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Flying to Banff...? about air travel with skis/equipment? Hard/soft bag...?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm new to this board and am asking for help on the best way to travel with skis.  I did a search and would like some recent responses considering the changes with TSA.  

 

Husband and I will be taking two planes out to Banff....Bucket list destination :-) and will be flying Delta/bought tix with Amex card.  We each have a free bag with our credit card.  Some of the reviews about the hard case (sportube) say TSA will unlock them and not repack them correctly.  I am concerned as we do have to change planes increasing the chances of lost baggage.  

 

We will travel with two sets of skis/poles/helmets/boots etc.  I plan on carrying on all but the skis/poles.  

 

Your advice?  

 

Thanks! 

post #2 of 11

Welcome to EpicSki!  Might be something about skis in this thread about traveling with ski boots.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/89557/ski-boots-on-plane-flights

 

I think Air Canada requires a hard case.

 

I've traveled with a Sportube 2 for several years without incident.  TSA always opens it, but they have gotten it back together with no problem.  I fly out of Raleigh/Durham in NC so not exactly a place with lots of skiers.  Note that while I put a few extra things in with the skis, I made it easier to repack.  For instance, I might put in a couple pairs of glove but put them in a bag so they aren't loose.  Usually also put my snow boots, which are relatively soft.

 

Doesn't hurt to get an extra locking clip for the Sportube.

post #3 of 11

Air Canada says they require a hard case but I (and everyone else pretty much) use a soft case.  They just won't cover damage to the contents if you use a soft case.  They also say you can't put anything else in there besides skis and poles.  I wrap everything in my fleece stuff so it doesn't get damaged and that's never been a problem.  TSA has opened my ski bag a couple of times going to the States and they seal it back up and put a note in no problem.  On the way home I put my dirty gitch in there..just for them..  :D

post #4 of 11

You've already hit on the main point most people will make: NEVER check your boots.

 

As for skis, I use a soft sided bag, although it is generously padded. First thing to do is fix your brakes in the "up" position; for this I use rubberbands. Then, I will wrap tips, tails and bindings with some extra padding, usually just some bubble wrap. Finally, position skis in bag, tip - tail (tip of one ski next to tail of the other, bindings interlocked), with bases out. This positions the most sturdy part of the ski (bases) to the outside. 

post #5 of 11

My ski bag is a bit of a hybrid.....hard along bottom and one side but soft top and three other sides.  When I flew to Banff there wasn't a problem, I packed a ton of stuff in there....skis, poles, boots, pants, jacket, mitts, practically everything for the entire trip.  Since I'm already in Canada, there is no Customs, so maybe it's easier that way and they're not as concerned.  And I have no connector flights either, it's straight from Toronto to Calgary, so very little chance of baggage handling screwing up.

 

But then I decided to "spread the risk" in case something gets lost/damaged. So I'm going again in February, this time the bag will hold skis, poles, wrap them in a fleece, maybe put my pants in there, along with toiletries.  However.........boots, goggles, mitts, jacket will go with me now as carry on since I don't trust baggage (just in case).  I'm not concerned about damage in my bag since I pack the skis in soft fleece and then strap them into place inside the bag.  Besides, skis are pretty darn durable, it'll take a MAJOR mishap to really break something.

 

I put a little TSA-approved padlock on the outside of the case for security, no issues so far.  I figure if they lose/break my bag, at least I can rent skis for a day or two if absolutely necessary.  Expensive essentials that aren't easily rented or replaced stay with me for carry on.

post #6 of 11

yea, realize that you're packing up your skis in flannel and all that.

 

Then literally standing and stomping on them later in the day, with your whole body weight + multipliers of g-forces, and slamming it into blocks of ice.

post #7 of 11

LOL good point Ray, well said.

post #8 of 11

After years of traveling with an unpadded case (given for free with purchase of skis at a ski shop), I recently got a Dakine soft-sided single case. Wow, what a difference! Much better quality and almost no difference in weight.

 

As mentioned above, use some heavy duty rubber bands (or you can use a 12" maxpedition strap gear strap like I do http://www.maxpedition.com/store/pc/StrapGear-c84.htm BTW, these are great, don't stretch with use and pretty much bomb proof). Place the skis tip to tail, bindings inwards. Place poles with tips wrapped. Fill empty spaces with clothing (ziploc'ed if you're a neat freak like my SO) and other accessories. Close bag. Check through.

 

Never (ever) check your boots. Carry on your ski boots, helmet, and goggles.

 

Don't bring too much other stuff. But bring enough socks. Leave your troubles and worries behind :-)

post #9 of 11

I traveled on Southwest last week and for the first time ever, they made me sign a waiver for my soft, but padded ski bag.  I think the risk of damage is quite low and I don't plan on changing to a hardside. Get a double bag of your choice, with both pairs of skis and then check one other bag for your clothing. 

 

I know a few pro's that travel all the time and I see quite a few in the airports.   I've never seen one with a sport tube.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

I know a few pro's that travel all the time and I see quite a few in the airports.   I've never seen one with a sport tube.

The pros also have the luxury of having damaged equipment replaced at no or little cost to them...

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshinGA View Post
 

The pros also have the luxury of having damaged equipment replaced at no or little cost to them...

 

Sure, but if they show up to comp or a film shoot and they don't have their equipment.  It's probably worth a lot more to them, than any compensation you'd ever milk out of a airline.

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