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Travel-Gear [flying to Europe]

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

My wife and I are in the very early stages of planning an over-seas ski trip (Euro-Trip 2015/2016), and I was curious...

how does everyone TRAVEL with their gear? If it requires a plane - how do you pack? What types of bags/packs is everyone using? Do you bother bringing your skis and boots - or only boots?

I've got a cheap ski bag, pretty sure it won't hold up to an Airport luggage handler, and HotGear bag... but wondering what everyone else's set ups are.
post #2 of 20

Hello Brendon, my ski-travel experience is somewhat limited but I'll offer my take anyway. I use a fairly inexpensive ski bag, a single pair of skis inside of it, with ski pants, jacket, and other outerwear wrapped around the skis for padding. I use large rubber bands to keep them tight around the skis.

 

The last time I traveled, the airline counted the ski bag and boot bag as one item so I checked them both. However, I know many people carry on the boot bag. For an overseas trip, I'd check them both but it's a matter of preference. The boot bag also allows plenty of room to pack other gear such as goggles or caps within the boots or elsewhere in the bag itself.

post #3 of 20

first, doublecheck if there are intercontinental ski luggage fees for your airline; that is a major factor in deciding whether you bring your skis.  (looking at you lufthansa).

 

You also need to consider your ground transportation arrangements, as well as if your car transportation may not accomodate skis.

 

Boots, always and as carryon.  

Be sure to also buy a small power transformer for all of your plug-in goods; even if the item says they will work on 240; stuff designed in the US may be safer to use on the transformer.

post #4 of 20

I always take and carry on my boots, If I take skis I wrap them with my ski clothes to protect them in a padded ski bag, have you ever watched the baggage handlers load baggage, enough said.

post #5 of 20

My setup is the same for every trip.

 

I've got a large ski bag with wheels that I use for my skis (two pairs) and poles. I'll also throw in my ski pants and maybe one or two small items.

 

I've also got an old US army duffel bag with backpack straps. I throw my ski boots in first with ski socks and other small items stuffed inside, and then I pack all my clothes around those.

 

My ski backpack, which doubles as my carry-on, goes in the ski bag (on the wheels side) once I'm off the plane so that I only have the duffel bag on my back and my ski bag dragging along beside me as I make my way through airports, train stations, and so on. I wear my ski jacket during the trip so that it doesn't take up space in either bag.

 

I did have one US trip where the extra baggage fees were ridiculous, so I left my skis at home and only went with the duffel bag (still with boots at the bottom) and backpack. There are a couple of airlines like Swiss Air that don't charge for skis. Some others have fairly reasonable fees for ski bags. So, it's not a guarantee that fees will be stupidly high.

 

The main thing to consider when packing for a trip to Europe is that you'll need to be able to carry/drag all your stuff through the airport, possibly through some train stations, and through town to your hotel. So, a couple of big bags is better than a large number of small bags. Also, wheels are definitely necessary for your ski bag. Basically, you want all your stuff packed in a way where you can carry it up/down a flight of stairs and along a fair bit of ground (which might be inclined) without stopping.


Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/3/14 at 4:39am
post #6 of 20

The main rules are:
1. Don't take skis, rent
2. Once you've violated rule 1, make sure you understand your airline's policy, whether the carrier itself or the operator's policy applies, whether you need to reserve ski carriage, etc.
3. Pack everything you want to check in your ski bag with your skis
4. Carry on boots and fight to the death anyone who tries to make you do otherwise
5. Curse the huge hassle of lugging your skis around after you've violated rule 1

 

post #7 of 20

I'm surprised that I'm the only one who doesn't carry on boots. To me, having an extra bag for my boots just seems like it would make it more awkward to carry all my stuff around once I'm off the plane rather than just sticking my boots in my duffel bag (or suitcase if I was a normal person).

 

What advantage is there for taking boots as a carry-on? I can already fit all the clothes I need for a week-long trip, my boots, and even my helmet (with goggles and gloves stuffed inside) in my duffel bag, so I don't really need to free up any room in my luggage. Are there any other advantages I'm missing?


Edited by CerebralVortex - 9/3/14 at 5:49am
post #8 of 20
You are not the only one who doesn't carry on the ski boots. There's a vocal group who carry on boots with the idea that if the luggage is delayed, everything but the boots can be replaced. True to some extent but I'm not going to buy new ski pants and jacket etc so I'd wait for the luggage to catch up in any case.
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagles Pdx View Post

You are not the only one who doesn't carry on the ski boots. There's a vocal group who carry on boots with the idea that if the luggage is delayed, everything but the boots can be replaced. True to some extent but I'm not going to buy new ski pants and jacket etc so I'd wait for the luggage to catch up in any case.

 

I guess if I had a lot of time and money invested in my boots, then I might be a bit paranoid about losing them. As it is, as long as I have my passport, my house keys, and at least one bank card, then I'm good. Everything else is just stuff I can replace.

post #10 of 20

Boots and everything you need to ski one day in your carry-on. You're wearing your jacket anyway. 

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 

 

 As it is, as long as I have my passport, my house keys, and at least one bank card, then I'm good. Everything else is just stuff I can replace.

 

 

But not necessarily before the lifts open and not in every location.    

 

 

Boots, medication and enough equipment to ski the day of arrival, in a backpack style boot bag, carried onto the plane or gate checked on RJ's.

Everything else goes into the roller ski bag.

post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

 

 

But not necessarily before the lifts open and not in every location.    

 

 

Boots, medication and enough equipment to ski the day of arrival, in a backpack style boot bag, carried onto the plane or gate checked on RJ's.

Everything else goes into the roller ski bag.

 

Ah, I never ski the day I arrive. European trips that involve flying tend to be week-long affairs, and with the time it takes to get through passport control, pick up my luggage (or not, if it's lost), and get to the resort, I'm usually not in town until lunch or later. (If I get there by noon, then that means I had a stupidly early flight and I'll be starving, so eating is a top priority.) When I've got 6 straight days of skiing to look forward to, I'm not in any hurry to try to get in a couple of hours on the slopes the day I arrive. If my luggage is lost, then I've got a few hours to buy/rent stuff before all the shops close for the night.

 

For someone with an overnight transatlantic flight, even if they get to the resort before lunch, the chances are they won't be in any condition to ski the first day.

post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CerebralVortex View Post
 

 

I guess if I had a lot of time and money invested in my boots, then I might be a bit paranoid about losing them. As it is, as long as I have my passport, my house keys, and at least one bank card, then I'm good. Everything else is just stuff I can replace.


I do have a lot invested in my boots, hard to fit so I do a full Surefoot but still, on the .005% chance my bags miss the flight, they'll get delivered to me the next day.   Along with skis, ski pants, ski jacket, ski socks, ski underwear.  Not going to spend $1,000 on stuff I don't need just to ski one day plus I'd use up the one day buying all that stuff.

post #14 of 20
Having lost my luggage ENTIRELY AND PERMANENTLY years ago prior to two weeks in Austria (fortunately not a ski trip, and I was young and dumb), there is no way in hell I'd check the boots. I'd wear them in the plane first.

I've also had several trips where things were on the next flight or arrived the next day. So, I don't assume that things will show up when I do.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks a bunch for the info everyone.

We had planned to use our HotGear bags as carry-ons, boots, goggles et. al will be included there. Skis and Helmets will have to go in another bag.

How about the "General" stuff you pack - are the European resorts more Duffelbag / pack-mule friendly, or roller suitcases? We just spent 2 weeks trotting around Paris and Amsterdam and vowed to never take a suitcase back to either one of those cities. just way too awkward to haul around.

Thanks again.
post #16 of 20

Bag 1:  Patagonia 60L Black Hole Duffel or M/L sized Backpack- ski boots, 1 day ski clothes, 1 day street clothes, contacts/glasses, computer/chargers/camera.  If necessary, it can squish in the overhead on a CRJ700, and it has 2 shoulder straps. 

 

Bag 2:  22" Rollaboard  - helmet, street/ski clothes, toiletries.  Can be stored overhead or gate checked on smaller planes.  Can be expanded to fit purchased items and checked on way home.

 

IMO #1 - if you're resort skiing on piste, don't bring skis.  Try out some of the latest Euro race carvers.

 

IMO #2 - Since you may not be used to packing so tightly - each of you pack all of your stuff, and wheel it around the block, i.e. at least 800 meters.  If you think that's a pain, how do you think it's going to feel going over cobblestones, up hills and stairs in old chalets, and in the snow?  Repack after you take the 800 meter test. 

post #17 of 20

My trips have been to meet with one of my kids somewhere--twice to WB and twice to Chamonix--and I've had to bring their skis, but they have the rest of their own gear..

My method will NOT work for your wife.

One full size carry-on, with as much necessary ski gear --boots, pants, a pair of gloves, and whatever else will fit. One under-seat carryon/daypack. One double ski bag with two pairs of skis and the rest of my ski clothes. Never had a problem with oversize fees--just make sure <50#. (You can check your boots in a separate bag for no extra fee beyond the ski fee, if any, but I like my boots with me. Apparently people have been charged for second bag if clothes in with boots. And I also figure more likely to get away with 2 pairs of skis and clothes in the ski bag if I don't have the boot bag checked.) Wear ski jacket aboard, with stuff in the pockets. Here's the catch--you wear the same after ski clothes you travel in all week, except for sox and underwear. Another tip--light weight synthetic or down puffy jackets are very light and very easy to stuff small. Also seem to tolerate a wider temp range than fleece. Carry layers-rather than 3 different weights of something take a lighter, a heavier, and then use them both if it's really cold.

My gear for Chamonix--I've used when it was sweltering and on top of the Aiguille du Midi in 40 below windhchill (at which temp F=C.) Med weight long underwear. Fleece pants. Light fleece pullover. Puffy jacket. Unlined shell pants. Lined, uninsulated shell jacket. Lightweight balaclava the fits under my helmet and can cover my face--which I've never used. Might you need more if stuck in a blizzard for 3 days outside the resort. Yes. But why would you do that?

 

I've never had trouble with skis and ground transportation landing in a ski airport and going to a mountain. Obviously you can't take the Yellow Cab, but all areas I've ever heard of have plenty of ways to get from airport to hill.

Travel as light as you can--the hard part is dragging your stuff through the airport. Flying into Geneva on Saturday and the whole huge arrival area is shoulder to shoulder with people, all with ski bags, all looking for their shuttles, the drivers of which are holding their signs at groin level. And the trek to the shuttle itself is long, tortuous and upstairs. 

And yes--policies and baggage fees for skis vary a lot between airlines, make sure you check before you book. Also, baggage fees are those of the airline operating the long leg. If you fly Peoria to NYC to Geneva the NYC-Geneva leg determines baggage fees and policies. Know your rights. Also, some shorter flights may not have room for your carryon--you may have to gate check in which case they unload the stuff out on the tarmac, you pick it up and take it to the next gate for your next leg. I've never had a problem with that. 

 

Plan B would be you carry your skis and wife's skis in double bag. She gets to check a suitcase. As well as her big and little carryon. \

I've never used a wheeled bag but I've wished I'd had it a couple of times..

post #18 of 20

We've done a few trips as a couple, and latterly as a family, from the Southern Hemisphere to North America, and it's usually for three weeks (2+ skiing and up to one week not skiing).

 

We take one wheeled double ski bag with two pairs of skis, or one pair adult skis, one pair kids skis and one pair adult boots; one non-wheeled ski bag with one pair adult skis and kids boots. We pack ski pants, base layers, etc around the skis and stuff gloves and socks at either end of the ski bags to protect ski tips and tails. We haven't found a great correlation between cost of bag and protection / performance, but having good internal and external compression straps is key. Skis are held together with vlecro and rubber straps like this

 

Then we take a couple of dakine split-roller bags for clothes, helmets, one pair of adult ski boots etc. Apart from the double with wheels we don't pack ski bags to anywhere near the weight limit because they start to get really heavy really quickly when carrying them through airports etc.

 

Carry on is a backpack each, that will fit under the seat if necessary - (if you have transfers there is a good chance that at some point you will need to race for a connection so will be near last to board the plane and the overhead storage will be long gone). Backpacks carry wallet, phone, tablet, technology etc, a change of clothes and basic toiletries, insurance docs etc. We also don't take our boots as carry-on for a couple of reasons. Firstly our airlines have much stricter rules for carry-on that North American airlines, both in terms of size (the personal item description is much more restrictive) and more particularly weight (combined weight 10kg); Second, for moving through the airport wearing a back-pack and one bag in each hand is about the most efficient combination that we have found if we are travelling with skis. Lots of bags is a PITA.

 

Also, as mentioned above after a long -haul flight we do not usually ski the day we arrive because the travel and transfers always take longer than anticipated and no matter how good the flight there is a degree of jet lag / sleep deprivation.  

 

A couple of other things. check your skis before leaving the baggage claim area - many travel insurance policies, and airlines require you to report damage asap. In hundreds of flights with skis we have had one pair damaged (which were covered by travel insurance no questions asked).

 

And in hundreds of flights for skiing we have had bags not turn up twice on our way home (bags did not make connections in the US, one we had guessed would happen because we had to run for a connection due to weather delays, the other no excuse), and once on a domestic trip. Each time the bags have turned up the next day - but Europe is another story.

post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrendonR View Post

Thanks a bunch for the info everyone.

We had planned to use our HotGear bags as carry-ons, boots, goggles et. al will be included there. Skis and Helmets will have to go in another bag.

How about the "General" stuff you pack - are the European resorts more Duffelbag / pack-mule friendly, or roller suitcases? We just spent 2 weeks trotting around Paris and Amsterdam and vowed to never take a suitcase back to either one of those cities. just way too awkward to haul around.

Thanks again.

 

As long as you're happy carrying a backpack/duffel bag, then I think that's the way to go for the same reasons you found in Paris and Amsterdam. Also, if you take a bus or train to the resort and decide to walk to your hotel, it can be awkward dragging a suitcase over snow-covered sidewalks and pedestrian roads (if the snow has melted, then you're left with the gravel that towns put down to make it easier to walk on the snow/ice, which is also awkward to drag a suitcase over).

 

If you plan on using taxis door to door, then it doesn't really matter what you use.

post #20 of 20

My trips are much shorter and it's usually to a place that's going off.  So missing a big powder day , on a three day trip,  is a big deal.

I rarely,  if ever,  waste a day traveling.

 

Everyone has to find a method what works for them.  

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