How To Fly With Skis

*Another post from our friends at MountainHop*

It's almost that time of year. You've booked the trip, made dinner reservations and waxed the skis and boards. You've arrived at the airport and even managed to get a discount on long-term parking...and now you have to check your bags. Including a huge, bulky, abnormally shaped pair of skis. Flying with skis: crucial. Flying irritated because you had to deal with skis: nonessential.

If you carry cash

Just get a SkyCap. This is the number one way to avoid all baggage hassles, by the way, no matter what you are checking. These nice gentlemen and ladies will take your skis, boot bag, luggage, stroller and magic carpet, roll it on over for you and make it disappear quickly. Have a Jackson ready for a tip, and you'll be fine. Con: Usually they are stationed outside, and usually when you're flying to ski, it's cold. Wear your ski coat.

If you're short or a racer

Fly Southwest. You can substitute your skis and boot bag for a piece of free checked luggage (you get two). However, you only can do this if your sporting equipment weighs less than fifty pounds and 62 inches. That's barely a pair of 157s, leave .48cm room for your ski bag. Tall people, we're out of luck there. (Check the full baggage policy.)

If you're a planner (which you are)

Don't fly with your skis. Ship those babies out well in advance to your hotel or condo. Make sure to call the concierge and notify them first, so they can make a note for you and prepare storage, which is usually not an issue. The Ship Your Gear program at FedEx may save you up to 16%; a sample rate from Boston to Denver costs $32 on FedEx Ground. However, you've got to plan some time to either a) ship them back to you or b) bring a ski bag, and pay airline fees one way on your return.

Flying with skis Photo by Annie Colella

A few more tips:

Consider... carrying on your boots and then stuff your boot bag with your helmets, ski pants, etc. You can always buy a jacket or demo skis, but rental boots are usually the worst.

Don't... lock your ski bag. If the metal sets off an alert with the TSA (likely), they'll search your equipment.

Do... know your airlines policy. Last thing you want is getting double-charged because the agent doesn't know skis + boots or a board + boots counts as one item.


-Katie Carroll and our friends at MountainHop are experts when it comes to ski vacations. MountainHop is the place to find out what's happening in over twenty mountain towns, from British Columbia to New Mexico and the peaks in between. Their mission is simple: to answer the all-important question, "What's Now in the Mountains?".
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