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How to travel with ski or snowboard gear

How to travel with ski or snowboard gear

by Matt McKenney | January 08, 2020

Even for the most experienced travelers, hauling an unwieldy ski bag along with a suitcase filled with clothes through the airport can be a harrowing experience. There are some popular tips though that can help make the ordeal a little easier. See below for our top tips to travel with ski or snowboarding gear.

Check the Airline's Baggage Policy and Price It Out

Before booking your flights to your favorite ski resort, check their baggage policy. Different airlines have different policies on how to treat ski and snowboard gear and any extra charges can quickly add up. For example, skis and snowboards fly completely free on Southwest Airlines so you can avoid the baggage fee that most other airlines charge. In addition, the majority of airlines will consider your ski bag and boot bag as only one piece of checked baggage instead of two. To make sure you are getting the best deal in terms of overall cost including baggage fees, check the airline's baggage policy on ski gear before you go.

Make Sure You Have the Right Equipment for Traveling

In order to travel easily with your skiing gear, you need to have the right equipment. At the bare minimum, you need to have a ski bag capable of holding your skis. Ski bags come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and above all costs, so it's important to choose the right one.

The best ski bag that will make your life easier when traveling is one that has wheels and has capacity for 2 pairs of skis. Wheels will allow you to easily roll your ski bag around the airport instead of having to lug it around manually. If you're going on a ski trip with a friend, combine your skis into the one ski bag and you will save on luggage costs. If you don't have 2 pairs of skis, the extra capacity can be used to fit your ski boots and extra pairs of clothing. Besides not needing a boot bag, this has the added benefit of helping pad your skis a little and preventing them from moving around while in transit.

Another essential piece of equipment is a boot bag. As the name implies, the boot bag holds your ski boots. Good boot bags have backpack straps so you can easily carry them around. Many skiers choose to carry their boot bag with them on their flight because of the fear of losing their ski boots in transit. While skis can be easily rented, custom fitted ski boots can be hard to replace.

When traveling with ski gear, most people will also have a small suitcase or duffel bag to hold their clothes and miscellaneous equipment. If you have a large enough ski bag though, you can fit the majority of your clothes in there and only take a small suitcase.

Get a Luggage Cart

Especially if you are traveling in a group, one of the first things you should do when getting to the airport is get a luggage cart. At a minimum, you'll have a suitcase and ski bag to carry around which can be cumbersome to deal with. A luggage cart will help you get all of your equipment to the front desk of the airline where it can be safely checked in.

Small Tips for Traveling with Ski Gear
With the major advice on traveling with ski gear covered, here are some smaller tips which will help make your life a little easier.
  1. Have ski straps with you. Ski straps are little pieces of Velcro that keep your skis together while in your ski bag. These will prevent your skis from shifting around in the ski bag and help reduce scratches on the bottom of your skis while keeping them together as a single unit.
  2. Keep a small towel in your ski bag. Especially if you're skiing on a powder day, your skis will be wet and filled with tiny pieces of snow when you put them back in your bag to head home. Wipe down your skis thoroughly with the towel before sealing up the ski bag.
  3. If you are really struggling for space, you can remove the bindings from your ski or snowboard and carry the bindings on separately. This is definitely more of an advanced operation so if you are a beginner or newer to skiing/snowboarding, this is not recommended. Instead look to other options like repacking or renting equipment once you arrive to avoid this issue.
  4. Get to the airport early. Because you are traveling with large equipment, it may take extra time for you to check in and get settled in the airport. Be sure to give yourself more than enough time to ensure your skis and all of your equipment will get safely on the flight.
  5. You can pick up your skis and snowboards from the oversized luggage claim area. While this area is located in different places in different airports, this be confusing to many first time travelers with ski gear. In many airports, your skis or snowboard are automatically placed in the oversized luggage area and thus, don't appear in the baggage carousel. If you are confused, be sure to ask baggage claim personnel if you have any questions about where your equipment is.
    Consider Renting What You Can

    If you ever traveled with ski gear, you know it can be an annoying experience. If you're thinking about traveling to a ski resort, consider renting your equipment instead. At Arrive, we can provide you with a full set of ski clothing delivered straight to your location the day before you start skiing.

    At the ski resort, you will be able to easily rent skis and other equipment for the length of your stay. Depending on how many times you ski a year, by renting your equipment you save money and avoid the hassle of trying to get your ski equipment safely to your destination. For some ski trips, renting your equipment once there or getting it delivered straight to your door at your destination, makes much more sense than trying to travel with it.

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