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Flying w Skis + Which Skis to Bring

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
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.
I'll be going in mid-January!
 

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
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.

View attachment 16721

Rolling boot suitcase and blue suitcase connected to move around
View attachment 16722
Thank you for the detail! I might look into the double ski tube, so I can stuff clothes in. It doesn't look too unmanageable! I'll be taking some public transport in some places I'm going to do need to consolidate as much as possible.
 

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
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.
That is what always causes me the most anxiety! I put a ton of stickers from different resorts on my Tube and tend to choose the most colorful ones so it looks like a kid's lunchbox haha
 

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
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.)
This is my current setup and it works well! I have the Big Agnes rolling duffel which also models after the Patagonia ones. I got it on super sale awhile ago and though it gets black smudges all over from the belt, I love it!
 

ziggyzagski

Diva in Training
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!
You were able to carry them separately of your carry-on backpack? Or did you not bring a carry-on and had the boots? Wondering how strict they'd be since boots are pretty bulky. They tend to take up the majority of any bag I put them in
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
You were able to carry them separately of your carry-on backpack? Or did you not bring a carry-on and had the boots? Wondering how strict they'd be since boots are pretty bulky. They tend to take up the majority of any bag I put them in
Before I had the suitcase-style rolling bootbag, I would take the boots out of the side pockets of the Transpack Sidekick and carry them on separately. The boots went up in the overhead, while the pack when under the seat in front. The boots were attached together with the velcro of the straps over my shoulder.

Only had one time where a gate agent complained. I simply put the boots in the boot slots. Was a bit tricky boarding that time.
 

nopoleskier

Angel Diva
I always carry on my boots, helmet, 1 day ski clothes onboard- 1x it didn't fit in the overhead so I gate ck'd it. at the plane door. just have to wait on the exit ramp for the luggage guy- but it came out 1st so i was on my way in a hurry.

I have sport tube for 2 skis- 1 skinny 1 fat.. and I TIE my 'pin' to the handle thanks @marzNC for that tip Delta did take the pin out and not put it back coming home from banff.. picked up the tube- pulled it and it came apart- skis all over the floor- delta didn't care 1 bit..
 

fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
You were able to carry them separately of your carry-on backpack? Or did you not bring a carry-on and had the boots? Wondering how strict they'd be since boots are pretty bulky. They tend to take up the majority of any bag I put them in
I carried them separately of my carry-on backpack (which is about 30L and would not have fit my boots under any circumstances haha, I could have tied them to the sides maybe?). I was also prepared to just put the ski boots on and wear them onto the plane if anyone tried being difficult about it, but luckily it was no issue! :smile:

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.
Yes, I have the main sized one. Can't comment on the durability because I've only used it for one return trip since I got it (which was at the start of 2020... so.... yeah :tongue:). I like it though, because you can roll the top down so that the bag is the same length as your skis, you don't get that floppy-bag problem where it becomes more difficult to wheel around. It becomes fairly rigid when it has the skis inside it. On that trip, the airline included two checked bags as default, so I also took a duffel bag and used cheap carabiners to just clip it to the DB while wheeling them through the airport.

1634500553830.png
 

TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
I have sport tube for 2 skis- 1 skinny 1 fat.. and I TIE my 'pin' to the handle thanks @marzNC for that tip Delta did take the pin out and not put it back coming home from banff.. picked up the tube- pulled it and it came apart- skis all over the floor- delta didn't care 1 bit..
I used to attach the pin for my sportube to the handle, after I had the same experience, but then I got a TSA-compliant "loop" lock to go on it instead, and I have a small "love-note" to the TSA taped to the tube with an arrow showing them which hole to slip it thru, and letting them know that the skis will fall out of they don't. Ever since then they've always put the tube back together correctly. (I have a feeling that some TSA folks have never dealt with the pins on the sportubes, and don't realize they hold the whole thing together). I also tape some zip-ties to the side of the tube, in case the lock gets lost.
 

kmb5662

Certified Ski Diva
I don’t understand what it means that it flops around. Don’t the skis and stuff cinched down with compression straps give the bag some structure & rigidity?
Even with my skis in and it cinched there's still a lot of excess material. I am short and therefore have short skis, which is probably the problem. For those that are taller/have longer skis I'm guessing it's not as much of an issue?
 
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TNtoTaos

Angel Diva
Even with my skis in and it cinched there's still a lot of excess material. I am short and therefore have short skis, which is probably the main issue. For those that are taller/have longer skis I'm guessing it's not as much of an issue?
The other difference is that the soft bags are pretty long, and that's it, so mine is taller than me, whereas the sportube compresses down to exactly the length of the skis, which are shorter than I am, so there's a lot less length to drag around, and because the shell is hard, it's easier to maneuver and grab hold of, if necessary.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Even with my skis in and it cinched there's still a lot of excess material. I am short and therefore have short skis, which is probably the main issue. For those that are taller/have longer skis I'm guessing it's not as much of an issue?
I have an old unpadded ski bag, no wheels, dates from the 1990s. Also can strap down the extra length. But with my relatively short skis in it, the carry handles are nowhere near centered.
 

teppaz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
The other difference is that the soft bags are pretty long, and that's it, so mine is taller than me, whereas the sportube compresses down to exactly the length of the skis, which are shorter than I am, so there's a lot less length to drag around, and because the shell is hard, it's easier to maneuver and grab hold of, if necessary.
Yes, for me that’s the main problem with padded soft bags: they are too long. One reason I love the Thule is that it comes in 175 and my skis range between 167 and 172 so it works great.

The bag company that finally realizes that women tend to use shorter skis and makes a bag around 160-165 will make a mint.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Some brands make the soft bags in 2 lengths, which eliminates the bag being too long. I have the Kulkea Kantaja Ski Bag in the 170 size and it fits my skis perfectly, so no extra bag to flop around.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The bag company that finally realizes that women tend to use shorter skis and makes a bag around 160-165 will make a mint.
Yep. My all-mountain skis and the narrower skis I use in the east are 159 and 148. So even a soft bag that's 170 is longer than necessary.

With wheels, when a bag folds over easily it's not too bad to pull it along. That's true for the DB Slim Jim. But there are times it has to be picked up by the handle and then it's trickier for a petite woman because the handle isn't close to being centered.

Being petite (slightly under 5 ft) also means I usually get help to put the boot suitcase in the overhead because it's pretty heavy. The flip side is that I fit much better in any airplane seat than someone who is over 6 feet. :smile:

DB Slim Jim, for a long weekend trip that included skiing near Boston
Ski travel min - 1.jpg
 

teppaz

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Some brands make the soft bags in 2 lengths, which eliminates the bag being too long. I have the Kulkea Kantaja Ski Bag in the 170 size and it fits my skis perfectly, so no extra bag to flop around.
What's interesting (and weird) is that the Kantaja single is offered in 170 while the Kantaja double roller seems to only come in 195. Makes no sense.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Yep. My all-mountain skis and the narrower skis I use in the east are 159 and 148. So even a soft bag that's 170 is longer than necessary.

With wheels, when a bag folds over easily it's not too bad to pull it along. That's true for the DB Slim Jim. But there are times it has to be picked up by the handle and then it's trickier for a petite woman because the handle isn't close to being centered.

Being petite (slightly under 5 ft) also means I usually get help to put the boot suitcase in the overhead because it's pretty heavy. The flip side is that I fit much better in any airplane seat than someone who is over 6 feet. :smile:

DB Slim Jim, for a long weekend trip that included skiing near Boston
View attachment 16742

I kind of wish I would get help at 5'4"! lol Getting it up is easy for me, but when trying to get it out I'm always worried I'm going to drop it on someone's head :rotf: Luckily that hasn't happened yet. It can feel heavy to pull down after sitting on a plane for hours though.
 

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