We’ve all been there—and, frankly, it’s the pits. Transporting ski or snowboard gear to and from your hotel or condo can be challenging enough, let alone across the country or overseas. Which is one of the six reasons why when we, at Ski.com, are visiting our 120-plus resorts or checking out new ones to add to our growing list, we don’t travel with our skis or boards. Read on to learn about the other reasons we’re leaving our ski bags behind.
1. Baggage fees
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re checking ski or snowboard bags, you’re going to get hit with baggage fees starting at about $25 per bag. If you’re paying your way for your entire family, that price tag adds up quick.
2. It’s physically demanding and awkward
If you’ve ever been the person bumping into others with your uber-long ski or board bags as you try to make your way to the airport check-in line, you know just how awkward and cumbersome it can be. If you’re traveling overseas, it’s even worse, as you have to pick up your ski bags from baggage claim and circumnavigate the joys of customs lines.
Traveling, let alone traveling during the winter, can be taxing. Reduce your stress and start your vacation at the airport rather than once you arrive at your vacation destination by leaving your equipment at home or ship them to your final destination.
3. It’s logistically challenging
Everyone wants it snow while they’re on their ski vacation, but no wants it to snow while they’re traveling. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always work that way, and as seasoned ski travelers know, winter weather is often unpredictable and delays are commonplace. If you get separated from your ski bags and want to get on the slopes as soon as possible, the reality is that you’ll likely have to rent or demo equipment. Typically, that means you’re paying full price for rentals or demos on top of baggage fees.
4. Rental and demo equipment have come a long way
Many skiers and snowboarders are still under a false assumption that rental and demo equipment is just a bunch of beat-up, outdated junk. That’s simply not true. Modern ski shops are outfitted with the season’s latest and greatest, providing an affordable opportunity to test out the newest gear you’ve been reading about in SKI or Skiing magazine, without having to financially commit.
Renting or demo-ing equipment typically includes an intuitive questionnaire that matches you with ideal equipment for your ability level, or an experienced shop employees will help you get on the gear right for you.
In our opinion, one of the nicest aspects of renting or demo-ing is the option to try out different ski or board shapes based on the terrain or snow conditions. Perhaps you’re from the East Coast? Leave your ice shredders at home when you come out West and see for yourself why we sing praises of “fat” powder skis. Whether you’re looking for an uber-specialized ski or a shape that can conquer every type terrain and condition, ski technology is incredible these days, and rentals or demos provide a unique opportunity to see what’s out there.
5. Delivery services make renting even easier
A lot of ski destinations now have equipment delivery service—so there’s no need to get up early or stand in line on your first day. At your convenience, they come to you in your hotel, condo or vacation rental. Companies like Black Tie, Ski Butlers and Door 2 Door offer delivery services at North America’s top ski resorts, including Aspen, Vail, Telluride, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Steamboat, Park City, Deer Valley, Lake Tahoe, Jackson Hole and Whistler Blackcomb.
6. You can have it all with shipping services
For those who can’t bear the thought of being separated from their skis or board on their trip, new shipping services, like our partner Ship Skis, make it possible to have your cake and eat it, too. For a price less than most airlines and UPS charge, you can ship your skis/snowboard to your final destination and back to your home. No hauling required.
If you haven’t yet factored equipment rentals, delivery service or shipping service into your ski-vacation package, don’t worry! It’s not too late. Our 65+ Mountain Travel Experts are standing by at 800-610-8911.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.