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Check, Rent Or Ship: Options For Getting Equipment To Slopes


Equipping a family for a winter trip takes planning. (Colorado Ski Country USA/Facebook)

Anyone who flies to ski and snowboard resorts knows the hassle of bringing their equipment along. But there are options.

Call ahead to reserve equipment at a ski shop. (Christy Sports/Facebook)

The least cumbersome choice is to rent when you get there. Even demo skis and boots can be had for around $50, which is about what it costs to check them round-trip on most airlines. Be sure to call ahead to a rental shop and reserve equipment in advance.

A Ski Butler comes right to your room for a fitting. (Ski Butlers/Facebook)

For a higher level of service, check out Ski Butlers that have affiliations with rental shops at most major resorts. A Ski Butler will fit you right in your room. If any problems on the slopes, they will fix them.

Ship ahead to reduce the hassle of flying for a ski trip. (Luggage Forward/Facebook)

If you want your own equipment, it can be shipped ahead of your trip. Ship Skis and Luggage Forward  both pickup at your home and ship right to your hotel or condo at the resort. And they arrange the return trip.

Finally, if doing it the old-fashioned way is your thing, be sure to have specially designed carriers and expect to pay $25 for the first bag, $35 for the second (except on Southwest) each way. And there are weight limits. Here’s what major airlines require:

American Airlines says skis or snowboard in one bag, boots and helmet another in a single piece.  But try to sneak anything else in either, and there’ll be an excess fee.

United Airlines has a two-for-one policy: Up to two pairs of skis or two snowboards in one carrier and boots in another equal a single bag.

Southwest Airlines applies its two-bags-checked-free policy to winter sports equipment as well. Even if packed separately, two bags with ski or snowboard equipment count as a single piece of luggage.

At Delta Airlines, a ski and poles bag or snowboard bag plus a separate boot bag count as one piece.

Frontier Airlines says if boots weigh less than 25 lbs., they can be checked with skis or ‘board. Otherwise, considered second piece.

Jet Blue requires boots to be in custom boot bag to be combined with ski or ‘board bag.

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