Imagine if items on Craigslist included an Intro to Ice Climbing class and a Half-Day Fly-Fishing Trip instead of used mattresses and stolen bike parts. That's basically the idea behind Detour, a new online marketplace for guided outdoor adventures from Internet retailer Backcountry.com.
Soft-launched last summer, the latest venture from Backcountry currently offers more than 100 guided outdoor trips that involve skiing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking, fly-fishing, and even snowkiting. Prices range from $205 for a full day of climbing in Garden of the Gods to three-day winter camping and expedition training in Colorado's Rocky Mountains for $1,575.
In a way, this subdomain of backcountry.com is also the outdoor adventure version of Airbnb, matching locals with visitors for a more authentic vacation, says Backcountry chief marketing officer Scott Ballantyne. "We're thinking of people traveling into these places that have a set amount of time, and want to do more than just the groomers and the standard hike," Ballantyne said.
Current guides range from ex-athletes, people with previous guiding experience, snow patrolers, or just outdoor-obsessed locals. The site is also looking for more guides and outfitters to join the marketplace, but not just anyone can expect to get paid to take tourist on a hike in the woods.
"Finding the right guide for us a bit of a dating game. We appraoch these guides, and they approach us," Ballantyne said. "But they have to be accredited with guide company. We don't just accept anyone as a guide."
Currently, trips are offered only in Utah, Colorado, and parts of the Northeast. The website plans to expand into California next and has sights set on Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho in the future.