutral by 2025, and it sees sustainable transportation as an important part of that shift. The city has already been expanding bike lanes and pedestrian paths and is urging locals to partake in emission-less transportation through a personal carbon-trading app that tracks how people move around the city and rewards commuters with virtual coins when they choose to walk or bike instead of driving. Those coins can then be used to buy tickets on the city’s fleet of low-emissions buses.
Although Lahti clears snow from bike paths in the winter, the option to ski around the city might just be an easier, safer way to get around. Plus, who doesn’t want to go for an urban ski ride?