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Flying w Skis + Which Skis to Bring

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
Hello Divas -

I love skiing and love to plan ski trips with friends during the season. I'm based in CA and currently have a couple ski trips planned. I usually fly using a single Sportube and have a separate rolling duffel for my boots and all else, but I've lately been considering a wheeled soft bag, where I can also fit the rest of my gear and boots together with my skis. Seems like having 1 bag versus 2 might be easier for travel, but I'm worried the size and weight might make it just as unwieldy if not more! I also tend to try to ski mornings on days I travel and am hesitant that if I pack skis that have some ice in the bindings, all my stuff will inevitably get wet.

So first question, in everyone's experience traveling with skis - what do they like more? Recommendations on soft bags would also be helpful. So many that I've seen online look like they have flimsy padding and I love the security of the Sportube (I stuff a little bubblewrap in the tip/tail).

Second question, I have the Blizzard Sheva 9 and Voelkl Kenja 88, which are both versatile but in my opinion ski pretty differently. Which would be best for Jackson Hole and Banff? I haven't been to either.

I'm used to skiing out West - Tahoe / Mammoth and use the Sheevas more for jumping into the trees and they're more playful. Although they're not very wide, I'm comfortable using them for powder days. Meanwhile I use the Kenjas to rip on groomer days or when there isn't as much fresh snow and I love them for speed.

Thanks!
Ziggy
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I've skied my Sheeva 9s at Jackson Hole on a week with multiple powder days. I've also brought them to Big Sky and Aspen. Haven't been to Banff to comment there. I love them everywhere though, I think they are a great versatile ski for trips and then if there were a real excessive dump I would rent wider skis.

Personally, I like to use a Sportube, I've been using the same for years and it has received more and more scars overtime from airplane travel.. I prefer my hard tube to receive those scars than a soft bag with my skis inside, ymmv. Also, I NEVER check my boots so I'd never stick them in with my skis anyway. I've had my skis get lost flying 3 times, twice on the way out and once on the way home. While I can easily rent skis if needed on a trip, I would be in big trouble if I didn't have my boots. Those babies are with me on the plane or gate checked, if forced to on a smaller plane, but never checked.
 

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
@MissySki I do love the Sheevas and agree that they are super versatile. I have tried renting wider skis before, but I think they ended up being too wide and it was harder for me when I wanted to jump back on the groomers. Maybe I'll give it another try if there's enough snow!

I've definitely had some deep scratches with the SporTube which makes me nervous for a soft case. Oh man! That's pretty crazy. I've been lucky not to lose my luggage - that's sooo frustrating!! Do you have a boot bag that fits all your gear and boots in when you carry on or do you still check a bag w clothes and gear? Ski clothes are so bulky!
 

teppaz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I put my boots, helmet, goggles, mittens in a carry-on boot bag from Line (sadly not made anymore but I hear great stuff from Kulkea products. Make sure it actually fits into the overheard compartment.

I put my skis, poles and clothes in a wheeled Thule Round Trip bag. That bag is just fantastic, every little detail has been thought through and the construction is topnotch. The clothes pretty much protect the skis and I also put bubble wrap around the bindings. I've done several trips with that setup and I've never had a problem.

I also tend to ski on the morning before flying back and I haven't come up with a good solution for wet gear, other that bringing some kind of rag to wipe the skis and boots.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
@MissySki I do love the Sheevas and agree that they are super versatile. I have tried renting wider skis before, but I think they ended up being too wide and it was harder for me when I wanted to jump back on the groomers. Maybe I'll give it another try if there's enough snow!

I've definitely had some deep scratches with the SporTube which makes me nervous for a soft case. Oh man! That's pretty crazy. I've been lucky not to lose my luggage - that's sooo frustrating!! Do you have a boot bag that fits all your gear and boots in when you carry on or do you still check a bag w clothes and gear? Ski clothes are so bulky!

I would definitely not force yourself onto wider skis either, I've only very rarely rented wider for a lot of snow.. and I'm not a good powder skier (coming from the East) so they usually just feel more unwieldy to me too. :noidea: Fun to experiment though.

I do a carry on (Patagonia Black Hole backpack) with boots, enough clothes, ski clothes, gloves, and toiletries to get through a day if my checked luggage were lost (had that happen with my skis once..). I clip my helmet to the outside of the carryon and then stick it under my seat on the plane. Then I do check a regular piece of luggage with more clothing etc. Some divas definitely shove clothes into ski bags too though or pack more creatively. I tend to just say oh well I have this suitcase I might as well fill it!!.. and overpack lol.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
I never pack my boots in checked bag. I have the old Salomon - go to ski bag. It fits a pair boots, goggles, my laptop, camera etc. I have a wheelie duffel for clothes and a sport tube. I had issues years ago with Air Canada and had to buy the sport tube. My DH had issues trying to do just what you're talking about. He ended up with a ripped ski bag and a cardboard box for his boots and clothes. AC wouldn't take the packed bag. AC will only take skis and poles in the ski bag/sport tube.

As for skis for Banff, I would take something for groomers and hard snow. I rented last trip as I only had 2 days. Fell in love with the Brahma 82's. Not sure how they stack up against the Sheeva's.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
So first question, in everyone's experience traveling with skis - what do they like more? Recommendations on soft bags would also be helpful. So many that I've seen online look like they have flimsy padding and I love the security of the Sportube (I stuff a little bubblewrap in the tip/tail).
I'd flown a few times with a padded ski bag with no wheels a few times in the 1990s. When I started flying to ski out west with my daughter annually, I got a Sportube 2. When I fly solo, I usually only take one pair of skis. That means there is space for bulky items like snow boots, a backpack, extra gloves, etc. Side benefit is that if I buy a pair of skis during a trip, I can get them home with shipping a pair of skis. That doesn't happen often though. :smile:

I have a clamshell-style suitcase bootbag, with wheels. Now that my boots are well used, I keep them with me as carry-on to start a trip but often check that bag on the way home. Then I have a lighter rolling suitcase to deal with during the inevitable layover flying east on Southwest.

What I like for a bootbag is a Transpack Sidekick. Without boots and helmet, it's the same as a regular backpack. I can fit it and the helmet (unattached) under a middle or window seat.

Between the boot suitcase and my Transpack, at the start of the trip I have everything I need for a day or two of skiing. Just in case my checked luggage gets delayed. Hasn't happened to me (knock on wood), but has happened to a ski buddy. Luckily for him, his ski bag made it even though his suitcase didn't. He had enough skiwear and his boots so it didn't make that much difference. He only bought an extra shirt when we stopped by a consignment ski shop.

Rolling Transpack interior May 2018 - 1.jpg

Rolling boot suitcase and blue suitcase connected to move around
Rolling plus blue w Sportube2 Sidekick - 1.jpg
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Second question, I have the Blizzard Sheva 9 and Voelkl Kenja 88, which are both versatile but in my opinion ski pretty differently. Which would be best for Jackson Hole and Banff? I haven't been to either.
When are you going to JH?

My all-mountain skis that I bring for destination resorts in the Rockies are 85 underfoot. I've found that to be pretty versatile. I have been lucky enough in recent years to have enough powder experience to ski them in up to 8-10 inches of fresh snow if I don't feel like renting powder skis.
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
FWIW, I'm a petite person, and I find that my SporTube is much easier to travel with than the soft wheeled bag I bought a couple of yrs ago, esp with 2 pr of skis. The soft bag is just very ungainly, and its ability to flop around makes it very hard to deal with. I managed to get a double SporTube on eBay last yr for a great price, so I'll be selling that soft bag.
PS. If anyone would like to buy it, please PM me. It's only been used 3-4x.
 

seastraight

Angel Diva
Last time I flew out west (pre-covid) I took both powder skis and everyday skis. I will not do that again! I hadn’t counted on the extra weight in the airport that 2 sets of skis would bring; it was pretty difficult for me getting through the airports with all my stuff. Also there were NO powder days during that trip. So next time, if I really want powder skis, I will rent. For 1 pair, I use a soft carrier with a good shoulder strap and use bubble wrap and clothing to protect the skis.

Also make sure you clearly mark your skis with something very personal! One time I used ribbon off a box of Christmas chocolates, and sure enough, some other woman had the same bag for her skis and the same ribbon!! We almost mixed up bags!! And I usually see a few boot bags from Surefoot that show up at Eagle airport in CO. Since there are few manufacturers of this equipment, identical bags are common.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
Love my sportube! My flying-with-skis system evolved after many trial-and-error trips trying to take advantage of a boot bag going free w the skis.
My systems is now:
- Checked hard-side (single ski pair) Sportube
- Large rolling duffel (kinda like those big Patagonia ones but a generic brand from a big box store) with all ski wear incl helmet & boots, plus regular clothes in packing cubes, small empty ski backpack/hydration bladder, some snack items/kitchenwares.
- backpack w work laptop, small purse, toiletries, and pill box that I carry on board.
I have one hand for the ski tube, one for rolling duffel, the rest in a backpack. Since I have an airline credit card, one of my bags goes free, OR if I get a good deal on 1st class, both go free.
I used to be committed to bringing my boots aboard but after a few less than stellar experiences on rental skis, I feel that if I don't have my full kit, I will wait until it arrives and hike or do something else.(Hasn't happened thankfully.)
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
ALSO - many people advocate for wrapping skis in a soft bag with your skiwear. I've done it a few times and it always resulted in my bag being opened and inspected by TSA. Not worth them accidentally losing a glove or whatever, IMO.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
ALSO - many people advocate for wrapping skis in a soft bag with your skiwear. I've done it a few times and it always resulted in my bag being opened and inspected by TSA. Not worth them accidentally losing a glove or whatever, IMO.
TSA opens most ski bags or hard cases. I'd say I've gotten a TSA inspection card all but one or two trips in the past decade when I've been flying to ski 2-3 times a season. If I pack small items with skis, I put them in a bag of some sort. If I pack big gloves, I hook them together.

A tip I learned from a Diva a while back is to tie the pin for a Sportube so that it can't get lost when TSA opens it up. (Just visible in the picture I posted in Post #7). I don't bother with a TSA-compliant lock in general.
 

teppaz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
TSA opens most ski bags or hard cases. I'd say I've gotten a TSA inspection card all but one or two trips in the past decade when I've been flying to ski 2-3 times a season. If I pack small items with skis, I put them in a bag of some sort. If I pack big gloves, I hook them together.

A tip I learned from a Diva a while back is to tie the pin for a Sportube so that it can't get lost when TSA opens it up. (Just visible in the picture I posted in Post #7). I don't bother with a TSA-compliant lock in general.
Yeah, my ski bag has been opened by TSA every single time. I've never had a problem with missing stuff, knock on wood.
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Oh I'm so lucky I've never flown through USA (yet). TSA sounds awful.

I have flown internationally via Air Canada. I flew with two pairs of skis wrapped in all my outerwear in a semi-structured soft bag, and no one had any issues with that. I brought my ski boots on the plane with me, just carried them on loose and threw them in the overhead!
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Oh I'm so lucky I've never flown through USA (yet). TSA sounds awful.
It's not any different than going through security than any international airport.

The ski bags or hard cases are not opened by TSA in front of the passenger. It's not like a customs inspection. The way you know they opened up any checked bag is that they leave a card inside before they close it. Could happen for a suitcase too. That's why only TSA-compliant locks are acceptable.
 

kmb5662

Certified Ski Diva
Has anyone here used the Doucebag before? Yes that's the real name lol. I am in the market for a new ski bag. I have a soft rolling one by Dakine that flops around and gives me more trouble than it's worth.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Oh I'm so lucky I've never flown through USA (yet). TSA sounds awful.

I have flown internationally via Air Canada. I flew with two pairs of skis wrapped in all my outerwear in a semi-structured soft bag, and no one had any issues with that. I brought my ski boots on the plane with me, just carried them on loose and threw them in the overhead!

I’ve carried my boots on loose before as well, when I was on a business trip with a side of skiing haha. So I had to carry on a laptop and such that all just wasn’t conducive to having a bag with boots in it. I was fully prepared to stick my feet in them and wear them onto the plane if anyone took issue, but luckily they didn’t lol.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Has anyone here used the Doucebag before? Yes that's the real name lol. I am in the market for a new ski bag. I have a soft rolling one by Dakine that flops around and gives me more trouble than it's worth.
I have the DB Slim Jim. I like it. I use is when I'm going to share a car with more than one person so having a Sportube makes loading the SUV more complicated.

As for the large DB, I've heard that it doesn't necessarily last that long. Meaning that the fabric can get cut up being thrown around by airline baggage handlers. I've read the most about the DB by Australians taking trips to Japan or N. America.

As mentioned earlier, for someone who's petite, a hard case is much easier to maneuver. When I've had two pairs of skis in my Sportube 2, it was obviously almost 50 pounds but I could still handle all the luggage solo. With or without wheels, a soft bag simply isn't as easy to handle.
 

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