OK, so you’ve planned that big skiing or snowboarding vacation, and now you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do about ski gear. Maybe you have a pair of skis or a snowboard that’s a couple of years old sitting in the closet at home, but you are eager to try something new. Truth is, nobody wants to lug sub-par gear 1,000 miles to the ski resort, either schlepping through a busy airport with excessive baggage fees for oversize luggage, or taking up 85 percent of your vehicle’s back seat and trunk. And, you want to feel comfortable (and let’s face it – look good) on the slopes. Really, there are only two logical solutions: Ship your existing ski equipment to your destination or rent performance skis when you get there.
Flying Your Gear
If you’re still considering flying with your existing ski gear, just don’t. There is a long list of horror stories that we could cull from, but let’s just start with excessive baggage fees and no real guarantee that your equipment will arrive on time. Because of its size and weight, ski luggage is often the first bags removed from a pending flight when there are weight issues. If that happens, that means your bags just got bumped. Maybe they will catch the next flight? Either way, you’ll spend the first part of your vacation standing at the airport luggage carousel instead of passing through the ski lift turnstile.
Shipping Your Gear
In today’s competitive marketplace, there are plenty of affordable options for shipping your skis or snowboard. Conveniently, there are a number of expert shipping companies that specialize in ski and snowboard gear. Popular companies like Luggage Forward, Ship Skis, Lugless and Luggage Free offer full-service, door-to-door delivery to all major ski destinations worldwide. In many instances, skiers and snowboarders can get their gear to most major resorts in North America for less than $100 each way. These companies specializes in shipping all types of items, including skis and snowboards, golf clubs, bikes, and even regular travel luggage. That’s right! If you’re going to ship your skis and gear, why not add on your regular luggage for a completely hands-free travel experience?
Luggage Forward has shipping plans for overnight delivery as well as two-day, three-day, five-day and seven-day delivery options. Those who plan ahead and ship with the seven-day plan will see the largest savings. The company offers a money-back-plus-$500 guarantee if your bag is delayed (a full refund plus up to $500 for incurred expenses).
Much like Luggage Forward, shipping your gear through Ship Skis is simple with its easy-to-use website. At ShipSkis.com, you can specify your pickup and delivery options, and even print shipping labels. Choose your favorite carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.) and select drop-off or pick-up service. It’s as easy as schedule, pack, label and ship.
Lugless is a popular shipping option that allows you to travel light and arrive relaxed. Lugless uses major shipping providers like FedEx and UPS to get your gear to its destination on time. Print your labels and send your bags, it’s as easy as that. Lugless has easy drop-off/pick-up locations, including most major hotels and ski resorts.
Luggage Free will ship your skis for only $70 each way to any ski destination in North America. The company offers an on-time guarantee, worldwide shipping and $1,000 insurance on each shipment. Luggage Free currently provides white-glove service to more than 150 countries worldwide.
FYI – If you are traveling internationally and choose one of these shipping providers, they will ensure that all of your gear clears customs in the arriving country and shows up to your destination on time.
If you ship your gear, remember that it may need a tune-up before you hit the slopes, or you might be eating some corduroy. Find a local ski shop to get your gear in tip-top condition before you hit the lifts.
A Note About Boots
Before we go any further, let’s take a sidebar to talk about your boots. Nothing beats the comfort and feel of a pair or ski or snowboard boots that fit perfectly. If you have a great pair of boots, you should bring them. Yes, even if you fly. They are much easier to pack and carry, and you’ll be glad you did. You don’t want to spend your ski vacation (or the weeks after) fighting blisters and other feet irritations from settling on a pair of rental boots. If you do rent, pick a pair that fit the best. You’re ski pro at the resort should be able to give you some great recommendations.
Ski goggles, gloves, layers, outerwear and a reliable helmet are other items that you could bring from home if you have them.
Renting Your Gear
Put together a list of everything you need for your ski vacation. Once you’ve figured out what you can bring with you, you’ll know what you need to plan on renting at the resort ski shop. Every ski resort should have gear available to rent at a reasonable price.
Most resorts in North America will charge around $40 to $60 per day for ski rental (sometimes less if you rent for longer than a few days). This would include skis, poles and boots for skiers, or a snowboard, bindings and boots for those who want to ride. For those looking to add a little edge to their game should be able to rent ultra-high-performance and other specialty gear for an additional cost. If you’re looking to try out the latest and greatest equipment, this is your best bet.
Companies such as Ski Butlers, Door 2 Door and Black Tie Ski Rental Delivery will bring the newest ski equipment right to your hotel room, resort, condominium or private home. Ski pros can do custom fittings and adjustments on-site and hassle-free. They will also return a pick up your gear when you’re vacation is over. Each company offers its individual perks, but overall quality and customer satisfaction is across the board.
Ski Butlers offers high-performance skis and snowboards at most major ski resorts in North America and Europe. A member of the Ski Butlers team will get your entire group set up for adventure on the slopes. Meet your Ski Butlers technician when you arrive at your destination, get fitted for all of your gear, and enjoy your vacation. When you’re ready to leave, simply contact Ski Butlers and schedule a pickup of your gear. Did we mention there are no hidden fees and no cancellation policy? Yes, you can cancel any time before your scheduled delivery.
Ski Butlers can outfit your group with skis or snowboards … or both! If you want to ski some and the snowboard, that’s no problem. If you want to try something new, if equipment malfunctions or breaks, or if your boots don’t fit correctly, a Ski Butlers rep can meet up with you within 30 minutes in most cases.
Black Tie Ski Rental Delivery makes sure that you never wait in line the ski shop. Make your reservation online, schedule your free delivery and in-room fitting time, and get ready to hit the slopes. Black Tie provides slopeside service for all your equipment needs during your getaway, and also offers after-hours service. When your vacation is over, Black Tie will gather your gear and get you on your way.
If you’re skiing or riding in Colorado, Idaho, Utah, or Jackson Hole, try Door 2 Door delivery service. A local favorite, Door 2 Door offers free delivery, personal fittings and support. Parents rave about Door 2 Door because children under the age of 12 receive free ski rentals with every adult rental. This two-for-one special can really cut down on your skiing expenses. Gear is provided by Christy Sports, a well-known name brand in the skiing and riding industry.