Top tips on packing and flying with skis and snowboards

If you are setting off on that long-awaited ski or snowboard holiday, you’ll no doubt want to make sure that all your gear is transported as smoothly as possible and that it gets there in one piece. Here are some top tips on how to pack your skis and snowboard when travelling.

1. Choosing a ski or snowboard bag

Choosing a bag with extra padding can be great for protecting your gear from over-eager baggage handlers. The downside of padded bags is that they are bulkier which might mean they’re difficult to fit on standard luggage or ski racks on your car.

‘Coffin’-style snowboard bags are large, and have the benefit of being able to accommodate all your gear and clothing for your whole trip, meaning you don’t need to check in two bags.

Two wheel, or not two wheel?

Skis and snowboards are heavy, so a wheeled bag is easier to carry and manouvre around the airport.

A padded, wheeled bag is great for protecting your gear and is easy to carry but will it fit in your luggage rack and will it mean extra baggage charges?

We think our best wheeled and non-wheeled alternatives are:

Non-wheeled – Head double ski bag. Holds two pairs of skis and measures 195 cm in length. Also features compression straps to prevent damage while travelling. £44.00

Wheeled and padded – Scott Ski Wheel bag. Holds up to three pairs of skis up to a maximum of 203cm. Holds a boot compartment, tool compartment and internal compression straps. £100.00

2. Car racks and boxes

If you’re travelling to a ski resort by car, what are your options for carrying your skis or snowboards?

You can either choose to use a ski rack, a roof box or store them in your car if space will allow. There are pros and cons for each and not all will be an option for everyone.

Ski racks
Using a roof rack system can be cheaper than a roof box and they are simple and quick to load and unload. The downsides are the annoying wind noises when driving (caused by increased wind resistance) and this can lead to increased fuel costs.

You should also be aware of salty road spray when driving, which doesn’t do your metal edges much good. Some racks will accommodate ski or snowboard gear inside its bag, but you’ll struggle to get bulky, padded bags to fit. Items such as the Thule 726 Deluxe Ski Carrier are a good option to go for. Prices are around the £95 mark for this particular ski racking system.

Roof box
Roof boxes are more expensive but also more aerodynamic which should mean less drag, and therefore less fuel burned. Roof boxes are great for longer journeys, and offer better protection for your gear. You can save money by renting a set of rails and roof box from your local car dealer, instead of buying them. If you’d like to invest, the Hapro Zenith Roof Box is a good option and will cost you around £246 to purchase.

If you have a big enough vehicle then stashing your skis or snowboard inside is the best option as your gear will be protected, stay dry and won’t lead to any extra drag so should cost less in fuel bills compared to being on the roof. Just make sure your gear is secure and doesn’t slide around and endanger your passengers – remember those edges are sharp!

3. Airline costs for carrying skis and snowboards

Airlines have different procedures for transporting ski equipment, some charge extra for transporting ski or snowboards, some don’t. Budget airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet charge for transporting gear, whereas some airlines like BA or Swiss Air carrying gear as part of your normal baggage allowance. Check with the airline and read more about ski and snowboard carriage.

4. Use all the space!

Don’t forget to maximize your space! Put your goggles and other small accessories inside your boots, be sure to use the space in your ski helmet, and bindings (snowboard) too. Use your clothing to provide extra protection for your skis or board; stuff your gloves, fleeces, socks, beanies and base layers around the edges and tips of your gear. And if you’re really short on space – wear your ski or snowboard boots on the plane!

This post has been supplied by Simply Piste the online ski clothing store.

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