Traveling with Skis.

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 02/07/12 •  3 min read

Let me put this right up front.

I’m cheating this week. I’m actually writing this five days prior to the given post date. With good reason:  I’ll be in Big Sky then, and I’ll be waaaaaaay too busy skiing to sit around blogging.

Which leads me to today’s topic: getting your ski gear ready for a flight. This is something I’m going to have to deal with in a day or two, so for me, it’s top of mind. Oh, I know some people ship their stuff to where they’re going in advance, but hey, I’m cheap. Plus I’m also a bit OCD about having my equipment with me. So I go through the agony of packing up, carting my stuff through the airport, and praying it  makes it to where I’m going, along with the rest of my stuff.

To be sure, I’m not the only person who does this. Which means there are thousands — even millions — of ways to pack your stuff. Everyone has their own system. And while mine may or may not be better than anyone else’s, it’s what works best for me. So in case you’re interested, here’s what I do:

First, I never ever never — did I say never? — check my boots. I’ve worked too hard to get them to fit properly, and if they were lost, I’d have to spend a day or more in rentals, which could wreak enough havoc on my feet to make the rest of my stay unpleasant. So I put boots in a carry-on. I also fill the carry-on with a change of ski clothes, so if my luggage gets lost I’ll at least have clothing in which to ski. My bag of choice is a Transpack. The Transpack easily fits in the plane’s overhead compartment. And since it’s a backpack, it’s easy to carry through the airport.  The boots go in the boot compartments, and the clothes where the helmet ordinarily fits. Yes, I do bring a helmet. I just put it in my checked bag. Rightly or wrongly, I figure it’s the one piece of equipment I could do without, if I had to. Plus it makes the Transpack easier to squish into the overhead.

Now on to skis.

There are loads of ski bags out there: singles, doubles, cloth, hard-shell, wheeled, unwheeled. A few years ago I got a Sportube. It’s a hardshell, so it  provides a measure of protection that cloth ones don’t. And it’s wheeled, so it’s relatively easy to drag through the airport. My bag is a double, so it’s big enough to carry both my and my husband’s skis. I also surround the skis with base layers. This provides extra padding, and frees up my suitcase for other stuff.

See the base layers between the skis?

And here we’re all closed up, ready to go!

And that’s pretty much it. I also check a bag with my non-ski clothing. Now, I know some other Ski Divas just check their skis and bring everything else in a carry-on. I haven’t mastered that yet (unfortunately), even though I don’t bring a lot of stuff. As I said, there are many paths to the same goal: getting your gear to your destination. And as of right now, this is what works for me.

Next time I’ll talk about Big Sky.




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